Heartbreak Called Parenting

As a parent, there is nothing like the day you first meet your child.  Whether natural born, or adopted, there is nothing like it at all.  That ltitle person imprints their face on your heart and soul until the day you die.  The heartache comes when you face your failures.  

If you’ve never been a parent this is just one of those things you’ll have to empathize with.  There are no words in the human language that adequately describe the pain you go through when your child experiences pain or suffering of any kind.  It becomes, very literally, your own pain.  Even as much as your own scarlet letter of failure.  

You start to think…What did I do wrong?  What could I have done better?  Why didn’t I see?  And you begin questioning what kind of moron you were to think, at any time in that child’s life, you had this parenting thing pinned down. 

I have a good relationship with my children. We’re fairly honest with one another, even when the truth hurts. ..which it often does. 

But today, I lie here reflecting on all the hardships they are going through as they muddle through the path to adulthood.  I was fortunate enough that I could stay home with them until they went to school.  Unfortunate that most of that time was spent in a divorce and nasty child custody battle.  

I gained 50 lbs  (maybe more), developed severe anxiety, went through severe depression,  and then lost my grandmother,  father, and step father. All within 10 years.  I thought that at least being home giving up everything I had once longed and dreamed of was nothing because I was there 24/7 for my kids. 

But I was wrong.  

I was wrong because I taught them that I would always give up my hopes and dreams,  and that they should give up their hopes and dreams.  I was wrong because I didn’t have the extra income to put them sports, music classes, or other things to keep them away from idle hands and mischief.  I was wrong because in my depression they could see how “not to cope”. 

I didn’t think I did a horrible job.  I still don’t. The sacrifices weren’t in vain and we did have good times. I think I could have done better.  There’s no “do overs” with childhood. You have to face the next day, the next chapter, and keep it moving.  

You have to weather the blame for the shit you did wrong.  But you know what?  You cannot carry that forever. You have to live each day in the present.  The past isn’t coming back, and there’s no guarantee of tomorrow.  

What you do today is the foundation for any tomorrow you may be graced with. 

I remember these words when my child, who suffers from severe depression, says he wants to kill himself.  I remember them when another is so full of rage that he explodes until he thinks nothing matters anymore,  I remember them when another tries to make positive changes but can’t catch a break,  and I remember it when the youngest has to watch the older ones go through all these things and is afraid of making the same mistakes. 

Where is the light at the end if the tunnel?  A new generation is already here; grandkids.  They already say, “I’m going to be a better parent.” And I pray they are. I pray they can be, and have the strength it takes. I pray they can carry the guilt when they realize they did the best they could, and maybe it wasn’t good enough.  

The thing is…I wouldn’t trade it for anything. They’ve taught me more about myself than I could’ve learned alone. They’ve taught me that life is worth living when before it seemed numb and pointless. They’ve taught me that no matter how bad my memory gets, how many times I look for my glasses which are sitting on top of my head…I will never forget their smell, their smile, their hugs, and the way they felt inside my belly. 

Children are our immortality. They are the DNA that struggle to evolve. All we can do, as parents, is become the stars that look down on them and offer a little light and a dream or two. 

Roller Coaster Muse

I realized that it’s almost August and once more life caught up with me. Each time it does, I’m reminded of the Ferris Bueller quote, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Such is the life of an author turned publisher. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but that means sometimes my own projects take a back seat. If it weren’t so rewarding I would’ve thrown in the towel by now.

In the last six months, I’ve been involved with over 40 authors within my own company (Stitched Smile Publications, you can find the link here) and seen the growth of almost all of them since coming in contact with the company. It makes me feel proud. I’m doing something for other authors out there just trying to chase a dream that isn’t too far out of reach with a little guidance. We’re by no means making them millionaires, but we’re making them rich with experience and I’m OK with that.

As for me, I’m nearly finished with my next novel, “The Unfleshed”. I had hoped to have it out by the end of July but that crazy thing called “Life” is like a roller coaster with three wheels. It’s so close I can feel the pages in my hand. Thanks to Jeff Brown (A.K.A. A.J. Brown) pushing me, the story is even better than I originally thought it could be.

Other than that, I’ve dealt with my two younger siblings’ health issues. Both within a month of one another. Very scary, serious things that made me take a wider look at my life. I’m only 43. I have an entire life ahead of me if I take care of the one I have. I’ve always eaten right, usually pretty good about working out and staying active…but there are times when Life is just a hag and I can’t push through a day, a week, or even a month without some kind of thorn in my side.

I’m trying to juggle a few things, and while some people think I should not be doing that, those are the things that make me happy. I take care of everyone else, so it is my firm belief that there has to be things that make me happy, too.

I design book covers for Indie Authors while looking for that golden ticket to the big house names (of course, that’s where the real money is), I started my own publishing house and it’s growing by the day, I write, and sometimes I even sit around and do nothing just to clear the cache from my brain. It doesn’t leave much else after my daily duties are done but it’s my little slice of heaven.

You see, I do this because I Love it. Not for the money or the fame. If you’re doing anything for those reasons, you’ll find out on your own how empty that really is. I’m lucky that my personality is such that I’ll never do anything I don’t love whether it’s accounting, working out, filling out spreadsheets, meeting new authors, formatting books, orientations for new hires, etc. Everything I do, I have to love or I’ll move on. I won’t waste mine or anyone else’s time, and most people appreciate that. (Admittedly, there’s been some that would rather push me through things that I don’t enjoy. It never works out in the end.)

The point to all of this is, I suppose, is that I sit back and wonder where the heck all the time has gone. I wanted a relaxing summer by the pool, soaking up rays. I think I’ve gone a total of 4x since the end of May and it’s already August! The pools are starting to wind down and close for the winter (although, hello? I live in Texas! Why are they closed???)

It’s August. And I’m panicked.

Did I accomplish everything I wanted with my writing?
With my Pub House?
With my Family?
With my Book Design Goals?
With my Friends?
With my Personal Development?

Ugh. Someone stop this crazy ride. Just for a minute so I can throw up on the side of the car and get back on.

I keep taking a slow deep breath and whispering, “I can do this.” I know I can do this. I know it because I won’t allow myself to fail. I won’t allow anyone else who sits in the roller coaster with me to fail either.

So here I sit, staring at the horizon of this big, crazy world from the top of the ride. Around me is everything. I can see it. From here it’s small and attainable. Do you know what they call this in Physics? “Maximum Potential.” And every three months or so, I start back at this point. It doesn’t matter what you end the first ride at, the point is that you get back in line and you start here, at the Maximum Potential, again.

Then you ride that first loop! The thrill, the excitement, the confusion…all of it tossing you around as you watch the world whirl by you with your stomach in your throat and your hands in the air!

You take a deep breath, wipe away the tears of exhilaration and pass through the bottom of that loop: Maximum Kinetic energy. Kinetic Energy:  the energy that it possesses due to its motion.

Stop.
Re-Read that.

“The energy that is possesses due to it’s motion.”

Are you busy looking back? Shoulda’, woulda’, coulda’? Or are your eyes on the next turn and twist of the ride? Are you going to be taken off guard? Are your eyes closed? What’s coming next and are you ready for it?

Each loop of a roller coaster is slightly less exciting than those first two. Sure there are a few surprises, but as the car moves, it loses energy so that it can coming to a stopping point without catapulting you out into the stratosphere. A stopping point is a good thing. Because it let’s you catch your breath, re-assess, and redirect where necessary.

Like now. I’m reflecting on my year. What was great, and what was not-so-great, so that I can aim for the future…remember that first gaze at the world from the beginning of the roller coaster? What was it that caught your eye? Do you still want it?

You see that’s where most people get caught up. They see the shiny in the distance, they reach for it but there’s no plan for after they’ve either acquired it …or missed it. There’s no plan for whether it was really what they thought it was going to be upon closer inspection. The ride may have ended there for you and there is no desire to go for another round. You’ve lost steam and “energy” because you burned it off and there’s nothing left.

My life is definitely a roller coaster and I choose to change the ride, not the scenery. What does yours look like? Do you get back in line? What is it you see when you’re at the top, at the beginning, and reaching out?

Now That I Have Your Attention

That title always seems to draw people in.  It’s like a magnet. The piper leading the parade.  For some reason we all want to know, what is it that should hold your attention?  

Well duh! A new book! 

It’s already been on Amazon’s top 100! Congrats to everyone else featured, especially those debuting. 

A special thank you to the fans, and stalkers that boosted traffic, enabling the site to hit the top of the search engines, so others could see and buy my books.  It’s been a great week!  You guys rock! 

Minions (Open Call to Twitter Thug)

If you’re reading this thinking there’s going to be something about falling in love with a young thug, you’re going to be disappointed.

This message is really me venting. I know, I know. Most of my posts are. But well…it’s my blog and it’s best that I get it out. I find most times, I’m saying what a lot of people are thinking and not in harmful “Trump-ette” way.

This post is for the Trolls. Oh…my beautiful internet thugs. You truly are a thing of imaginary beauty. You go around in packs when one troll can’t handle the heat alone. You’re like minions. Sad. Lonely. Hateful. Tiny. Pond Scum minions. Did I mention sad?

Oh you amuse me, I’ll give you that. But honestly? Having been a young troll once, in another lifetime, and having grown up and moved on and found self-esteem, I no longer need that herd of trolls to feel confident in my opinion. And I don’t need to be an internet bully who stoops to the level of personal insults just to escalate my opinion or insult.

No, that’s your game. You poke at weaknesses as if it empowers you and you have no idea that it really exposes you. It tells me exactly what you’re scared of in yourself. Oh it’s true, and a proven number of studies to back me up.

But my message really comes from a personal level today. And it comes with a warning.

No, a promise.

Someone found it “OK” to post my address on Twitter, and talk about doing harm to someone in my house.

I’m sorry but now this issue is public and it will go global. Because that’s who *I* am. And you’re messing with the wrong people. See your herd may be big…but mine is bigger and they’re more fierce. If you come at me or my family in a way that harms us or my property? I will be sure that your information goes everywhere. I mean everywhere. News, hackers, darknet, police. Every.where.

Because that’s who my followers are. And they hate people like YOU. The talk-big-make-idle-threats-egolacking-peniscompensating-lowlife-who thinks I’m scared of you.

I suggest you stop and back up. Very slowly. Because I’m not playing games with you. Turn around, tuck your tail like good little boys and I’ll forgive your lapse in judgement this one time. But I must warn you. My memory is fading fast in my old age and if you persist, I may forget that you’re young and stupid.

If you persist. I will post photos, address, phone numbers, and more so that you can feel what it’s like to have to look over your shoulder.

TwitterThugLuv

Yeah. I called you out. Because you have to use Twitter Threats to boost your ego. 😦

PS. I hope that “9” is registered!

 

Lives Matter: Make the Media Accountable

This is a touchy subject. There is violence being escalated and people being manipulated.

Open your eyes. I don’t care about the heat I’ll take for this post. The violence has to stop.

Violence is not a new phenomenon. We’ve waged war on our brothers and sisters since the dawn of time. From the time of Mayans, from the time of first civilizations, even the bible speaks of Cain killing his own brother.

What has changed is media.

What has changed is sensationalism.

What has changed is impressionable minds being bombarded with images manipulated by media for ratings. And you know what? You’re all buying it.

Celebrities that can barely maintain their own lives are looking down from their golden towers to speak on it. Forgive me, but you are privileged. Don’t speak about struggles you no longer know about. Go back to your destination vacations, and your tweeting. Go back to your new relationship and break up songs. Stay out of the “real world” where tragedy strikes our neighbors, our family and our friends. You may have come from this but now you’re in your 1% life and you’re doing nothing to protect us. So please, just stop acting like your “powerful speeches” are helping.

If you want to help, step out of your huge house with security cameras and gates and walk among the children that live with this violence every.single.day. Sit with a child that has to lie on the floor to watch television after the sun goes down to avoid stray bullets. Sit with the young girl that has to deal with sexual violence from the hands of the demons sitting outside her door. Sit with the young boys that have dreams of being doctors and lawyers but get their asses beat until they join a gang, and ruin their chances of a bright future.

I am sick of the media showing the evil acts without delivering footage celebrating the police officers that hit the street every night, comforting victims of domestic abuse, giving homeless people their own lunches and their own money, and buying groceries for families with nothing to eat with hungry babies.

Do you know why they don’t show these stories? Because the officers don’t brag about it. This is why they signed up for the job. Not to gun down your sons, brothers, uncles, and fathers.

Aim the anger at the media who deliver the propaganda while you sit there with your pupils dilating against the blue glow of your boob tube, soaking in the grim world of fear. Blame it on the government officials you voted for (or didn’t… because you didn’t vote), sitting on capital hill with silk purses.

Blame the neighborhood families that raised kids to believe that there’s nothing in life for them but drugs, violence, and a life of crime.

Blame yourself for not being a mentor to a child who you know needs you. Yeah, that kid sitting at home with an abusive parent, an empty home, a neglectful parent, etc. You see them. Stop looking away!

Look into the mirror! You do have the power. WE have the power. Turn off your television set. Read a book and talk to each other. You sit in your house and avoid your neighbors, you sneer at the man or woman that lives beside you…you’re self absorbed!

How many of you put your hand on the shoulder of a troubled teen and offer to give them something other than talking down to them? How many of you stand up for that kid in the store whose mother or father think it’s okay to call them “dumbass”, “bad”, “little shit”. (there’s a video of a woman that heard this from another woman and stood up to her. she’s my new hero.)

The people to blame are the ones who believe that uplifting your children and guiding them to be accomplished is a “bullshit” dream. Listen, anything is possible. It takes hard work and dedication. It takes support. It takes a community. If you’re not voting, you’re complacent. If you’re voting without looking at track records, you’re complacent. VOTERS rule this government and we’ve allowed them to put us in pens like cattle. CHANGE your laws. Stop suing for any little thing that goes wrong — “my coffee was too hot” — REALLY? Stay home and brew it, it takes 5 mins!! It takes more time for you to sit in that line and wait for someone else to do it and you’re paying them!

What’s wrong with this society today is us.

You can’t speak up without some kind of hate coming at you.

I speak up in support of those that are victims of crime and I’m told I “don’t understand”. I speak about personal experience and emotions, “You’re making it all about you.” I’m done hearing more negativity. It doesn’t matter if what I say is the “root of the problem” the fact is, there is a problem! So stop aiming your anger toward those that want to help. Start recruiting them to be a part of the solution.

The problem isn’t “all whites”, the problem is that you’ve allowed races to be divided. You’ve put all your faith in the television and not your God, your spiritual health, or your conscience.

Here’s some real truth for you. People will hurt you. Intentionally and unintentionally. At some point, you have to stop putting a label on their race. At some point you have to come to the realization that it’s a problem with that individual not a race, or group of people as a whole.

You know why racism won’t stop? Because you are all feeding the fire. Getting riled up like sheep to actually take another person’s life? Really? You’re that low on the IQ scale, you want to take another person’s life and become a murderer because some person in another state has no soul, no conscience?

You’re angry. I get it. I’m angry too! I’m angry because no matter what side of the fence you stand on, you’re told you’re wrong. I’m angry because it’s impossible to make people see that if someone doesn’t understand you have to speak up. Do you listen when someone’s screaming in your face? Or do you go into defensive/fighting mode. I’m angry because I have four sons and have feared for their lives since 1991… so you’re damn right I understand what it’s like to be oppressed.

My kids have been jumped for NOT being black, have been bullied, have been threatened, and have had to live with the SAME prejudice but from a different perspective. I’m a mother! What makes your love for your son any more profound than mine? And guess what? I’m not blaming “all blacks” or “all Mexicans” or “all (insert race here)”. I’m blaming social status, the government, and lazy ass parents.

Yes, LAZY.

You want to sit around all day and talk about how life is unfair. Get off your ass and play BALL outside with your kids.

You want to talk about how you can’t find a job. Get off your ASS and turn off the TV, the Video Games and read with your kids.

You want to talk about how you are looked at differently. Well maybe they’re not looking at your skin color. Maybe… stick with me for a minute… just maybe they’re looking at your jeans around your thighs, your boxers bunched up around your waste, your attitude walking in, and the vibe you give off. Still with me? Cuz I didn’t say any race in that statement. I said appearance. I walk around looking like Morticia. I do it cuz I want to. Hey! Here’s something fascinating…I know I’ll be looked at a certain way. I expect it because I choose to be different! YAY! I pass the IQ Test. You want to dress unconventionally, then expect people to gawk.

If you’re walking down the street and a Pitbull walks around the corner, are you not going to pause, maybe run, but definitely be at a heightened state of anxiety and fear? Why? The dog may be perfectly trained and friendly? The answer is because of it’s appearance. It looks intimidating. The answer is because the media has perpetrated these animals as dangerous. The answer is because someone mistreated these animals and paid the price with a malicious attack.

Now, let me take a minute because I know someone, somewhere is going to get their hackles raised because they’ll say I’m comparing people to animals.

*smirks*

Aren’t people acting like animals right now?

Let’s continue. In Mississippi, in the 1950’s when races were divided, against all natural instinct of self-preservation, other races linked arms with fellow human beings and lost their lives. They were severely beaten down to protect another human being who was being threatened.

Are we slipping back in time? No, this is worse!  We knew what happened back then and we continued to allow ourselves to be oppressed. WE, not you, or they, or “those people”. WE are slaves to the media. 

GET OUT YOUR EMAILS and email the news. Email them with GOOD NEWS around your community. Email them with your DEMAND that they report REAL news about REAL people in POSITIVE ways. Ways that ENCOURAGE our children, ways that OBLITERATE negativity. Ways that PROVIDE us with a BRIGHTER future. TURN OFF THE TELEVISION when they report biased, prejudicial content.

Am I faultless? No. But I vow to change that right now. I’m a writer for crying out loud. I’m going to use the media, the internet, and my power to make a change.

What are YOU GOING TO DO?