Sunday, November 10, 2013
It's 1984. I am 38 years old. I finally have the courage to not only listen to my 10 year old voice that tells me it is not true what the bible says: that you will go to hell if you do not accept jesus as your savior, but also to take action to leave my family's religion. Then, I could sing with John Lennon, imagining a world without religion, where we can be one, in love. It was scarier to hear my 12 year old daughter tell me that I will go to hell by leaving this soul-crushing belief of the bible. We both have tears caressing our cheeks, as she looks piercingly into my eyes from her upper bunk bed. Overcoming the fear of being rejected by my family and friends was hard enough, but the repercussions linger as years later in 1998, I am at a greyhound bus station's restroom seeing a mother threatening to hit her 4 year old daughter if she doesn't wash her hands. I want to speak as I glare from the doorway, "Please don't yell at her: I know you may be tired, but you are scaring her and she deserves to be treated respectfully, as much as you do." I am fearfully silent, and ashamed. Back on the bus, I see a father swat his son on the head, as I turn around and speak again only with my disapproving sad-blue eyes. I chide myself and promise to speak up the next time I see a scared child. While hiking one day, I see a mother walking way ahead of a crying 4-5 year old who is wailing, "Wait for me mommy!" I catch up to the mother and say something like, you know your daughter feels afraid that you will abandon her when you walk so far ahead. She picks up her daughter and surprises me with, "I didn't realize she would feel that way." I continue to hike with a lighter skip in my step. That same year of 1998, my then 6 year old granddaughter called me from California, after calling her mom in Baltimore, to get my phone number. She was visiting her other grandmother, whom had sent her to her room when she cried. She asked me to tell her grandmother Ruth that it's okay to cry and she shouldn't have to go to her bedroom. I was thrilled that she was courageous enough to put action into her right to cry without shame. By the 21st century, I intervene with parents, strangers in public places, feeling confident in everyone's right to protect children. In 2013, I become a first-time actress in a local play called: PARENT STORIES. I monologue a story my 'son-in-law' tells me at our 2012 birthday restaurant dinner. His 8 year old son Kii was playing outdoors with his 5 year old friend where they found a coin. When it was time to leave for home, Kii began to cry when his dad said he should let his friend take the coin because he was younger. Kii shouted through his tears, "But I found the coin!" His dad said something like, "It's not worth crying about," to which Kii cried louder: "I'll cry when I am 8 and I will cry when I am 21!" A month or so later after the play performance that I felt scared to be in, I met the married couple, Sarah and Godfrey, who directed Parent Stories at another play called Gypsy. Sarah emailed me a couple of days later: Godfrey was crying at Gypsy and she had said to him, "Don't cry honey," to which Godfrey replied, "I'll cry when I'm 46 and I'll cry when I'm 84."
Thursday, October 17, 2013
CASH when needed...as you trust the Universe of love inside you
In the past, I would feel embarrassed to pick up pennies off the ground, yet I would often place them in my pocket with a feeling of pride as I rehearsed in my head, "A penny saved is a penny earned." I sometimes wonder if I have saved $100 dollars over my six decade lifetime. I was not so lucky with finding paper money. In the eighties, I traveled with a coworker to the local airport, where in the parking lot we both glimpsed a green paper under a nearby car. Toni kept the $10 bill because he claimed he saw it first, and I knew he needed the money more than I did, maybe. It wasn't until 2007 when my ex-sister-in-law paid my airfare (because I could not afford it at the time) that I was able to travel to Brasil where she lived and is a native. I had not seen her or been in touch by phone for over ten years, so I was extremely delighted and surprised that she made such a generous offer! Also, surprisingly, she had never seen one of the seven wonders of the world, Iguacu Falls, located on the borders of Brasil and Argentina. That was my one wish-request to experience during my visit. While on the Argentinian side of the Iguacu half-mile horseshoe spectacular waterfalls, where butterflies of various colors landed on us, we were about to go to lunch when I told Agda I was not sure I had enough Pesos left to pay for the restaurant buffet. Within that minute, I looked down to the pavement and picked up a rolled up wad of paper. Unrolling it revealed 70 pesos, the equivalent of 20-25 dollars! "Oh god, oh god, oh god," erupted from my mouth as I threw my arms in the air, thanking the DOU (Design of the Universe which I call the DOU, sounds like Tao, yes?). I had never found bills on the ground, ever! It was then easy for me to pay for both of our lunches as I excitedly reveled in the synchronicity of the Universal Design to take care of me. Agda's laughter joined in with the timing, cashing in on her free meal.
Friday, September 13, 2013
BEING ALONE...can have healing properties
The first 12 days of August 2013 I traveled with my eldest daughter Erin and eldest granddaughter Denali to Alaska, a trip I'd originally planned to take only with Denali as a graduation gift from high school. It is a chance to bond with her as I feel my dad's spirit within her and we have been very close during her growing up. She spends most of her time with her parents, as it ought to be, so I cherish our times alone. As plans progressed, Erin asked if she could go along. Wanting to have a closer relationship with her as well, I agreed as long as she paid her way, myself not having abundant financial resources. We made our ticket reservations in January and as time drew closer for our departure, Denali shared her excitement with me several times. I was excited too, both of us having some wonderings of how the three of us would fair. Denali chose to go to Denali National Park because her mom was pregnant with her while volunteering for the Student Conservation Assn. in Alaska; it was 1992 when Erin and I backpacked in Denali National Park while I visited for 9 days... so she named her daughter Hannah Denali, myself being the only one to call her Denali and not Hannah. We camped and hiked in Denali National Park for five days, and although Erin and Denali took up a faster pace, I kept up with them except when I chose to stop and look closer at a bear paw print, a wild flower, or a sand bar forming the shape of a heart. We also enjoyed a boat trip into the Kenai Fjord National Park to see harbor seals, otters, whale spouts, etc. and eat fresh halibut at the only restaurant in Resurrection Bay. As the days progressed I noticed that Denali and Erin usually paired off on the trails, in the stores, museums and even chose to sleep together in the Naughty Otter's hostel's one double bed. Still, we had fun, played rummy at our picnic table, and slept together when tenting which kept us warm in more than one way. By the 11th day, I could not hold my tears back as I wrote in my journal, but kept them to myself, knowing "these tears always win" as the new Alicia Keyes song sings. So, when they chose to sit separately from me at Anchorage Airport for our return home, Denali noticed that I was blowing my nose and asked me, "Are you reading (tears now) something sad? (11:11am)" I answered something like not really; I'm okay. (My family is familiar with healing tears.) I walked into the rest room and sobbed and sobbed as I sat on the toilet. I connected with seeing myself alone with my feelings because my mother never wanted me, being a child of rape. (I am very glad I am here!) Mom and I never had the mother-daughter-bond Denali and Erin have until a few months before she died. I was holding my mother's hand when I heard her last words, "I love you too."
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
KEEPSAKES...for the sake of enduring and growing love to keep
For some years now I have noticed that when I look at the clock, the numbers have more often been 11:11, 3:33, 5:55, 12:34, etc. and even more frequently 1:43am or pm...or like this morning I wake to 7:43am. I remember that two days ago with two different psychotherapy clients, my first glance at the clock is 12:43pm, then later 2:43pm. I can't resist pointing the first time out to Katy, who recognizes its meaning numerically as I love you (1:43, or 12:43 as I, 2 love you). My second client Michele, does not make this connection with 2:43pm. When I give hints of 1 letter, 4 letters, 3 letters, Michele smiles with the recognition of "I love you," which I translate to 'we love you.' Michele's excitement is catching as she reveals that she has noticed for some time synchronous numbers like 3:33, 4:44, 10:10, etc. on her clock and had attached fear to them as being spooky; whereas I feel them as the DOU's (Design Of the Universe, I use instead of god) support of my journey of EVOLving LOVE - a deeper and truer love. I am becoming more synchronous with the Universe's Design that we are here to EVOLve into knowing how to truly love. (Notice the capitalized letters backwards in the word EVOLve, or the sentence written by the word EVOLution backwards in the mirror, as no-it-u-love!) This is a keepsake more and more precious to me. Michele and I hug goodbye as she says how happy she is to know now that this synchronicity of time is positive for her. A genuine smile. And why my first daughter Erin's homemade card for my 37th birthday (she then 12) hangs next to my computer, and her tin engraved "To Mom, the ice cream lover, Love, Erin" sits on the top of the thermostat. My second daughter, Megan's pottery bowl made at age 7 and soap dish at 9, utilized ever since in my bathroom, having moved 3 times since made by Megan's child-loving hands. The love note my first granddaughter Denali (age 12) wrote in bed while over-nighting with me and left to be discovered by me in my bedside phone message notebook, now scotch-taped to my filing cabinet, next to second granddaughter Riley's (age 10) love email note. This month, July 2013, my third granddaughter Emily (age 9) and I spontaneously wrote a story EVERYBODY REMEMBERS, together in my journal, where she wrote something she likes to remember, then I would write what I like to remember, back and forth. Several melted my heart, but one I will keep for love's sake: "I like to remember how god made me so nice." The love of a child is most precious to me as are the 100 or more letters my daddy wrote to me while in college and the first years of my marriage. One resides on the top of my printer as a constant reminder to appreciate his exponential love for me, his adopted daughter, his name on my birth certificate. The carved out willow-whistle he made for me (at age 10?) sits on top of a bookcase I see every time I walk out the front door. Most people will say that family photos are what they would save if their house flooded or was on fire. I'd like to, but my kitchen, hallway, bathroom and bedroom walls are papered with countless family photos - how will I choose what to keep? Like the fireflies I'd catch (age 10?) and place on my ring finger, flashing, then flying away.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
RUNNING LATE on LOVE, better late than never
I have been running late all of my life, even though I am prompt to most of my commitments or appointments. My boyfriend Wilson and I have a routine of him emailing me before he goes to bed near 10pm, and me responding in the morning before I go to work. It is a comfort like being read a bedtime story, knowing he is okay and he still loves me. He lives in Connecticut and me in NY, and we like this form of communication instead of daily phone calls or texts as we have spent most weekends together since we met nearly three months ago. This past week he missed two evening emails, so I call him to see if he is okay; (and to help myself feel okay) in his prompt return phone call he tells me that it has been "too hectic" or he is "too tired" to remember if he has emailed me. I am aware that the "baby girl" (an endearment he calls me and that I love) inside me is being triggered into how I was afraid of losing the loving closeness between me and my dad after I learned in an angry fight with my mother that he is not my biological father when I was 16. In my twenties I asked my mother about the whereabouts of my biological dad and met him twice, he choosing his wife over contact with me. In my thirties I ran 36 marathons in 36 months, a national woman's record in the USA. When I would hit "the notorious wall" at mile 20 of the 26.2 miles I would invariably ask myself, "Why are you doing this Diane? This is crazy," and most times I would walk much of those last 6 miles. The invariable answer in my head would be, "for the recognition." It was not until my forties that I took the time to reread the 100 or so letters my dad sent to me while in college and newly married, my most valuable possession to this day, other than photographs of my family. In one of those letters he asks why I have not been demonstrative as he has a need for affection, as we all do. It is with tears at this moment that I filter out some of the pain, grief of not remembering how I answered his letter, and knowing that neither of us were brave enough to talk to each other about this. In my fifties, "too late" in life, I become aware of how very sad I am that our fears are reflected in the glass door between dad and I that never had the chance to be opened as he died suddenly of a heart attack at the young age of 60 when I was 31. This week I read in the book Wild Comfort: "Almost all the happy moments take place in a pause, a slowing down from job and routine:...in my notes, there's an odd relationship between happiness and sadness, which makes me wonder whether these are opposing emotions after all, or if the opposite of happiness might be something else - meaninglessness, maybe or emptiness." I find that I love my dad (and mySELF) more every time my tears flow. Today in my sixties, I am rereading the last paragraph of dad's letter dated 4/4/67: "It is a beautiful day. Use your eyes to see what He has given us and be thankful. Whatever I may do, whatever I may be, I sure do love you to the extent of my capabilities." As dad's words create tears, I ask myself: Am I running late on tears? for fears? Yet, I know in my heart of hearts that daddy, you get first prize for loving me the best. So far. Later. In my next life I will race to tell you face-to-face: I love you.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
CARS...or CARES about you!
As I wrote last month in TRYING AGAIN, I will now tell you what happened after I said "I love you" to the man that I met at Stardust ballroom weekend only two weeks before. He lives five hours from me in a renovated farm house on Main Street of Portland, Connecticut where several acres of farmland borders his home; seems unusual to have farming on Main Street of a city doesn't it? Well, falling in love so quickly is VERY unusual too, especially after four marriages and living alone and no boyfriend for nearly eight years. His name is Wilson, also unusual. As is his willingness to drive five hours to be with me now four out of six weekends that we have known each other. I have driven to his home only one weekend. What would we do without a car? I suppose we could have taken a bus but we both have jobs and there are no trains to Ithaca, NY. Not so long ago, my grandmother rode her horse and buggy into Ithaca to pick up groceries. She never learned to drive, but my grandfather did buy a 1940 Ford truck before I was born, or soon after, I am not sure. I am sure of the joke I was told about him driving down the middle of the road as he said he paid taxes for both sides. And I am sure I recall the sad story my mother told about Grammy having to be back at the precise time grandpa told her that he would leave Ithaca to drive home to Willseyville, fourteen miles away or he would leave her there. Without a horse or a car or a truck. I am of the generation where cars are THE way to get places, although I am incredulous that some courageous Ithacans ride their bicycles even in the winter. That's unusual too, although in the 21st century there are bike lanes provided if you don't mind breathing car exhaust that now has a great deal to do with the global warming problem. Just last year, a tornado took down some of a forest and damaged a couple homes just outside of Ithaca where tornados are unusual, in fact it may well be the first, only hurricanes have landed here on an unusual occasion. I love mother earth and father sky so I have bought a second hand Moped to ride six miles to work, instead of using my Jeep Liberty. I hope some day I won't need a car, not because I am too old to drive, but because it's unusual to be in LOVE to that extent.
Monday, May 13, 2013
TRYING AGAIN for the sake of LOVE
I have been married four times. "WOW! You won't get married again will you?" Well, my first marriage ended because the father of my two beautifull daughters came out as gay, where I could find out what sex is like with other men, no longer being a virgin as I was when first married. Number one amicable divorce. Second marriage spurred me to fly off the cliff of a strict religious addiction, to be ME, at least begin to be. A few years after our friendly divorce he was diagnosed with cancer and died at the young age of 44. Third marriage happened after living together for a year, separated for 6 months, then married after believing he had given up cigarettes and not numbing out his feelings with alcohol. One year later, he was smoking again, and said if you can't accept me as I am, we'll get divorced. I needed more emotional intimacy. Another amicable divorce. Fourth marriage to Gregory felt like my soul mate, and indeed he was, because he triggered my childhood wounds of not being trusted with my own way of believing and feeling...he couldn't trust me like my parents couldn't out of their own unawAREness. My soul is where my heart's deepest hopes and fears lie, and Gregory's distrust of me, accusing me of having affairs, broke my soul-heart open to a deeper space in me that even as a psychotherapist I was not awARE of. I sobbed, I stomped my feet like a toddler, I closed my private practice for a year to attend the Primal Center on the other side of America...to retrieve my soul, and to hope that Gregory would do the same. I expressed my rage in weekly individual and group therapy which served as a surfboard into my ocean of tears, which washes truer-love into mySelf and Gregory even when he wrote horrible lies about me in his lawyer-response to me serving him divorce papers. That was the year 2000, two years after I left Gregory; I dropped the divorce proceeding until he came to me in 2006, saying he could now agree to a friendly divorce, saying "No one has ever loved me like you Dianea." Due to my grieving and retrieving of truer little Dianea I was able to send him loving birthday and holiday cards and call him on his birthday those eight years apart. 2004-2005 I lived with my boyfriend where the marriage question was never approached....not meant to be. It is spring 2013, and am recently dating a man I met at a Stardust ballroom weekend with whom I am falling in love. Just this past weekend, we were hiking in Buttermilk Falls State Park, where the melody of cascading waterfalls harmonized the music in my head composing how I would say I love you to him. Would I wait for him to say it first as I have in the past from other men, or would I relinquish the fear of rejection and be whole? As we walked down the last steep hill, I stopped him and said, "You know something?" "What?" "I love you." (For those of you wondering what happened next: tune in to next month's readers write)