Sunday, July 6, 2014

Speaking My Peace

A few months ago I wrote a post about finding my true name, and what that meant to me. I then proceeded to change my name on all my social media outlets to send the message to everyone I know that I have indeed, changed my name. It didn’t catch. There were a few friends (including my immediate family)  that were faithful in using my new name, but I think the problem was that most people did not take me seriously. In a few worst cases, it may have been that people wanted to control me. To make sure that I stayed the same. To cling to who they thought I should be, rather than who I really am. Which brings me to the point of this post. Why do we want control over anyone other than ourselves?

Think about it. If someone disagrees with you on an issue that is close to your heart, depending on your personality you probably try to convince them to see things your way. If they refuse, you are sad or even angry. You want control over their opinions, because obviously if it is different than yours, it must be wrong. I have been guilty of this. I am also aware of it, and each time it happens, I stop myself, and realize that I am talking to another human being, who is no less important than myself. And I give them my respect. Or at least try to. There are a few people I have a very hard time respecting, because they emotionally abuse those closest to them, while maintaining a pleasant reputation with the rest of the world. I do not respect people like that, but I did give them a chance.

What we need to do is realize that there is room for everyone. No one has to be crowded out or walked upon. There is room for each person to stand upright and walk shoulder to shoulder. There is room for different beliefs and religions. There is room for those with no religion. There is room for everyone. Except those who think abuse is ok, and participate in it willingly. I’m not making room for those people, because in doing so I would be making room for them to continue abusing their fellow human.

Let’s be free. Let’s choose freedom for ourselves. I’m standing up, and I will always be myself. I believe the unconditional love that my parents poured into me is one of the reasons I have the strength to dig deep inside my core, and with eyes wide open, see who I really am. I think that when we stop hiding things from ourselves, and become fully honest with who we are and where we are, then we have uncovered the secret strength to a calm, inner peace.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Question I am Not Allowed to Ask

How old are you?

Now I know this sounds trivial, but it has somewhat bothered me over the years, as I was told not to ask a grown-up their age. I have always loved knowing ages, birthdays, and middle names of friends and family, or even people I just met.

Why is that not allowed? Why is it considered rude or obnoxious? Age is nothing to be ashamed of or hidden. In this culture, so many things are shamed, while youth and perfection are glorified. When I am very old and very wrinkly, will I be any less important that I am now? I think not. Will I be ugly? I don’t think so. I will look different, that is for sure. I won’t look as I do now.

I think it’s important to step out of the box that our culture has created for us. The box of thinking that worth is tied to beauty, and that beauty is only what you see on in magazines or on tv.

I have 5 more months to be in my twenties, and at first I hated the thought of turning 30. But now I am learning to love it and embrace it, and look forward to it. I plan to feel the same way when I turn 40, 50, 60, 70, and so on. Love your age. You are beauty.

I wrote this during a write-in with Story Sessions. The title is the prompt I was given.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I would put Flowers on your grave

This is long. This happened several months ago. I needed to write it to help me process it.

"It's ok sweetie, mommy will be back for you soon" The grooming salon assistant spoke these words to Daisy as she gently tugged the reluctant canine toward the back room. Daisy looked up at me with her huge brown eyes wishing she could just stay with me. I quickly turned and walked away. It was just a bath. I wasn't being mean to her, but it still always hurt a little to leave her like that. I squared my shoulders and pushed the door open and walked through the store, and out the double sliding doors. I didn't like it when they called me Daisy's mommy. It never felt right. She wasn't my daughter. It wasn't like that. She was my friend. My companion, and, if ever the need arose, I knew she would be my protector.

She was intuitive like that. If I felt nervous or surprised around someone, she would start barking and growling, letting them know she would not allow them to mess with me, her friend. Sometimes she got a little confused, wanting to attack anyone who showed up at the door unexpectedly, but she always let me restrain her at those times.

Daisy was not perfect. She was a dog, and had some habits that I wished she wouldn't continue with. I'm not going to list those imperfections. I don't want to. I want to remember all the good things, like how she would lay calmly on the floor while my toddler climbed all over her. She endured her ears being tugged, being sat upon, and even allowing herself to be pulled by the collar by kids so small she could easily have pulled away. I think she secretly adored the attention from the little ones. She often reminded me of 'Nana' on Disney's Peter Pan. In the evenings she would curl up on my feet while I watched tv. Her companionship meant so much to me.

Daisy was about 10 and 1/2 years old. She started slowly eating less and less. I tried switching to canned dog food. Tried to tempt her with all sorts or treats. She wasn't interested. When she began vomiting up almost everything she ate, I took her to the vet. They said it was probably acid reflux. In my heart I knew that she was dying, but I wanted to believe them, so I gave her the meds they prescribed. That didn't work. I took her back to the vet, and they took some x-rays.

That evening the 5 of us went to go pick her up from the vet and hear about the results. I knew that it would be severe, and that we would be saying goodbye soon. We waited in an examination room. We probably waited about 30 minutes, and the kids were getting restless. someone finally came and led us to the back. I had already talked to the kids about the likely possibility of losing Daisy. We were prepared for what they were going to tell us.

The Veterinarian showed us the x-rays. There was a large mass in her chest area. She said it was mostly likely cancer, and that it was very advanced. They could operate, but the chances were slim. I was ready for this. I knew this would be the outcome. I also knew Daisy was old and worn out, and that any procedures would just prolong her suffering. I started to speak, I said she needed to be put to sleep, but that we would like to take her home for a day to love on her. I wasn't able to get all that out. Instead, I began sobbing hysterically. I was holding my 2 year-old, and I hugged him tightly and walked as fast as I could. I had to get outside! No one is supposed to see me cry!

I nearly bumped into 2 people, and then finally made it through the labyrinth and out into the fresh air, still sobbing. Then Love showed up. It took the form of a small older lady with grey hair. She set down her box of canned food, and wrapped her arms around me. She started crying too. She said she had just said goodbye to her dear pet, but it was more like losing a family member. I nodded and tried to thank her through my tears. She understood. She just held me and knew. Jon and the other 2 kids joined us after a couple minutes. Lacey had tears in her eyes as she came over to hug me. Simon was worried because I was crying so much.

I began feeling calm, and the lady asked my name. I told her and then she said she would not forget, and that she would pray. She got in her car after giving me one more hug, then drove off with a wave of farewell. I will never forget her.

We took Daisy home that weekend, so that we would have a couple more days to cuddle her and tell her how much we love her. I don't know if that was the right decision or not. By Sunday, she could barely stand, and was in so much pain and misery. We called a local shelter and they said they would put her to sleep that day, if we brought her in.

All 6 of us piled into the van. I sat in the very back, on the floor. I held Daisy close and baptized her with tears of a thousand sorrows. Lacey cried with me. She understood. When we got there, Jon took Daisy in the fill out paperwork. I sat in the van with the kids, the tears just never stopping. I sent Jon a text telling him I really felt like I should be there with Daisy, so he came out to take care of the kids, and I went inside to meet death.

They led me into a small grey room, with an old blanket on the floor. Then they led Daisy in. I sat on the floor, and pulled Daisy next to me. They gave her a shot to make her sleep. She slowly collapsed next to me, and I hugged her close, telling her the whole time how much I loved her, and how wonderful she is. Then they gave her the next shot. The fatal one. The one that stops the heart and invites death.

I sobbed loud and hard. I hugged her so tightly. goodbye, Daisy. I will see you again when the world is perfect...

Artful Travels

So,  it's been awhile. This will be short. Things have been busy, I've been unmotivated, ect. I went on my first cruise. I liked some of it. Not all of it. I discovered that I sleep really well on a moving boat, and that eating dinner on one of the lower decks while the ship is moving quickly makes me feel sleepy and slightly nauseated. I also learned that I am kick-ass at haggling. It's over. I'm home. I want to travel more, but not by cruise ship. The End.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Finding My True Name

Have you ever considered that the name you were given at birth isn't your true name? What if there is a 
name, hidden deep inside you,that comes from your core, from who you really are. No one can know what is 
deep within you more than you yourself can.  A wise and ever-knowing friend counseled me to consider these thoughts, and by doing so, she helped me to give myself permission to find my true name.

As soon as I opened that door, a name came bursting in like the wind, and settled itself into my mind. I 
don't think it's supposed to happen that fast, I told the name. The name ignored my protest and stayed put. 
Fine, I will consider you, I said to the name. Working hard to keep an open mind, I started off on a walk a 
few days later. This was also at the suggestion of my friend, from something she had recently read.
I was supposed to take a contemplative walk, and consider whether God was giving me a new name, or 
rather, revealing my true name.Instructions were also to look for a stone, and write the name on it.

Well I walked. I tried hard to empty my mind of the tangled thoughts and intrusive name that had already 
settled there. I prayed, then I gave up and just decided to slow my determined steps and enjoy the beauty 
all around me. As I was on the last stretch of the walk, I started thinking about my miscarriage, and my 
beloved daughter that was lost to me. Tears threatened to spill, but I rapidly blinked them back as a couple
 of people walked by. I had planned on naming my daughter Evangeline River, if she had been born. 
Instead, I only gave her the name River, because she flowed away from me.

But Evangeline was the name that had burst through my mind's door when I opened it. What if...

swallowed and tried to grasp
this mind-blowing concept. What if when her body died, her soul became bound to mine, in this life. What if she never really left 
me, but together we are...I am...Evangeline.

As these intense thoughts were swirling around, I had been kicking a large pebble along without realizing it. I suddenly stopped,
quickly drawing in a gasp. I picked up the stone. It was just big enough to write the name on it. There were no other stones in sight.

In fact, I hadn't seen any others the entire walk. Suddenly I felt lighter. Free-er. I continued on and headed home. My steps 
were light and full of joy. So from now on I am:

Evangeline grace Nathan

I plan on legally changing my name before too long, and yes, I have read up on the process. I may write more later on this subject, and include some other deep reasons for changing my name....or I might not. I might choose to keep those to myself.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

prompted by poetry

It is the dirt beneath my feet
where the rocks and soil meet

Staring down, wanting peace
sound and pain and fear increase

rhythms STRONG, patterns Bold
breaking thoughts I tried to hold

Shifting heart, balance strands,
words the map to peaceful lands.

This is because of  Story Sessions, more specifically, the 40 days of art journaling that I am taking part of within story sessions. I drew the word Poetry today out of a bunch of words that we were given as prompts for each day. We were also encouraged to take a walk and see where the word we had drawn would take us. #ssartjournal

Friday, March 7, 2014

She Belongs

         She sat on her bed, arranging each stuffed animal in its place. They each had their special place to sit, and they each belonged. She stared deep into their eyes. "I know you can talk", she told them. "I just don't know why you don't trust me enough to talk in front of me. Maybe God will make them talk to me." She thought. So she prayed: "dear God, if my toys can really talk, please make them talk to me now, so I know it's true." She opened her eyes and stared at her stuffed animals. Nothing. They remained motionless and quiet. "fine, but I still know you can talk. You can't fool me." She knew it deep down, and things that she knew deep down could not be swayed by a single, failed attempt at communication. Nothing could touch her inside. Deep inside, she was safe and accepted, because God lived there. At breakfast she informed her older sisters that she knew the meaning of a certain word. It was a big word, and complicated for one so young. They did not believe her, so they insisted she describe the meaning to them. She refused. She knew the meaning of the word, and by holding it safe in her heart, and not proving herself to her sisters, she knew that she had power...that she was power, and that their unbelief could not touch that.

          She was hungry. She was always hungry it seemed, and always wanting a snack. Her stomach stuck out when she walked, mostly because she slouched. Her hair was short because she had asked her mother to cut it like a boy's hair. She wished she was a boy. Her sister joined her in their room and plopped down on the bed next to her. "I heard something that I probably shouldn't tell you." Her sister informed her.
"You have to tell me!" She demanded. "now."
"Well..." Her sister began. "I overheard dad talking to mom, and he said you were getting kind of chubby. He's wrong, though! You aren't fat at all."
Her insides felt like they were plummeting, and suddenly she knew. She knew she was ugly. She knew she was chubby. She knew she wasn't good enough anymore. She wasn't a lovely little girl anymore. She was just...ugly.

The Lie: You Don't Matter. You don't matter to the world, to those around you. You know you are loved by God, but you don't know that anyone else could love you. Like, only a Mother could love you. Only your Mother God.

"The adults walk above me. Children look up and see me."

          She sat on the carpet floor in her bedroom, head bowed, clutching her diary to her chest, and listening to the voices talking and laughing downstairs. The family had company over. Tears silently ran down her cheeks and dripped off her nose. She was hiding, hoping beyond hope that someone would miss her and come ask her to join them, because she was important too, and her words mattered. No one came. No one ever did. She knew the truth. She knew her voice couldn't carry the weight anymore. Maybe it's time to end it. To end her. Why was she here, if no one needed her anymore. If no one cared enough to find her. Something was wrong. She was fading away. Her words of "I love you" and the way she tried to catch their eyes...failed. Somehow her voice was never heard. Somehow she was too often overlooked. Caught in the cracks of not being old enough and also being too old. She wanted to leave. To end this life that didn't seem to matter. She opened her diary and wrote: Hold, me God. I'm fading away, and you're the only one who cares. Why should I stay?


Hello, little grace. I whisper to the little girl sitting on her bed with her stuffed animals. She looks up and smiles at me. I'm lost. I came to you because you are not lost. Do you know why I am lost?
"Yes." She says confidently. "it's because you forgot you are an artist. A genius artist! You make things prettier." Yes. You know this. You don't doubt, and you are right. I told her. She look thoughtful for a moment. "Does my dream come true?"
Which dream is that?
"Do I get my own baby, and it calls me mommy?"  My heart warmed, and I felt my whole self glowing from within.
You get three. 
She beamed at me, and picked up a teddy bear and gently started rocking and singing.

Linked up with The Girls We Once Were