Never Again

 

Daily Prompt: Never Again

Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” Tell us about it.

 

At first I couldn’t figure out what I would never do again. I mean, sure, there is a long list of things I shouldn’t do again, but I  couldn’t think of one thing to call out, on thing to really pin down.

But? There is a style of decision making that I will never, ever, ever, ever repeat. The way that I made those choices is the very reason my list of things I wouldn’t repeat is so long.

I will never make a decision based on what someone other than me thinks is best for me, or what they think I should do, or to rectify a situation the disapprove of. I will never again make a life changing decision based off of another person’s belief system.

When I was fourteen I decided to get baptized. I didn’t agree with the church I was attending. I knew I would leave the church later but my peers were all doing it and my mother wanted me to. So, I stood up in front of hundreds of people and “devoted myself to God” knowing full well that it wasn’t what I wanted. Leaving the church after my baptism (once I was an adult) cost me every person who I’d ever loved that wasn’t a family member and even some family members.

When I was twenty-one I decided to marry a man because I was “fat” and should take any love thrown my way. I had also gotten pregnant, so it was the right thing to do. When he became violent, and I found out he was already cheating weeks before our wedding, just after I lost the baby, I decided not to call of the wedding. What would people think? They would think I was worthless, I couldn’t even satisfy one man. When my family showed up for the wedding, I nearly begged to leave with them. He was the best I could do because I was to fat. So, instead I pasted on a smile and signed a contract that would bind me to a violent, selfish man for years to come, based on the beliefs of other people.

When I was 24, I subjected myself to nearly a year of public shaming. My family would support me financially while I got back on my feet if I was going through the process to rejoin the church. I was publicly reproved for things that had happened months and even years previous, twice. I was made to jump through hoops and shamed until I cried for them. I was told that I would be “happier” and I would “get better” and “live a fulfilling life” if I set things right with their god. Know what? It made things worse, I was miserable. I tried and tried because my family thought it was the “right thing” for me to do. It cost me a year of my life. I started cutting myself again and my eating disorder came back. It nearly even cost me my life. It did cost me two friends who had been like family since we were babies.

 

I will never, ever, ever, ever make decisions for my life based on another person’s beliefs about what is best for me. I will follow my heart and trust my own spirituality and beliefs about the universe when I make life altering decisions.

Certainly, I will still make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. I will however make my own mistakes and have no one to resent when the effects of a decision slice deeply into the tender places of my heart. I am in a deeper place of peace with myself than I ever was before, not that I don’t struggle, but I have come far.

I live with no regrets. Each and every decision, the wonderful and the piss poor, plays into who I am today, into where I am today. If I changed one little thing I would likely not have my beautiful son and partner in my life. I wouldn’t give them up for all the second chances in the world but I most certainly don’t intend to keep repeating old, painful mistakes.

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Initiation of a Pacific Nortwest Family

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It’s that time of year in the B-town, again. It’s blackberry season! Last year BusyBee was too small to learn what summer really tastes like for a PNW child. So, although neither of us were feeling top notch, we wandered out into the front yard.

BusyBee, lounged in his stroller while I took a quart size tub out and stepped gingerly up to the bushes. I surveyed the area. There were lots of branches heavy with juicy berries… and spiders.

Have you ever watched an arachnophobe pick berries? If you ask BusyBee he would tell you it’s a hoot, if he could talk. Instead he just laughed maniacally as I jumped around and screeched.

If you hate spiders and love blackberries, picking in front of your children will either be a wonderful way to practice your self control (if you wish not to swear in front of your children) or else a wonderful way for them to learn how to curse in context. Let’s just say that if I don’t learn to reign in the spider-hate my son will soon be quite efficient at cussing. Whoops!

Well, after a good ten minutes of hilarity I had collected about a cup and half of sweet juicy berries and BusyBee was beginning to fuss. Even my craziness no longer held enough draw for him to be okay with reigning in his busy ways. I couldn’t let him loose or I wouldn’t be able to pick so much as one more berry. (When he runs free in the yard, I spend the entire time running behind him, redirecting him away from the busy avenue, the dumpsters, the neighbor’s flowers and broccoli plants, etc.)

He’s a picky eater these days but I hoped that a sweet, bumpy little berry might, at least, be tempting enough to try. I held the bucket forward and prompted him to pick a berry. He pulled one out and felt it. He held it up and looked at it, poked at it with his other hand.

“Yummy!” I tried to look excited, hoping he would just try it.

He looked skeptical but licked it. He raised and eyebrow at me, in doubt and put it in gingerly into his mouth. His whole face scrunched up in disgust and he plucked it back out without ever biting into it.

For those of you who have never looked closely at a freshly picked blackberry, they have little hairy things on them. BusyBee looked a little horrified.

“Yummy.” I repeated, a little more firmly as I squashed a berry between my fingers, letting the magenta juices stain my fingertips. Quick as a flash, I popped one of my newly sticky fingers into his mouth. “Yummy!” Again, I tried to sound excited.

There was a pause, a delay, before he screwed his face up. NEW FLAVOR his little face said. Then, he softened a bit and looked quizzically at the smushed bit of berry in my hand. Then he leaned forward a bit, still unsure but ready to try again, as open mouthed as a baby bird. Naturally, I obliged, dropping the juicy bit of blackberry onto his tongue.

He burst into a smile and grabbed my bucket.

I stood and smiled as I watched the world come full circle once again. The evening sun was sending golden beams through the trees as my son gobbled up blackberries, fresh of the bush, for the first time. It is amazing how parenthood can change the way you view the world. Twenty eight summers ago, not an hour away, my mother was the one occupying a tiny version of me with a bucket of juicy blackberries, while she went about foraging nature’s bounty for her family.

Grabbing a different bucket, I went back to picking berries. I got more daring, taking a stick to remove the spider webs (if their occupants were nowhere in sight) and lifting leaves and branches to check for spiders that could be lurking in the shade.

I reflected, and chuckled to myself, about the stories my mother used to tell about the first summer that my older brother went berry picking with her, as I filled my bucket. She had been cloth diapering him and was surprised to find all of his diapers turning bright pink. (Mental note… call Mom about how she got those stains out!) Memories of being sent out with my older brother and a couple of buckets, to pick blackberries, warmed my chest. At the time I’d assumed my mother wanted to eat cobbler as much as us, now I know she most likely wanted quiet even more than she wanted sweets.

It didn’t take me long to pick five more cups of berries. While I picked BusyBee ate and squished and painted (in regular toddler form) with all of the first bucket of black berries and a few more that I shared. I laughed and he laughed (and clapped) with me as I assessed the damage he had done.

His face was covered with streaks of pink and dark bits of berries. His hands were fuchsia, his arms streaked and covered in pink hand prints. His diaper cover was deep purple from being saturated with so much juice. Dribbles and smears of juice made his belly look festive. Then, there were his feet. His sweet little Flinstone feet were coated in berries. He had spent extra time smashing a whole berry (or three?) into the toes of his left foot.

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There it was, this new memory forming as I caught hold of the little nuances of the moment, in my heart and mind: an evening formed of salty ocean air, warm buttery sunbeams, and a baby sated with sweet blackberries. As I ran the bath, to soak the layers of purple and pink off of my sleepy toddler, I reflected on how strange it was that I was the mother in this story now.

Will BusyBee ever be a DaddyBee in his own right? Will he let his own toddler sate themselves on juicy berries, staining everything they touch? I find myself wondering more and more about what BusyBee will be like as a man and what the world will be like when he gets there.

For tonight, I will take comfort in the traditions carried forward as I eat my fresh Blackberry Watermelon Sorbet. Fresh, simple, homemade, homegrown food is so very delicious.

Setting A Course

I live in a sweet little Pacific Northwest town that shall hence forth be known a B-town.

If my family were to get into the car and just start of down the road headed to go see NYC, without a plan, a budget or a map, what do you think the chances are that we would get there? I’m willing to wager that our journey would be fraught with difficulty and take a great deal longer than anticipated, if we didn’t give up entirely.

When I have approached grand life changes before, I have approached them that way. I had a goal. I knew where I wanted to end up and sometimes I had a general idea of how I would get there (lets head East!) but I never set off with a specific plan in mind. With the significant changes that my family plans to implement over the next year, we need a plan in place.

I also want to note that people are more successful in life changes if they take them ones step at a time, so we need to break our “trip” down into small pieces (how far do we plan to travel today?) to make it more manageable.

This morning, between breakfast and DaddyBee heading out the door for work, we sat down and jotted down a daily schedule. Does that sound super rigid? Yeah, DaddyBee gets a bit nervous about the idea but we both function better when routine is involved and the “schedule” will affect me and BusyBee (who thrives on routine) more than DaddyBee since he is away at work most of the day.

Within that schedule we made room for changes that we need to make to get us to our destination. Here are a few things that our schedule makes room for.

  • In the area of weight and fitness, we both want to be stronger and firmer at the end of the year. So, our schedule allows 30 minutes of strength and flexibility training together each day. DaddyBee gets a bike ride every evening, so his cardio is already taken care of. An hour of time each day is now scheduled for BusyBee and I to go for a walk, a bike ride (he loves his bike trailer) or to get our dance on together.
  • I want to feel as though I am fulfilling my need for creative outlet and positive output. For me this means scheduling daily time to write! What better time that when BusyBee is down for a nap and the quite is only broken my the tapping of my keyboard? I now have an hour a day for just this purpose.
  • By the time I turn 30 (in a year and two weeks) I plan to have mastered house keeping. Does that sound ridiculous? I’m not sure which part is worse, the fact that it is a goal of mine or the fact that I’m almost 30 and haven’t figured it out yet. I now have a full hour of quiet time when BusyBee is either playing with DaddyBee or sleeping that will be devoted to specific chores (on a rotating schedule) as well as an hour between putting BusyBee to bed and having DaddyBee come home that will be used for daily maintenance. Are you aware of how much it takes to maintain a tiny home when you have an extremely busy toddler? It boggles the mind, truthfully.
  • I plan to lose about 80 pounds this year. Yep. WHOA, eighty pounds? While increasing our families activity is a grand idea for toning and upping our calorie burning potential, I still need to put in just as much work in the kitchen. So, I have allowed up to an hour a day for dinner prep. We eat mostly whole foods, we eat gluten free and almost dairy free for BusyBee so food prep can take a while. Dinner left overs also function as lunches for us the next day, which helps with budget as well as eating healthy foods during the day. We also set up our dining room this past weekend. All food consumed in our home (coffee isn’t food, right?) will happen at the dining table, to help eliminate mindless eating and (ewww) floor food for BusyBee.
  • Save the best for last? I certainly think so! We want to have a thriving sex life. When you rarely have sex, it is normal to fall into a pattern of doing “what works” because it’s easy and (duh?) you know it’s gonna get you where you need to go. The problem with that is that it gets so very boring after a while… which in the long run makes you want it even less often. Well, as BusyBee is finally getting onto a good schedule, we will have 10 or more hours a day where he is fast asleep. We only need 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. That mean more time for us to be sexy with each other. More time to be sexy means feeling sexier, which means more sex, which means we get to be creative again. Brown chicken brown cow.

This month we are going to focus solely on adjusting to the new routine. Do you set new goals for yourself on your birthdays? I never really did much with New Years resolutions, but birthday resolutions are where it’s at for me. I’d love to hear what some goals you have for your next year are.

Origins

Daily Prompt: Origin Story
Why did you start your blog? Is that still why you blog, or has your site gone in a different direction than you’d planned?

I started blogging here for a few reasons.

  • Writing is sensuous. I’ve always had a love affair with words. As I write, I roll the words lusciously across my mind the some roll a velvety red wine over the pallet. Meaningful writing is as deeply necessary to my soul as deeply passionate sex.
  • I have been through much struggle and have gained a good many golden bits of wisdom and pithy little stories that warm the heart. Many of them beg to be shared with a larger audience.
  • Writing offers me the ability to share my experiences with great transparency without over sharing the private lives of my loved ones. When I share, I share it all, the sensual, the ugly, the glorious, the embarrassing, the harrowing. This can be rather unappreciated by DaddyBee (and a few others) when shared with those who know us personally.
  • My life is about to under go a radical transformation. Over the next year my family plans to take a journey to better health, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially, even (maybe especially?) sexually. There will be much to learn and much to share.

I guess, already it could be said that this is going in a slightly different direction than I originally intentioned (just yesterday!) because I have decided to follow the prompts to help me to get back into the swing of writing. In it’s core, though, I fully expect that this blog to follow the core intention, which is to follow my transcendental journey. It will also help me immeasurably to have the accountability of a daily post, so that I keep taking one more step forward.

“All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man had taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beginning Again

I live with Bi-Polar and severe anxiety. I am a mother. I am morbidly obese. I am in a committed relationship. I am a homemaker. I am poor. Today, I nearly took my life… again.
I stopped short of an attempt. My momentum was stopped suddenly when my shaking hands ended up dulling my knife instead of sharpening it. I stood there for a moment, frustrated with the knife and with my shaking hands before the shock of what I had almost done set in.
These last couple of years have been very difficult. I haven’t slept through a night in over two years. Even when I didn’t have a child waking me, I didn’t sleep soundly. Our home has been in a state of flux. My partner, who we will call DaddyBee, has struggled with severe depression to the point of functioning only to make it to work. My child, who we will call BusyBee, is the light of my world but can be incredibly challenging as well.
I want to continue my life with Daddy Bee and Busy Bee, really I do, but some days the stress of the circumstances I face seem insurmountable. Part of this is because I gave up control of the things I can change about my circumstances. I let myself feel helpless. Feeling helpless, I relied on others to take care of the things that are mandatory for my stability and health. It may not be news to you, and it shouldn’t have been to me, but other people do not always understand how serious our needs are. Sometimes, even when they do realize, they lack the ability or desire to follow through and support your needs. Relying on others to do for you often leads to a spiral of feeling trapped and helpless.
Today I am putting a full stop on my spiral. I am going to get better. I will have to sacrifice. My family will have to sacrifice for a while, too, but I will still be here with them when it is over.
I’m making a choice, right now. I will have to keep making that choice every day, every moment. I will put one foot in front of the other. I will make one small change at a time, just one step at a time. I will change my life.

“Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.” -Francis Bacon

Today I begin to alter my existence by design.