Monday, May 13, 2013
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)
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
HONESTY with tears creates LOVE
Writing about HONESTY has caused me the most struggle of the156 reader's write essays submitted to the SUN, honestly, beginning January 2000; if you don't believe me, count the months yourself or call the SUN. That first readers write topic was "Making a Difference." None of them have been published (so far and therefore not made a difference to the 'sun') although 3 of my Correspondence pieces and one glorious photo of my daddy holding my sister with one hand graced the pages of the SUN. It is dad's hand that continues to hold mine to these typing keys although he passed on over 30 years ago. I have been accused of being brutally honest...no that's my mother, as I remember her saying, "If I had a rifle, I'd shoot Kevin." My two daughters were present to hear their grandmother: my oldest Erin, was Kevin's girlfriend and she was pregnant with his child without being married. This occurred in 1992 when Erin was a senior at Cornell University and my mother, a long time born again christian, was still practicing nursing as an RN. I am still appalled twenty years later to hear mom's words...one of the many reasons I left the church of supposed-love-religion in 1984. Just yesterday I finished reading Crossing the Borders of Time, a true story of WWII, exile and love reclaimed, sobbing once more the loss of my daddy, not to WWII, but to a sudden heart attack in 1977 when I was only 31. But I wonder how honest I would have been during the war, hiding my family members from the Nazis...how brave would I be? It'd definitely be a case for me to be dishonest despite my wish to be 'completely' honest in my life. I wish to be 'deeply honest', is what I wrote to my daughter Erin more than a decade ago trying to convince her that I was the one to appreciate and love. I took care of her and her sister Megan, after their dad left when they were four and one years old, while they visited their daddy every third weekend and for a couple weeks in the summers. He is a loving father yet I had the majority of the responsibility of child-rearing. Until I was training to become a marriage and family therapist I was not aware of how deeply my need for love ran until I asked my teenage daughters a simple question while waiting in the aisle of Woolworth's for our photograph to be taken. "Do you ever get angry at your dad, like you do with me?" Megan, three years younger than Erin said something like, "We want things to go well while we are with dad since we don't see him that often, so we try not to cause trouble." It was one of those light-bulb moments when I realized they felt safer with me to have all their feelings...honestly, I felt enlightened in that moment. And loved. I often wonder why certain moments are emboldened on my heart: Erin's years ago statement during a conversation: "Manipulation isn't always bad," or Megan's hand on my knee (tears) as she says, "I'll always take care of you," while driving on route 88 during her college years. Few statements are so clearly imbedded in me. They carry the ring of truth, as I am learning to love me, then others with true compassion. Spending the past week on vacation at my sister's in Florida provided a challenging situation; would I be selfish and go to the only event I'd asked to do - a ballroom dance - or eat dinner with my sister and her two son's families to please them and not risk their rejection of me? When my sister said I was putting her or her son out to drive me 20 minutes to the dance, I replied, "You can say no, that you don't want to." Previously that day, without complaint, she'd found on her iphone a place to dance and I had received 2 return phone calls (one from a woman who had graduated from Ithaca high school from which I had also graduated) confirming that there was a dance on Easter from 6-9 pm. It was as if the Design of the Universe was meaning for me to be there. I had eaten breakfast with the whole family that morning as well as attended my sister's church, she knowing I'd prefer not to because I am free of religious dogma while striving to be on a spiritual path 'designed' by the life force of Love. I complied to make her happy, her one son admitting that he was surprised that I'd be in church. Happily, a long-ingrained guilt not to be selfish and fear of other's not loving me played a much softer tune in the background of my heart than the one that said to trust myself - to love me, and to trust that my sister would still love me. She drove me to the dance. [While in my mind (or is it in my heart?) I reassure myself of my granddaughter Denali's love (now 20 years old) remembering multiple 'I love yous' said during every phone call or parting. Same as Daddy's spirit of love. No rote-automatic 'love you', only complete 'I love you', sometimes with the spice of 'lots' added.] When my nephew picked me up from the ballroom dance, (whom I don't know well since we speak or write each other only once or twice a year) I was rewarded with an open, most respectfully honest conversation that would not have happened unless we were alone together. Also, an unexpected hug from a reticent-of-affection man. My journey to trust and therefore to loving mySelf grows as I am consistently aware of my tears appearing when I feel the loss of love: seeing the return of love like reunion- hugging in movies or hearing I love you, as a renewed togetherness. (to-get-her:) (It is now 11:11am:)
Monday, March 4, 2013
IN THE DARK...we find light of our true loving-nature
I live in a renovated chicken coop, where I am the chick, and there are no roosters (as yet), next to the landlord who owns the farmhouse. I choose to be here because of the country light being expansive and natural. I can revel in the moon and stars and clouds without the cover-up-competition of artificial lights like those of the city. That is until twenty-somethings moved into the apartment on the second floor of the farmhouse. There had been 3 previous renters that never used the outside door-light to walk to their cars, let alone the flood light at the top of the roof. These youngsters do not have disabilities, so I have difficulty putting on my understanding hat to be able to accept such fears in their hearts. After speaking with Rosemary about my desire to have the natural light so I can appreciate the full beauty of the sky in all its starlit ness (without Oscars), she says she needs to have the flood light on at times for her safety. I am OK to have it on for five minutes, even though it takes but a minute to walk from her car down a small slope to her door, but she writes, "that is out of the question," without any explanation. (I've even offered to buy her a high powered flashlight.) There is a sensor light that goes on when she drives by her door, and she says that is not adequate, although I have a longer walk from my parked car down a slope to my door and do not need any lights on, and I am a sixty-something. I can understand that when there is snow or ice she needs the light, and suggest that she stop at her door as she drives by, which triggers the sensor light to go on, get out to turn the flood light on, then park. I would be glad to do this for her if she so requested of me. Why is that "out of the question?" She writes, that she is compromising by having the light off half of the week when she is not working late, while having it on when she leaves near noon until midnight or later, so that when I arrive home the flood light decimates any semblance of organic beauty. And why is this so important to me? you might ask. Because I am becoming more aware of my inner beauty that has a stake in revealing the dark parts of my heart, so my natural innate baby-beauty can once again be seen without artificial barriers of anger and resentment, like those I used to have for my mother. And, presently don't have for my neighbors. I want to be naturally-brighter as was my astronomer father, who adopted me and loved me just as much as his two biological children.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Bullies are UNloved too...
I wonder if I have bullied someone...what comes to mind is intentionally scaring my sister, one year younger than I. I would raise my arms in the air like a vulturous bird and chase her around her bed, while hooting as if I would eat her. I enjoyed her being afraid. I would call the fat girl next door Toodles, which she disliked...I wonder if she ever cried. I know I wanted to cry when in junior high when I heard Jim Clark yell up the hallway stairs, as students passed between classes, "Hey Pancake!" I wonder why I couldn't share how embarrassed and hurt I was with anyone even though I had a loving father. The hurt I felt stuck in my heart for years, rearing its ugly memory whenever I thought of my adolescent years, or attended my high school reunions. I was a wall flower of late blooming. Very late, barely buds of breasts as my period finally appeared at age fifteen. I wonder why I kept my mouth shut when I saw others bullied with more severe words, or even when seeing two girls fighting, pulling each other's hair. The silence is horrifying as I write. At my forty-fifth high school reunion, Jim Clark showed up, whom I hadn't seen since high school. I walked up to him as if I was a proud eagle guarding its nest. I asked if he remembered me, which he did. "I need to tell you something; I was really hurt when you yelled 'Pancake' at me in the hallway in junior high." Without a pause, Jim replied that he did not remember saying that, yet he apologized. I wonder how he felt about me breaking my way too long silence.
Monday, February 11, 2013
BREAKING THE RULES ...
I have broken The SUN rules. Never before have I missed a month of writing a SUN readers write for over 15 years until now. The SUN has broken the rules by not printing ANY of my SUN reader's writes despite my readers emailing me how they are inspired or maybe laughed. It is now February 4th and BREAKING THE RULES was due by January first. NO I have not been sick or in an accident. I just finished writing a book, TEARS ARE TRUE LOVE...waiting to be known, where I have centered my focus, with a looming publishing date of Valentine's Day. This last book of a trilogy is presently at the printers. Now I have broken two deadlines because BULLIES was due the first of this month, February. I am doing my best to bring out the sun in my heart: 1) I talk to the TV when a young man on American Idol says my goal is not to cry. 2) I don't say "sorry" when I cry in front of others, and tell people on TV or my clients the same: please do not apologize for your tears. 3) I have reversed my childhood Sunday School lesson: JOY is Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. NO, it is Yourself first, Others second, Jesus last, "For the first will be last and last will be first" according to whom? 4) I will "talk back" if I need to! My opinions are as important as yours mom. 5) I will cry with my clients, hold them, and say 'I love you' to them when I feel so moved or touched. 6) I will be arrested (and was) for not giving my psychotherapy client's notes to the court- lawyers when ordered to, as is my professional ethics concerning confidentiality. 7) Lastly, I am breaking the Reader's Writes rules: do not lecture. Hopefully, you won't laugh too loud...or is it too loudly? PLEASE break the rules and publish one of my unSparrow-like reader's writes and feel better. JOYfull. With more love, dianea
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Can TEARS create younger skin?
My mother told me that she had to learn how to cook after she married because her mother had not taught her; she had been shooed from the kitchen. Surprisingly, as a child, my grandmother, Alice, let me help her make the best fried cakes (Dunkin Donuts can't compare) sizzling in bacon grease. My mouth has begun to water despite Grammy Alice being passed on forty years. Helping my mother peel potatoes or apples was one of my first cooking duties although it was not until I was an older teenager. Yet, I remember maybe being 12 when she asked me to check the peach pie in the oven; when I tried to take it out the hot pie spilled onto the floor. I am amazed (and grateful) that mom did not get mad at me as she was critical of me in many other ways. No skin off my back, and no skin on the potatoes, peaches or apples. While raising my children, nutrition no longer took off her skin. I scrubbed the potatoes, adding butter to the still dressed mashed potatoes. After my daughters left home I added fresh garlic to the mashing. Strong spicy garlic turned bland potatoes into a real treat that pricked the tongue while risking alienation when smelling garlic-breath, which I happen to like. I wonder if someday there will be creams of garlic applied to our skin for beauty's sake like cucumbers or teabags now applied to the eyes. Massage therapists use an array of oils to stretch, soothe and relax our strained anxious muscles by pressing our most essential skin that holds us together. During my fourth marriage, my emotional skin tore like a thread pulling a sweater apart. I became very angry and sad and fearful when Gregory would not trust me with accusations of having affairs. I stomped like a toddler: my broken-open-hurt-heart sobbing, which caused the skin around my eyes to swell, becoming like cream puffs. (I wish.) In the beginning my eyes hurt, not just my heart, but as I connected my tears to old childhood memories, I gradually welcomed them like a warm spring rain. Eventually tears even washed away my anger at my mother. Twenty years later, I love my tears which visit a few times a week. I smiled big when seeing the placard in the movie, The Artist, reading TEARS OF LOVE. I had never read those words before, except in my journal; only seen 'tears of joy' written. Just last week, a woman who has seen me dance many times told me that I look 45. When I told her I am 66, her husband said, "Bullshit!" Because when I cry, I do not wipe away my tears but smooth them into my skin with a smile on my face.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
WINGING IT...WITH THE TRUTH
Today is October 25th, 2012. I am walking on bright yellow leaves covering the sidewalk that leads to the family court room, confidence carried in my well-prepared notes. When I am asked if I'll tell the whole truth, I reply to the judge, "For sure!" He smiles as do I. (It is the first time in my experience that a bible did not appear.) I am a psychotherapist testifying on behalf of a father of two who has had sole custody since 2008. His lawyer had emailed me questions he would ask and I mostly read my answers in order to cite the time frames and dates correctly while I hear my heart noticeably speed up. It is not often that I testify in court. When I add that I wish the mother had continued in therapy with me, her lawyer objected to me adding anything to the immediate question. I am stunned. I am trying to portray a positive frame to the courtroom's adversarial picture. After reading my answer to the next question, the mother's lawyer objects again, saying that I should not be reading my answers, but answering spontaneously, maybe refer to my notes. And adds that he should have a copy of my prepared answers. And, copies of my psychotherapy notes of the father. (I had already given up the notes of the children because the mother had been my client briefly.) Confidentiality by a psychotherapist is ethically and legally a must in order for any client to trust you. There are clear limits as to when psychotherapy notes can be released - such as when a client gives written permission. Even then, I must evaluate the risk of breaching confidentiality. I had been very cooperative in sending reports and therapy updates. Why were incomplete sentences and easily misinterpreted fragments needed? (I write detailed notes during sessions when most therapists write summaries.) I turned to the judge and said, "I can't ethically give up the psychotherapy notes; it is my professional responsibility." The judge's voice became noticeably irritated and replies that it is a court order, to which I add that my profession 'orders' me not to accept. ( I had been arrested in the summer in a nearby county for the same reason, and won a compromise where only the judge saw the notes and not the law guardian.) The judge angrily cuts me off and says he will not argue with me. We go to recess. Not a playful one. I confer with my client and his lawyer about my conviction to not give up the psychotherapy notes, when I had provided therapy updates to both the mother and the father and their lawyers for the past few months. And, cited Jaffee vs. Redmond in my defense. The lawyer of my client slowly changed his mind and suggested that my testimony be stricken from the record so that my psychotherapy notes would not be required. After he conferred with the judge and the mother's lawyer; we agreed. My heart felt pure as the sunshine that followed me out of the courthouse in Ithaca, New York. I regained my confidence in my confidentiality ethic; glad my words were heard in the courtroom, knowing that was all that mattered. I felt as if I had wings.