Monday, May 28, 2012

Page 149

In my studio, my computer monitor sits on a stand mounted to the wall.  On that stand, in front of my monitor, sits a dyecast model of a black '69 Corvette Stingray... My dream car.  The car which I spent nearly two hours searching for at the Corvette Museum, only to discover that they did NOT have it in their collection, so I was left with the only option of purchasing a model of it.  Pulling it backward winds up the wheels, and when you let go, then it goes forward. 

When I'm stuck in my studio, there are plenty of times when I'm left thinking about where I'm going with the project I'm working on.  During those times, I'll play with my little Stingray.  I pull it back and let it go over and over until my head clears. 

I guess you could say that my little Stingray is somewhat representative of my music career.  It's been a tough, slow, and painfully emotional journey. Forever hoping, ever dreaming, ever seeking that elusive break that will allow me to spend the rest of my life supporting my family doing what I love, only to keep finding myself coming up short and/or empty handed, accepting a trinket in return for bruised dream and ego. 

I suspect that everyone can relate to this in some way or another; even those who seemingly have it all.  Like I said in a previous blog,  The Universe has no prejudice.  Sometimes it will smile down upon you and you will find yourself embracing your heart's desire.

Other times, it is gonna shit on you, without rhyme or reason, and you'll be left with your angry tears falling over what's left of your shattered dream, which you now hold in your hands. 

When find yourself in the latter situation, you have very few options.  But, be thankful that you at least HAVE options. 

#1 - You can chuck those pieces of your broken dream right into the trash. Then, you can be bitter, angry and vow never to dream again. 

#2 - You can take those pieces, wrap them up carefully in a hanky, put them gently into a box with some super glue, vowing to put it all back together when there's time. Then, never make time and let that dream just fade away in time as you forget. 

#3 -  You can take the pieces of that broken dream, salvage everything possible, and put it on display to remind you of what it is you ache for. 

Let your dream live!  It's your dream and no one can take that from you if you don't let them!

Here's how you do it... 
Take all that pain, all that hurt, all that anger, all that resentment, and all that fear...


You just pull it back...

And let it go.... 

~ A very special thank you, fist bump, high five and booty smack to my new friend Kathy Bertram for helping inspire this blog entry! Google her to see her performance on Jay Leno and keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming audition to be broadcast on  America's Got Talent!  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Page 143

I’ve seen a lot of witty pictures, opinion columns, and other articles flying around various social media sites regarding the working class opinion of recipients of welfare services; more specifically, that person at the front of your line using their “food stamps” at the market.  First, let me clarify that they are now called SNAP Benefits, although even the recipients of these benefits still refer to them as food stamps. 

Everything (and I am not exaggerating this in any way), I have seen has referenced the user’s perfectly manicured finger nails, their perfectly coifed hair, their brand new cell phone, their nice car (nicer than the author’s car), etc. 

Let me share a story about that woman using her snap benefits in line in front of you.  Those nails you claimed are perfectly manicured?  Those are her real nails that she cares for herself.  It’s something she does late at night when her children are in bed while she thinks about her day and the next day and how her family is going to make it through the month. 

That hair that is perfectly coifed?  She hasn’t been to a hair dresser in over a year because she can’t afford it.  She has learned how to stylishly keep it up, how to tuck the dead, frayed ends in so that she looks good for the job interview…  like the one she is on her way home from when you saw her. 

That NEW cell phone?  Well, it’s the one that she was able to get for free signing up for a contract plan with a provider so she could have a phone.  It’s the only phone she has.  She needs it for job interviews, to keep in touch with the schools should there be an emergency with her children, and email to SEND resumes for jobs.  She doesn’t have a computer because she can’t afford one.  That cell phone is her lifeline to a better life. 

Her nice car?  Well, that car was sold to her by her parents.  It is a nice car because they kept it nice.   She makes them small payments as she can afford it to reimburse them.  Because of their generosity and kindness, she has a reliable vehicle in which to transport her children and make it to job interviews and doctor appointments. 

How do I know all this?  I know this because I am a recipient of SNAP Benefits. 

I have no doubt there are recipients of benefits out there that are probably playing the system.  However, to lump all SNAP Benefit recipients into this category is somewhat prejudicial don’t you think? 
If you have nothing better to do, and have enough time to devote to judging that person using a SNAP Benefits card in front of you, then you need a new hobby. 

With all the current issues in the news of racism, prejudice, and homophobia over gay marriage going on in this world, do we really need to contribute to more out casting of members of our society?  The citizens of this country are turning on themselves!  It’s no wonder we are no longer the world dominator that we once use to be. 

As advanced as society is, one cold hard fact remains true…  You should NEVER judge a book by its cover.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Page 141

I love pets.  Dogs. Cats. Bunnies. Horses.  They are "Love Companions." 

I remember my first pet.  A lovable Persian mix with a flat face thick hair that was black on top, but stark white underneath.  His name was Putt-Putt.  Since then, I have had many pets, from cats to dogs.  I even had a dog named Kitty.  I've had hamsters, fish, lizards, snakes, and I even had a pet rock at one time.  Ok, maybe it wasn't quite a "pet" persay, but it traveled with me for many years, through quite a but of my adult life and many moves.  There's a short and entertaining story to that which shall be left for another blog. 

Back to the topic at hand.  Pets. 

Owning a pet isnt easy, but it's rewarding.  There's a certain bond that is formed that can't quite be explained in words. But it can be felt and, at times seen, thru the tears of a human who has lost their beloved companion, be it injury, illness, old age, or even theft. 

For one of the first times in my life, I find myself desperately missing and needing that love and bond.  I have always had a pet in my bed, which managed to help me thru the loneliness I felt for so many years.

We currently have in our home, two dogs and, outside our home, one cat. 

The cat, Punkin', was inherited with the house.  He's loving, for sure, but I have no real bond with him.  He is my eldest son's special friend. 

Next is Odie.  Fredrick Odiferous Masticus Swineus Barkius Lickius Gluteus Maximus to be exact.  He is my rescue baby.  Obtained from the shelter at a mere six weeks old.  He is a sharpei-shepherd mix. 

Odie was my baby. He slept with me every night.  He snuggled, with his head on my pillow, while I cried myself to sleep for so many years.  He knows all my secrets and has protected me from many moments of danger.  After we moved here to Tennessee, he somehow, gradually  became my second oldest son's dog.  Mainly, because I was gone a lot and he cared for Odie in my absence.  Since my fiancée is severely allergic to Odie (something to do with the oils of a sharpei), he is restricted to the basement with my eldest boys and outside.  He is happy. 

Finally, there's Gracie. A 6 month old chocolate lab for which I exchanged a large sum of cash to provide my fiancée with companionship and love that I knew he had been missing since his ex was awarded his dog in the divorce.  To add insult to injury, she quickly and cold heartedly gave it away.  That dog saved his life and losing her broke his heart.  Knowing how much the devout love of a pet has done for me, shortly after we moved into our new home, with his mother by my side, we went and picked out Gracie. She is definitely his love companion. 

To be perfectly honest... Lately, I find myself jealous.  I can't nail down if it's jealousy of how much he loves Gracie, plays with her, cares for her, dotes on her...  Or if it's the love she has for him.  A love and devotion which I don't have from a furry companion anymore. Or maybe I don't have it from him.  All I know is that I simply feel like I'm on the losing end all around. 

I had hoped that, since she was a female, he would consent to her having a single litter of chocolate lab puppies. Ultimately, I wanted to keep one for myself.  I miss that companionship so desperately.  And even more as of late.  But, as is the way of life for me, I shall never experience that joy because Friday, she was spayed. 

You would think that being engaged, having seven children, I would never feel lonely.  But I do.  More often than not these days.  Everyone has their friends, activities, things to do, and even with everyone home, I am still alone. 

And, here it is, past midnight, and I am wide awake, wishing so much for a pet of my own. 

At this moment, I want warmth. I want touch.  I want tenderness.  Affection.

There is void in my heart...  a loneliness I feel growing day by day as no one seems to want to be around me, talk to me  spend time with me. And, I feel like my existence, my thoughts, my feelings, my needs, my fears... I honestly feel like no one gives a shit. No one values me.  I'm worthless.  I'm just an annoyance in their lives.  One they'd sooner dispose of - or at the very least - eliminate as much interaction from.

If I matter to no one, not even an animal, well then, what's the point of mattering  at all? 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Page 138

A cousin of mine asked the age old question of, "Why do bad things happen to good people, while bad people get good things that they don't deserve?"

The Christian answer is that God gives us all our own unique challenges to polish us and strengthen us for eternal greatness and reward, and that the bad people will only enjoy a momentary joy, for they shall receive their justice at the final judgment.  All will be made right in the end.

I'm really trying to insert the proper words to express how I truly feel about all that without offending, but I'm coming up blank.

Sorry.  But I call bullshit.  Stop living in fear of God and stop feeling guilty for not being on bended knee grateful for every damn trial. 

Explain to me the logic of that religious blather when you read a news article bout a woman arrested for letting her internet boyfriend have sex with her 5 month old infant to fulfill his sexual fantasies.

Explain that logic as a 10 year old child if repeatedly raped by a family member, is denied an abortion because she can't prove it, and is forced to give birth to a baby.

Explain that logic to me when a young boy lures his 4 teaser old sister over to a tree to intentionally hang and kill her and then goes to bed as though nothing happened.

You can waste your breath trying to tell me that it's a matter of Faith. But, I call ur Faith and raise you Reality! 

People, listen closely and carefully as to what I am about to tell you, because it could change your life. 

Bad things happen to good people every day.  Good things happen to bad people every day.  And, for the sake of those who look toward their faith and/or a final judgment to finally level the playing field in a spectacle of fire and damnation or as a thief in the night....  I hope that you will forgive me for my complete lack of ability to embrace your way of thinking. 

Karma is a philosophy I can embrace, but have recently begun to take an even more distant approach to that. 

Here is the bottom line. Here is where I stand, as I said yesterday, with my feet firmly planted in the quicksand of rock bottom. Here is my answer to my cousin's question.

Darling, the Universe has no prejudice. So what right do we have to make a judgment on whether anyone deserves good or bad.  It gives what it gives. We take what it gives and we do what we do with it. 

If only people would stop this insane idea that God actually has a prejudice for or against any mortals, to give them more our less goodness/tragedy.

No prejudice. That's the law of the universe. Prejudice, punishment, training for battle and greater glory, that's all human thinking and concepts.

I prefer to stand by the No Prejudice concept of the Universe.  If only everyone would just live that way...


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Page 137

I find myself, once again, sleeplessly meandering thru my mind which, under these circumstances is a very delicate and potentially dangerous undertaking.

Essentially, this blog is simply me...  About me...  For me...  Pure honesty... 

Proceed with caution for this  gearing up to be some serious rambling.

I wouldn't say that I'm in a bad mood. I wouldn't say that I'm in a good mood.  My mood is one that I honestly can't define. I would say however, that I have found myself utterly challenged at making lemonade with sour lemons that have been chucked at me for so long. 

Let's face facts. First fact is, when it comes to music, most particularly singing, I'm mediocre at best.  When our comes to writing, I'm probably better than many, but again, mediocre.  And, engineering/ producing???  Mediocre might actually be far too strong a word.  Given this enormously mediocrity, why do I have such a love and passion for it?  I don't get it. 

When it comes to life skills, I am a freaking incredible legal secretary. I type at the speed of light...  Over 100 WPM with nearly 100% accuracy to be precise.  My ability to research, draft  pleadings, and create legal documents is above par.  My ability to learn new software in very little time is astonishing, even to me.  My passion and lust for justice is second to none.  Give me a computer and I can do nearly anything related to office management, including creating a completely new office support management plan.

And yet, with all this ability, I find myself with no job prospects in sight. Shit, I can't even get a call back for an interview, not even a part time minimum wage prospect (which is frankly all I want at this point.) 

Here is where the sick tragedy of errors that is my life comes in.  In spite of my incredible skills and ability to support an employer, and in spite of the love I have for that "chosen career," my passion and the utter lust I have to be in the studio creating and drowning in rhythmical melodies simply overpowers all else.  I am happiest when doing something which I fully acknowledge that I am - And likely never be more than - merely mediocre at. 

Ultimately, neither is helping me in any way whatsoever. And, the extent to which I find myself lamenting recently about the emotional and financial place I have found myself in is overwhelmingly frequent. 

I posted a status on Facebook today about my angst to spend some time at the front of the parade rather than bringing up the rear with a pooper scooper in hand. 

The worst part of it all is that I find myself in a state of financial destruction.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul, is not even a possibility at this point.  I'm just plainly unable to meet any of my or my children's needs and the responsibilities.  I have.  In essence, I have bitten off more than I can chew. I have not only found myself between a rock and a hard place, but I have planted my feet firmly in the quicksand of rock bottom.  I have been irresponsible with money.

I could blame the Judge in all his infinite wisdom who choose to grace my seven children with a mere $767 child support amount TOTAL, unchanged in the last 7 years.

I could blame my ex husband for becoming a perpetual student, spending the last two years on the beautiful islands of St. Kitt and Nevis to attend medical school and travel the world only seeing his kids for 4 days in all that time.

I could also blame him for his lack of support which forced me to drop out of school on my  last semester for my degree so that I could work to support my family.

I could go on to blame him for rarely talking to them, not even calling my oldest soon on his birthday, and only initiating communication with them, after several months of complete silence, following an email informing him of the kids' desire and my desire to have them adopted by my fiancee following our marriage. 

I could certainly blame him for his most recent asinine statement 2 weeks ago that he pays too much in child support and that his past 8+ years of education are in the best interests of the children so that he CAN support them (keeping in mind that at this rate half of them will have GRADUATED and will longer be included in child support calculations. 

And, I could very well blame him for delaying reimbursement of his 1/2 obligation to the nearly $700 to $800 of fees for the kids to play baseball and softball. 

I could definitely blame him for actually expecting me to pay for half of the airfare for SEVEN children to fly across the country to stay with him and his family - nothing more than strangers st this point - for an entire month. 

Yeah, I could blame a lot more on a lot more things and people.  But why waste the energy.  Nothing ever changes.  And, the reality of it all falls squarely on my lap.  There isn't a single soul who will help me carry or lighten this burden.  I've learned that the hard way over and over.

My children and I are enormously blessed to have a good man in our lives who truly loves us. Who provides us a place to call home.  Who works so hard to be the rock which this family stands on.  I do acknowledge that gift and blessing.  But, he has no obligation to help me out of this mess. And, I will not ask.

Looking at the current state of my finances, with no job, no job prospects, and my need to be home during the summer while kids are out of school, and their need for Mom to be here... well, I find myself understanding why so many have attempted to just end it all. 

Chill out!  Don't freak!  I'm not saying I'm considering suicide. I'm just saying I empathize. I feel their pain. 

Facing all this truth, as well as the impending shit storm that I am about to experience, is not something I'm looking forward to.  I have always prided myself in never expecting to be taken care of.  And, whenever the opportunity to help others arises, I always provide when and if I can. 

I've done a lot of bad in my life. But I've also done an enormity of good.  So, in all honesty...  I'm feeling a bit put upon.

This is my plea to the Universe.... 

I am weak.  I am broken. I am tired. I am afraid.

Please, provide me with the opportunity to resolve my current situation without creating pain, heartache and anger.

Please allow me the clarity of mind and sight to see the solution you put in my path.

Please bless me with the courage to grasp that solution when it is before me.

Please, help me with the strength to avoid ever falling into this situation or another like it ever again.

And, if it isn't too much to ask...  Could you kinda hurry???  Please?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Page 131

School is nearly over for the year and summer break is about to become reality in our home.  This means I will be surrounded by seven children morning-noon-night until August, when they return to school.  ***insert sarcastic comments at your leisure***

As I think about all the knowledge they are about to purge from their little minds, I am left recalling all the summer breaks I experienced in my youth.  And, I wonder even more how I managed to retain any of it.  Of course, you have undoubtedly heard me say it before, I have already forgotten more than my children will ever learn.  But, even so, I am concerned about just how much they will forget. 

This leaves me thinking about the teachers they have had for the last 2 to 10 years.  Are they teachers who made an impact on their lives?  Not just because they did their job, but because they went above and beyond, doing more than just the average bear.  Did any of them teach my children life skills and lessons they will carry forever?  Will my children remember them?

Funny enough, I immediately started thinking of all the teachers I have had in my life and which of them had the most impact on me.  I realized, I can't remember 99% of their names, although there are a great many faces, classes, and lessons I recall. 

So, why is that?  Am I a horrible person? 

Let me answer that.  No. I'm not.  Maybe I'm an oddity, but none of them impacted me all that much.  I was, however greatly impacted by the daily anxiety of going to school, the bullying I received day in and day out for at least 7 years straight.  None of those teachers were there for me. And, sadly, many - if not most of them - virtually encouraged it by simply ignoring it. 

Ok. So, maybe they all impacted me... While teaching me the basic skills I would use in life (math, english, science, history, etc), they also taught me to be afraid, to not trust, and I still feel anxiety simply driving by a school, nevermind actually setting foot in one.  An impossibility to avoid when you have as many children as I have. 

Thankfully, the teachers who make the most impact on our lives are not the ones who get paid to shove as much knowledge as humanly possible down the throats and into minds of our children in 9 months.  It's no wonder they can't remember where they put their shoes on a daily basis. 

The true teachers in our lives are the ones who help guide us into being, by the grace of the Universe, good, decent, caring and competent adults.  And, by their lessons, we in turn learn to become teachers ourselves. 

Who are the teachers I remember most? Well, my parents of course.  The teaching job that never ends.  Then, the teachers I remember most are every bully, every ex boyfriend and girlfriend, every former employer, and every single person involved in the lessons I have learned in my lifetime. 

But, in the end, the question still lingers.  Who are the teachers that have impacted me the most?

Well, that one is simple. 

My children... The most unwitting teachers of all. 

If they only knew they outnumbered us "old folk," they could rule the world.