Searching for balance....
'What are you, a fucking yahoo?' Is a response which plays over and over in my head on any given day. I can thank my Father for that biting retort.
Dad was a gentle giant. He was a leader with a compassionate heart for society's underdogs. He was also German, very German. When he had a mission to conquer there was no stopping him. He'd see it through and do not get in his way. He was determined, strong-willed, and stubborn, but yet still very fragile. Sarcasm was the shield he used to protect his vulnerabilities, and he was good at it - he had incredible timing.
He was highly intelligent and enjoyed his blue collar life and blue collar friends. He was a machinist but not just any machinist, he was the "go-to" when all the others failed. Those extremely large hands of his were not only good with tools and engineering, they also could draw. My father was a gifted artist.
Daddy was outgoing but crudely blunt, I am not sure if he ever had a filter. People tended to be drawn to him but he also had an extremely private side about him. He needed his down time, his quiet time and what played out in his head during those times, well, we will never know.
My youngest son, Kyle, is so like my father that I am one of the very few who understand his ways and how to keep him from allowing his soft-hearted tendencies inside that vehicle of stubbornness/determination, from crashing and burning - I know this because I passed on those traits to my son, I am my Father's Daughter.
For every gift, there is a flaw. Balance. Unfortunately for my father health problems knocked him off balance. Heart attacks, cancer, and Rheumatoid Arthritis threw him into a depression where he attempted to self-medicate with alcohol. I don't have to tell you, you already know that didn't turn out well. This is why I mainly only drink socially and for the most part, keep it to one or two drinks. I never want to fall down the slippery slope I watched my father fall down.
Dad fell down that slope when life went off balance. I sometimes think that is because he had dreams and ambitions he never was able to reach towards. Dad was a family man. He married my mother and took on the responsibility of her three children from a previous marriage. A year later my parents had me. Daddy was too busy being responsible and didn't have time for reaching towards his dreams.
The other day while driving to work I thought of my father. I wondered about what he wished for his life, what regrets he carried. And then I thought of my youngest son, who is right now in Memphis and reaching towards his dreams and ambitions. My oldest son, Justin, is with him. Justin is there to support Kyle. Justin understands his brother..all the flaws and his gifts. Justin is a patient and gentle soul.
My drive to work takes just about 15 minutes down rural roads, farmland twisting into forests. It is a lovely ride and one which a mind can easily wander - Especially when that mind was tired from working too hard. During that drive, my life flashed in front of me. I've been blessed with having many good moments and also tragic moments I was able to survive. God laid at my feet, or rather in my lap, many experiences - ones I was able to use as a lesson while trying to do some good in the world. It is that trait of a soft heart encapsulated by an armored vehicle of stubbornness and determination. Having a choice is not an option when your DNA says otherwise. Believe me, I've tried to stay quiet and remove myself..it never works out well.
I found myself giggling during that drive to work. I've had just about every social cause/experience enter my life- the list is long: growing up in an alcoholic family; survivor of child sexual assault; medically fragile as a child; married an alcoholic; having a child with special needs; survivor of domestic abuse; divorce; survivor of sexual assault; parent to a LGBTQ child; poverty; single mom; parent to a gifted child; caretaker to an ailing parent; crime victim who dealt with a cold justice system....etc...etc...the list goes on and on..
No wonder I am tired - I've lived a full life, have done quite a bit and now here I am closing in on 50 years old, working hard to come home to an empty house. Of all the things I have ever dreamt about, that was never in the picture. Driving down that rural road all I could see was a fork in the road.
Is this mid-life crisis? or is it time to live your dreams?
Living your dreams require energy, lol. Right now my energy is non-existent, an immune system out of control has seen to that. Plus I've been working extremely hard at making a community paper survive. It was a challenge laid at my feet - remember that DNA? We take on the impossible, especially when there are people who say we would not succeed. I've conquered that challenge.
As I was seeing all of this play out in my head, I kept having the thought, "it is your time."
I could almost hear my father saying, "What are you, a fucking yahoo? It is your time!'
Like I've done for my children, he did his best for me. He'd want me to seek out those dreams and not have regrets. He knew I had a wandering soul. An explorer of life experiences. My artform is communication and understanding people, their cores. I do have projects I need to complete. They are not wants, they are needs. It is a matter of figuring out logistics and how to get from point A to B with what I have to work with.
I am heading into the chapter of Me whether I like the timing of it all or not. Glimpses of it started a few chapters back when I started walking the path of healing. I can say I am at the point now where I don't feel guilty putting me first. It has been a long time coming. I do have the worry that it may be a little late, but at least I am still breathing (haha) and I know that armored vehicle of stubbornness/determination is always with me....whether I want it there or not. Somehow I will see those projects through.
As for the dreams - well, I have simple one and that is to be around the people I call my family, the one my life experiences created. My boys in Memphis and my best friend (who is family to me) in Oregon. Summers on the northwest coast and winters down in the Delta.
The memories I have here in my house can be haunting, domestic violence does that. I do have some good memories of the boys and I, we always were able to find laughter, even during our darkest days. Yes, there has been good but those bad memories are imprinted in my mind -they are around every turn in this house. It wouldn't take much, if I could find a way to save/earn $25K-$30K...I'd give my house away to someone in need. Granted it is a fixer upper, but it would mean the world to someone and it is time this house carried on in memories of a positive start. I'd have enough to pay off all debt, get a car I can count on, and pocket change for me - eecking out a way to support myself will not be a problem...a lesson I learned backed in 2007, I can do it. That is what I tell myself every time I purchase a crossword challenge scratch-off lottery ticket. As of today, I am two dollars closer to my goal. :)
Yes, balance. I am in need of balance and I need it soon. If I don't actively work at finding it, what little filter I have left will be gone. That will not go well. I've held a lot in me over the last decade. Wrote off rumors ...cut off toxic people...and ignored the pain to move forward a step. It has made me stronger but that doesn't mean I didn't hurt. The largest challenge has been not to turn bitter. I guess on those days I am grateful for that armored vehicle of stubbornness/determination and my DNA.
I am not sure what purpose this post serves, other than perhaps a self-pep talk. Maybe someone out there will recognize something in it which relates to their life. Maybe they will have advice or maybe they will also need a pep talk.
And now from my fingertips to the skies above; No Daddy, I am not a fucking yahoo...I know it is my time!
My youngest son wrote this song about 8 months ago when he was still only 18 yrs old - I video taped him the first time he played it. His voice was shaky as it is a deeply emotional reflection of his life, his childhood. Imagine the tears rolling down my face as I listened and taped. He is a wise old soul...LIFE..it is what we make off it and there's no avoiding modern blues, it is how we grow.