7 Years….

Tomorrow at 12:35 pm, will mark 7 years since my life forever changed.

It came silently. It crept in. I knew it was coming yet I wasn’t prepared. I was sitting right there in a chair beside his hospital bed and it crept right in and took him from my life, at least in a physical sense.

Death crept in and took him, 7 years ago tomorrow.

This time of year is always hard for me. It is when I tend to become more reflective.

7 years, 84 months, 2,555 days, 61,320 hours, 3,679,200 minutes and 220,752,000 seconds. Yes, I did the math. That is a great number of heartbeats and breaths.

Then, I was 43; now I am 50. Am I wiser? That’s a good question.

There has been a great deal of learning in that time. Learning how to take those first steps, learning how to keep walking (even on days when I didn’t want to), learning how to survive on my own, learning what I enjoy, learning to love again, learning how to live again.

Part of learning is making mistakes  but taking a lesson away from the experience (I have probably more of those in the past year than I my life) but I learned to be better.

I will get through tomorrow, just as I have the past 7 years.

I can’t help but wonder if he would be proud of the woman I have become.

I don’t have the answer to that… maybe some day I will be proud enough of myself for both of us.

Advertisements

When You Open Up to Someone…

Scammers newest way to get to you is Instagram. Not that it is the fault of this social media presence. It is just their (the scammers)  latest way to get to you.

Due to some of my business ventures, my account is open. I will not identify it here or anywhere else for that matter.

Anyone can message me. One such person did.

I will admit he was good but I thought I was smarter. I didn’t tell him where I was. I did tell him what I did for a living. He had access to my photos. I post pics of myself on the site often. It is easy enough to screen shot them and you have my pic.

Those will be coming down. When I switched it from a private to publicly viewed account, I took down any pics of my littles or any one else. Trying to think smart.

I never put on there where I live.

Tried to do everything the smart way.

You never know when you could meet someone great. Not so much in this case.

Like I said the dude that started talking to me seemed legit. We were friendly but never went too far. He never used foul language. Never asked me for anything. Just chatted about our days. I would say we became friends to a degree.

He made some big promises that were yellow flags. Be wise. Be careful, but there was nothing that screamed that this will be a problem. There wasn’t some of the things you know to look for. Everything seemed fine. I even looked up the town he said he was from.

He was supposed to be leaving the country on business. He asked me to join googlehangouts. Once again not blaming them. This is all on me for being naive.

When I asked why, he said he wanted to have two ways to contact me. Okay, I join. I joined with the address I used to use for this blog. That has now been changed. So there is no connection to this blog.

Things were going well for a while until he asked me for money.

I honestly told him I could not help him. I was being honest. I can’t. It wasn’t an excuse. I am trying to get two businesses off the ground. I have no income to spare and I don’t know him that well.

He became more intrusive and forceful. Down to the point that he asked where I do my banking. That was the step over the line.  I at that point had to make some changes.

I created a new email account.

I deleted the old one.

I blocked him from instagram.

I spoke to local law enforcement just in case there is someway he can find me.

I have done all I can. It hopefully over. We’ll see.

Because of one persons need to prey on the innocent, I had to change my life. Is this fair? No. Is this the world we live in now? Yes. Could I have been smarter? Yes. Will I talk to a stranger again? Probably not.

To quote Alanis Morisette…. You LEARN, sometimes the hard way.

So in closing, this is just a reminder to not only you but to myself, be brave but be safe and smart at the same time. Talks are great, invasion of privacy is not.

The Confessional….

In my office, I am the Mama Hen. I work with 6 guys. I am older than all of them. Much older.

I send these guys into harms way on a nightly basis. They depend on me to get them the information they need to be safe. I am a 911 dispatcher.

I worry about “my boys”. If they have to be out on a call that is difficult, if they have to travel on bad roads, I worry about them. My job is to make sure they home to their families safely.

Now,  guys will rag on each other. They compare muscles and daring feats they have performed. They are dudes. When they speak to me though it is different. I can hold my own with them and I get in a good shot every now and then. It catches them by surprises from time to time but over all they are getting used to when I get cranked up, I can give them grief.

As a collective group they are a rowdy group of oversized boys.

When they wander into the office individually, that is when I know they want to talk about something a little deeper.

It may be their marriage, their kids, their spouses sickness and this was just last night.

They know that they can talk to me and I will be honest. I will listen sometimes giving advice, sometimes just being a sounding board.

Last night, the one I have know longest. The leader of the pack, came in and talked to me. His wife is sick and they are having trouble getting her built back up and it has come to the place where he is worried.

Been there and done that. You need to talk to someone who has been in a similar situation. It is getting to the place where it is scary for him and he is a tough guy. He has seriously been through some stuff.

I asked how he was dealing with his stress. He has to be on top of his game mentally and physically. He told me that he works out.

Being a walker for several  years and not much more of  a workout I asked him some questions. He is building muscle. I am trying to lose fat and not get saggy. Pushing fifty and being over weight all my teen and adult life. I have to be careful.

We talked about our gym at work, which is good enough for me but doesn’t have the equipment he wants. He told me some things that might help me. He told me which machines to use at the gym.

He talked about what he lifts when he goes to work out and how he encourages the new guys who come in. He even went so far as to tell me that he doesn’t lift heavy in front of new guys because it could discourage him.

I told him that being fat, I didn’t want to go to the gym. He asked me why. I said you are a dude. You aren’t going to judge the new guy coming into the gym. Women are catty. They are going to totally just the size of your ass; how quickly you get winded; if you can’t do it right the first time. They are going to judge you.

He looked at me straight in the eye and said, everybody starts at the same place. The bottom. I didn’t go in lifting what I do now. I used to be embarrassed when I would see other guys lifting triple what I did. It has taken me three years to get to this point.

They he said the thing that really gave me a shot in the arm. He said “And further more, I don’t see you giving a damn”. After he left the office, I thought about what he had said. Why do I give a damn. I am not doing it for them, I am not doing it for vanity sake. I am doing it for my health. I need to get some issues under control and if someone doesn’t like it, oh well.

I think I will go check it out. I may or may not go until warm weather when I can get out and walk more. I would rather be out in nature anyway.

This time, the confessional was meant for me to reveal my insecurities and maybe for my healing.

 

Trying a Different Approach…

There are situations in life that have you stumped . I have several of those at the moment. One in particular will be the focus of this post.

I deal nightly with someone who is so very angry. They have deeper issues than I wish to go into here.

They often ask for services that we do not provide and see it as a personal attack. It isn’t, we try to appease them but it seems to back fire. When we ask questions we are required to ask we get yelled at and cursed.

I want to be kind and I try but they have the ability to speak to you like you are an underling. Last night they snarkily referred to me as “Humble Servant”, then proceeded to yell at me.

When approached with that much hostility, everybody tends to have a negative response but I have been praying about this.

I let them  have their rant and never spoke. When they  finished, my response was okay. No argument,  no point in that. I did not try to reason. They are not in a place a place in their life where they can not be reasoned with. Perception is reality.

During the second call of the night, they yelled at me,  they accused me of not doing my job and wanted some information. I looked up the information on the web and gave it to them. I didn’t tell them that it would not be helpful, not my place. I did so calmly, I did not get flustered, in an even voice I read off the information on the screen.

When they heard the tone, their whole attitude changed. They explained that it had been a rough time for them. I sat there and I let them talk. See they just want someone to listen.

I never offered advice, not in my scope of duties to do so.

Something occurred to me as well I was talking to them, they are angry at life and the people who sit in my chair are easy targets. Someone is there 24/7. It is easy for people to blame us for their pain.

I know what pain feels like, I never  took it out on others, I punished myself until I learned to cope with it and then learned to love myself just for who I am.

It is how you see the world. Some people see pain as an attack, some see it as a chance to grow because it is as complex and as simple as I said before perception is reality.

Still I Rise; A Phenomenal Woman

I love poetry. It is one of my favorite forms of literature and spoken word.

It is always breathtaking to me to hear a poet read their own words. To hear the inflection the use and the words they stress as they try you to understand the meaning behind their work.

One of my favorite poets would have to be Dr. Maya Angelou.

The two poems in the title of this post are two of my favorites. They inspire me to be a better woman.

Phenomenal woman speaks to all women. It speaks to the power you possess and how you should carry yourself as to exhibit that power.

If you look up the word phenomenal it means: remarkable, exceptional, extraordinary, incredible, unbelievable and stunning.

That is powerful if you change phenomenal with any of those words yet, phenomenal encompasses them all.

I shall rise speaks to humans as a whole both men and women. It talks about the resiliency of the human spirit and now matter how low we get we can rise. The part that speaks to my soul in this piece is the part about the long night and in the morning we look at people and say I’m fine. We all do it. Even if we’re not, we say we’re fine. That is actually a running joke in my family, no matter what, we are always fine.

Dr Angelou and I are very different. I am light skinned, she was dark skinned. She was a college professor, poet, activist, pulitizer prize and Grammy winner, she received the Presidental medal of freedom. I am a high school graduate with a degree in the school of life. I have an important job for my community but I never achieve any of the honors she did.

She was phenomenal in her way and I like to think that I am in mine. I got the chance to speak with her once on the telephone when I worked as a librarian. I was asking her for a copy of one of her poems to give away at a Black History program. When the package arrived, there were two poems. One to give away and one for me.

No one knows until now that I have it. It is safely tucked away.

I was in a Barnes and Noble in the same city she was in the day she transitioned from this life. I had gotten me a cup of coffee and was sitting there when I heard the news. I cried, a friend had left. As I sat there wiping my tears, all I could think was the caged bird was free and oh what a song she must be singing.

Writing Prompt: When you were taught a lesson by a child….

I had a job where I worked around children for 13 years. Never having any offspring of my own, this filled a void in my life; the biggest lesson I was taught by a child was from my littlest little at the time.

At a point when my life changed completely, she was only six months old. As a matter of fact, the  day she was born we were having a cancer treatment and my late husband wanted to make sure that he would not harm her if he went to see her.

He passed away before she was old enough to know him. She doesn’t fully understand that I was once married.

I would follow her as she grew and began crawling, then walking, then running.

I was taking life the same way she was. Learning my way around at first crawling if I needed to. As she was learning to stand on wobbly legs, I was doing so emotionally. She quickly became her own little, quirky personality.

I think I admire that part about her as much as anything. When she has an entire conversation with no one on a cell phone with no service or plays with a computer keyboard saying she can run the world from right there, it gives me an insight into imagination.

She has taught me a great deal and when I am around, I am the chosen playmate. This is because when she lets her imagination run wild, I go right along with her.

Last year for Christmas, when she was 6, I gave her the little point and shoot camera  I bought the day she was born, just to take photos of her. For about a month, her entire family fussed at me because she was blinding them taking pictures. She took it with her to the grocery store one day and actually got some amazing photos.

When she shoots with my big camera, she will take one shot and say It’s good. I’ll say well let me check it. She will say why? It’s good and it always is. Now that is confidence.  She is fearless.

She will from time to time pull out the note that I put in with her camera and show me that she still has it.

She loves to collect rocks. She keeps her collection outside beside the porch but I always try to get her a rock if I go someplace new.

You see although not in chronological years, in many ways we are about the same age and she  taught me how to start over.

A Letter to My Teenage Self….

Dear Younger Me,

I know how you see yourself today.  You don’t see any pride or value in yourself. You see yourself as fat and ugly. You let the words of others make you cry. You feel like you will never be loved for who you are.

You do just enough in school because you don’t want to stand out or be noticed. You are much smarter than you let on. You just don’t like to be compared to your pretty, smart, athletic sister but you don’t have a name, you are just her little sister.

You don’t feel pretty, you are smart but about different subjects than she. You like math and history. You enjoy singing and poetry, yet you never let anyone see that side of you.

You are not athletic, although you tried. You are better at band and flagcorp. You’ve found your teen tribe with the band geeks. Some of them will be your friends all your life.

You will find love, more than once,  there will be a day a day when you can tell the boys that made you cry how bad it made you feel. Some of them will tell you that they messed up. Be kinder to them than they were to you.

You will not always be as big as you are now. Life will hand you struggles and you will hand them right back coming out better for it.

You will encounter pain and grief that at the time will seem unbearable. You will struggle with this and continue to move forward, just remember that forward is forward no matter how slow you go.

You will find out you are a great deal more creative than you think. You will surprise yourself with some things you will learn and become passionate about.

If I can leave you with a shining spotlight on what you have to look forward to it will be this…..

You will be loved and desired. Enjoy the intimate moments physically, mentally and emotionally. Be present for all those moments.

There will be a computer age that is laying right at the front door, embrace it, learn everything you can, you will use those things the rest of your life. They are not all bad though you will find out they can be used for good or evil.

You will not be the mousy girl with the loud laugh all your life , okay you will still have a loud laugh but although it will take it a bit of time you will find that backbone and you will find out that making yourself miserable while keeping everyone happy is no way to live.

Oh yeah, one more thing…. quit crossing your arms. You have big boobs, get over hiding them, not everyone is put off by that, some people actually enjoy those things. Just sayin’.

Now go live a life you will be proud of. Sprinkle glitter and sunshine everywhere you go, the my girl will be your legacy.

With more love than you will ever know,

The 49 year old you