survivingmiddleage

the ups and downs of life

Happiness

Happiness…quite elusive. It’s funny how we can get in the way of our own happiness, though. We allow others to tell us what is right or wrong. We allow others’ judgement to deter us from pursuing what would make us happy. The stigma of opinions makes us hold back. We end up making ourselves miserable.

It’s funny because at times we actually know exactly what will make us happy. We just refuse to do the thing it takes to get there. I wonder at times if it is just fear or if it is the fact that we are used to being miserable so we stay stuck in the misery because it is a known.

I know that I am tired of being unhappy. I am extremely tired. I have begun weeding out the people in my life that bring unhappiness. I don’t need that negativity in my life and, therefore, they can go make someone else unhappy or sit alone in their unhappiness. I have had enough.

I am also working harder to do things I actually enjoy. For too long I felt I didn’t deserve time to do the things I loved. I do deserve those little things. I have also begun trying to spend more time with the people I care about the most. If I spend time with someone willingly, I really care. I want to be with them. I used to just do whatever others dragged me along to do and I don’t do that anymore. I now purposefully spend time with people I truly care about.

I also do not allow myself to be stuck in situations that I hate. I have been in workplace situations I hated and stayed too long. They drained me and made me feel miserable.

I stayed in relationships that made me miserable and a couple that were abusive because I believed in “love” and all that. Real love doesn’t hurt you. I refuse to stay in a situation anymore that causes me to feel inadequate, full of pain and self-loathing. I won’t do that anymore. I don’t believe that is what my life was designed for and I don’t feel I am my best self when I am living in that environment.

I may not be where I want to be in life, but I am working at getting there. I am a work in progress and hopefully I will get there.

Grief: Another Anniversary

June 10th, 2020 marks the 24th anniversary of my mother’s death. That may seem insignificant to some. It’s a big deal to me. She’s been gone almost half my life, which is in itself huge. I am 49, which is the same age she was when she passed. I have been holding my breath for the last year as this day approaches.

Some people have no idea why this day terrifies me. For one, I’m the exact same age. To the day. She and I shared a birthday. I want to see June 11th. I have that little nagging voice in my head reminding me of the upcoming doomsday of her death.

The loss of my mother impacted my life deeply. There were so many things left unsaid and undone. While we knew we loved each other beyond any kind of measure, there was also those things we needed to work out that was never possible. Those little hurts and things that you wonder about and question. The ones that mold you into who you are as a person. Sometimes you are angry over things that may seem trivial, but generally in life you get to have that little petty argument and move on. I can’t stay mad at a dead woman. I have had some insecurities that I couldn’t seem to let go of because I couldn’t have those conversations to move forward. I didn’t love her any less; I just wanted to finish the conversations.

And when you feel abandoned, you feel lost. For me it was a long time. That was why I stayed gone from my hometown so long. I needed to heal from a lot of things. I also fell in love with a city that itself didn’t love me but I was fortunate enough to meet some wonderful people along the way.

Losing Mama was like truly losing a piece of my soul. She was a piece of me that I couldn’t explain. While we had our ups and downs, thankfully there were more ups. And there was love. She didn’t always get things right. I mean, she pushed me to marry the man I ultimately divorced…way to go, Mama. LOL But there was no malice. She only saw love in him and I should have trusted my heart more.

As I get closer to the anniversary, I hope I don’t hear, “I don’t know what I would do without my mother.” That single sentence bothers me. I know it isn’t meant to be irritating, but it is. It’s actually meant to be a compliment. It’s not. It almost feels condescending. It feels like a judgement. “Oh my God! You’re one of those dead mother people! How bizarre!” Actually, I’m really bizarre because I am a dead mother and dead father person so it gets worse, honey.

But to answer your statement, what you do when you lose a parent is move on and live. How? The best you can. For me, I barely functioned for a while because losing both my parents within the span of a year finally got me. It wiped out my entire immediate family. I had no one else. And it hurt like crazy and for a while I wanted to die, too. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and die. Obviously 24 years later I am still here and I hope to be here a while longer. So you do the best you can through each and every day to survive. And suddenly you are living again. And you’ll feel guilty at times because you’re laughing and they’ll never laugh again. But depending on your beliefs on the afterlife, maybe they already are.

Not one day goes by without her in my thoughts. Not one. I miss her. I miss the piece of myself she took with her. I miss having family.

Cherish your family while you have them. It isn’t easy realizing you haven’t spoken to your mother for half your life because she is gone.

Don’t Simplify A Complex Problem

The death of George Floyd is beyond tragic. It is also an overly complex problem that many people want to simplify. So many want to say it isn’t a racial issue. So many want to say it is an issue of a bad cop. Maybe one or both of those statements are true. But the issue goes so much deeper than that for a large percentage of Americans. People of color (POC) get to see on tv, video, Facebook and other sources their sons, brothers, fathers and uncles being murdered in the streets. Literally murdered in the streets. Over and over.

When you watch the injustice and oppression of your people time and time again, you get angry. You become bitter. The Civil Rights Movement was almost 60 years ago. While some things have changed, many have not. And until we recognize that and act, we are perpetuating the problem.

You can give lip service to the fact that “I’m not a racist. I have black friends.” But ask yourself, “When have you stood up for that black friend? When have you said enough is enough?” When have you tried to look at the situation from the other side? It’s easy to look at it from a one-dimensional view. They rioted. Damn right they did! It took 96 hours to arrest a man that we saw murder another man. I was outraged. Imagine living as POC in that city that has already shown such animosity towards you and waiting for justice. And waiting. And nothing happened for 96 hours. Nothing happened until the rioting began. Their voices weren’t heard until they became so enraged that they couldn’t take the injustice any longer and began tearing things apart.

So many want to talk about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and peaceful assemblies. I agree that those work in many situations. But to be honest, I don’t know that this was one of those. No one seemed to be listening. And one thing Dr. King also said was, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” These people weren’t heard, and the riot was the result of that.

I don’t agree with looting. At all. That was just a way to profit from a horrific situation. And you can’t blame that on just black people. I saw pictures of white people doing it as well. If they caught people looting, they should be arrested and charged for theft.

So, before you say how much you’re not a racist and such and how horrible these people were to tear their city apart, think to times of your own anger. Have you ever thrown anything in anger? Anything? Broken a glass? Imagine that on such a larger scale. So much larger. Imagine fearing for your life daily. Imagine fearing for your family’s lives daily. And imagine the fear and anger you would feel seeing your people murdered in the street or even in a place of worship without any real signs of change or real justice. You would be hurt and angry. You would want to break any and everything you could get your hands on. You would want others to hurt as you do.

So instead of standing in judgement, why not stand together? That is the only way to make effective change.

Motherless Daughters

As a motherless daughter, this weekend hurts. Many people think I should be over it since it happened so long ago. I’m not. If you loved your mother and had a good one, you can’t just get over such a tremendous loss.

It’s been 24 years since I lost my Mama. I’m 49. So basically half my life I have been without her. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her.

I don’t cry every day anymore. And I can talk about her sometimes without crying. But not this weekend. This weekend is a painful reminder that she’s not her. And I miss her.

The good thing about my mother is that I have pieces of her within me. My sense of humor is completely her. My sense of taking care of others is her. My sensitive heart is her. But there are pieces of me that she took with her. There are holes in my heart that are empty and raw at times.

My Mother’s Day will be spent with my 2 cats. I don’t have kids and so I will love on the babies I do have.

If you are lucky enough to have your mother, love her while you can. Don’t leave things unsaid. Don’t miss opportunities for memories.

To any other motherless daughters, I know it hurts. I am so sorry you’re in this horrible club. It’s not a place any of us want to be. I’ll be thinking about you all weekend and sending thoughts and prayers and love.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Attitude: Essential v Non-Essential

Over the last few weeks I have seen what seems like elitism among workers in the United States. It’s great to feel important. We all want to feel that way. But when you use that, in any form or fashion, to make others feel bad, you need to check your attitude. I don’t care if you’re a CEO, accountant, factory worker, office worker or janitor. If you have a bad attitude, you’re a jerk.

I have seen posts online from people who are deemed essential talking down to others who they don’t know or who they know to be non-essential. They let them know how they’re important and that obviously the other person wasn’t considered important enough to continue to work.

First, if you get off talking to people that way, you really need to look inside yourself to see why you feel so bad about yourself. Obviously you have felt inferior and suddenly have some newfound sense of power. And you also obviously have no idea of how to handle this imagined power.

Secondly, do you realize that you speaking down to someone makes you look spiteful? Maybe you have been this kind person all your life. Or maybe you have thought you were kind. But suddenly these hateful words are spewing from your mouth or fingertips as you carelessly type them out.

Third, when you pontificate on how essential you are, you forget that unless you own the business, you are just a worker. Just like the rest of the employees of the world. We all play a role in life. (Read that again.)

Most of us are truly grateful for essential employees. Most of us wish essential employees received more than they’re getting. Personally, though, when I hear or see the hateful comments, I really don’t think much of these people. If I know them personally, I wonder if I ever knew them at all. I wonder how they became so malicious.

I have thanked each and every essential worker I have encountered. I want them to know how much I have appreciated their hard work. I know they have worked hard in whatever capacity their job is.

I had been classified as non-essential and was told I needed to stay home. I stayed home, as directed. It didn’t feel good to do that. I am someone who has worked since I was 13 years old. So to go home was disheartening. And then to see people ripping into others and myself because we were home was not only painful but it also angered me.

I work hard. I have always work hard. And for someone to try to diminish who I am and what I do is just a slap in the face. I’m no longer hurt by it. Now I am just angry that people can be so vile and vicious. Especially when they’re no better than anyone else.

If any of this resonates with you, consider your behavior. If you have acted negatively toward someone, maybe you should apologize or at the very least change your behavior.

This pandemic is something new to everyone and we should all be in the same boat. If you are trying to sink my boat, please remove yourself. Life is tough enough as it is. I don’t need someone trying to fill my boat with water. I need someone scooping that water out with me as fast as they can.

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