All posts by sommspirational

Mom of two, dog owner, cat lover and wanna be writer.

Keep Going & You’ll Be Dead Soon

“If you keep going, you will be dead soon.”

Not words you would like to hear doing eighty-five miles per hour on a busy interstate. Or for that matter, any time, but there they were. Loud and clear.

I learned a long time ago (say, 20+ years ago after playing bumper cars with real cars) when The Voice speaks–I listen. “Don’t…” and I don’t. “Go…” and I go. I will do a cartwheel in the middle of Target if told to do so. So to hear I will be dead sooner rather than later because of stress, my ears perked up and I took my foot off the gas (literally).

We are not bottomless pits. We cannot take and take and take. Our wine skins eventually will pop. But we certainly live like we are bottomless. We take on projects and make promises we kill ourselves to fulfill. We soak in all types of information and believe we can process it. If we continue to stack it and pack it in, we will most definitely burst.

Our bursting comes in the form of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and on and on. For some, it is a slow burn (little diabetes here, little hypertension there) but for others, it is a drop dead in the middle of Wal-Mart type of deal. I’ll take neither for $200 Alex, especially the dropping of death.

When The Voice sounds, I do not dare tempt fate. I listen. I did an assessment of what needed to be dropped like a bad habit (because it probably was) and did it. I have a few more items on the ‘Don’t Die’ list but all in all I am making the appropriate steps to reducing stress. I take time off from work whether I have vacation time or not. I completely stopped worrying about money. Completely. I try (key word: try) hard not to road rage. Most importantly, I do what needs to be done without any other thoughts about it. Yes, it is one more thing on the list. Yes, I wish I had a maid to do it. Yes, I would rather eat fake food than cook. Yes, I would like to sit down. Sure, sleeping would be nice. But if I do what I have to do now…well…you know the rest.

Sometimes it is mandatory to push. There is no other way to get to the other side. However, I now recognize just because I can 25/8 does not mean I should. Just because it is possible it doesn’t mean I have to hold it all. I am at capacity. It is about time I regurgitate some of this and leave it where it lands….before…you know, dropping dead n’ all.

~SM

Faith Over Fret

In just a few short months, The Boy will be living on his own hours away. Over the summers, he would be far away for weeks and months at a time. I never worried much. He was safe. He was not out in the world alone, figuring it out. He was never really far from reach. But with adulthood looming ahead, I am worrying myself to death.

They say when you are close to death life flashes before your eyes. Welp, I can tell you when your kids start driving and becoming more independent, their life flashes before your eyes, too. All the wonderfully wicked things that could happen run rampant in your brain. Suddenly, 48 Hours Mystery and Dateline are all too real and you twist your stomach into a pretzel imagining the worst. The thought of following them everywhere or at the very least putting a hidden camera in their car no longer seems far fetched. Them walking the dog at dusk feels like a kamikaze mission now when before you wished they would go outside if only for five minutes. My days and nights are spent in a silent panic over the inevitable–they are leaving.

This place is big, bad and scary. And sure, really, really icky stuff happens out here, but if we worry too much we will have ulcers and wrinkles. Fretting never did anyone any good. Part of growing is falling. Part of getting the recipe just so is taste testing. Worrying about the parts of life we have no control over is worse than the thing we fear happening actually happening. There is nothing, no ting, worse than the thought of something fearful. When the Boogie Man jumps out and the roller coaster ride is over, all is right with the world. It wasn’t as bad as you thought.

Faith is an important part of life, whether you believe in a higher power or not, we all have faith in something. We believe in the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Whatever we are fearing, it just simply is not that bad. It may feel bad and it may cut to the marrow, but we are capable of making it through. We were built to make it through.

By the time I hand deliver The Boy to his new life, I will have a handle on the fretting. It feels worse than it is. He is right where he is meant to be, going on the path he was meant to be traveling. He is here for a reason, unbeknownst to me. I was just the vessel and the taxi and the caf and the atm. I have to have enough faith to overcome the fret and trust the process. Besides, I don’t need not one more gray hair–I have a complete collection already (and you don’t even want to know where).

~SM

My Wife Did That

Yesterday evening I was watching a friend and his wife interact. I thought about how far he had come since we met and I knew she had something to do with his current position. I flashed back to a bit of a conversation Mommy and I had and she repeated something my dad said.  “I have nothing to do with that. My wife did all of that.” I imagine my friend said the same about his wife too. My wife did that. I reflected on my own doings and wondered—am I making people better oooorrrr…..?

Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sure I have bettered the life of a person or two, but how well? And who exactly am I making better? As a mother, I should be elevating The Kids to be better, not just feel victorious when they remember to brush teeth or there are no dried boogers on cheeks, right? As a daughter I should be doing more—old age cometh quicketh, am I right? As a wife, I should be helping my husband get into position. True?

One important gig we have is to not only grow and elevate ourselves but to also add to those we touch. Life boils down to position. If we are out of position, we can barely change our socks regularly never mind help someone else. In position, though, we are able to assist those around us while still growing ourselves.

The measure of a person is in their reflection. If you are an a-hole, your reflection is most likely an a-holish collection of goodies. If you are happy, the same. Giving, same. The lives you touch will be reflective of you. That is not to say people will not take advantage or be dicks, but in some way, shape or form your influence will be reflected in their lives—even if fleeting.

I suppose the children going out into the world speaking proper English and not terrorizing old ladies is sufficient enough. The Parents’ getting to enjoy four extensions of themselves is okay for now. Young Gun having enough room to figure it all out is what he needs most presently. When I check outta here, I want to hear the words ‘Well done’ and get a holy high-five. The fruits of my labor and love should be enough to feed those who pass by and in turn feed those they pass. I want to know that I was able to add to someone more than take away. I want to be a help and a blessing. I want my reflection to be better than mediocre. Or at least have someone say, My wife did that.

~SM

Family Mending

In just a few days, I will experience a one year wedding anniversary for the second time. To look back beyond the last 365 days, the way I saw things going is not exactly how they turned out. For instance, I never quite expected to be celebrating one year of wedded bliss yet again, with a whole new person–my person–I might add. I most definitely never saw our beautifully complicated little family coexisting in legit bliss—give or take a few bumps here and there.

It was never intentional, the family we created. We (the adults) never saw any of this coming. I often tell YG when people make decisions it never affects only them. There is a ripple effect and it disrupts even the most secured. What we do today, no matter how minuscule, can have a profound effect on tomorrow. All of our decisions set the course for this moment, right here, to unfold exactly as it has. It is a little funny to see/hear people’s reactions when they find out who our cast of characters in this odd play is.

The bomb we dropped as adults produced a huge shockwave rippling the earth, reaching the farthest corners of our friends and family. There are always options when shockwaves happen. That which has fallen and been destroyed can be repaired or it can be left for dead. The displaced can turn away in search of something new, better, stronger. Not everything is worth repair. Not all foundations are meant to be examined and restructured. Not all relationships are capable of being better. All it takes is a little assessment. When the damage is assessed, what is left…is it important enough to be fixed? When the rumbling ceases and the ground no longer threatens to split wide open, when the structure has fallen, when the foundation is leveled, who is left? Are they important enough to rebuild? Are they important enough to roll up sleeves and dig in with bare hands? Or is it more beneficial to just turn away in search of newer, better, stronger?

Our foundation, as feeble as it was, needed repair. It needed to be given fresh eyes. Nothing we have done thus far has been for us. No dinners, no parties, no cordial conversations were ever for us. We never intentionally sought out this weird, yet functional family. We sought one thing: stability. That was the entire reason to rebuild what was lost. If the foundation was stable (this time), then all who entered, all who were meant to be sheltered from the cold, wind and rain could rest in comfort and love.

We began with forgiveness, added growth,  sprinkled in the release, and covered it with love. We made it big enough to withstand us all and then some. It took time for it to be completed and it certainly was not easy, but for those who enter it is safe, warm and full of love. Time heals wounds, yes. But love erases the ugly scars.

None of this has gone to plan, but that is okay. Seeing the beautiful outcome of what could have been a disaster, everything abandoned—nothing repaired, is more than enough for me. We all learned a valuable lesson about movement. Nothing can ever be if we don’t first move. The optimal direction is forward, but not all are capable. I am just so grateful to the past and the present we were able to step forward for the future. Alright, Alright.

~SM

Next Level [Insert Poop Emoji]

I work in an office with a casual dress code. Perhaps not as casual as I tend to take it, but three-piece suits are not required. Recently, I noticed a co-worker dressing to impress. At any moment, should there be a meeting, she is ready. Me on the other hand? Not so much. And that is a problem.

Years ago, a friend of mine was in a bit of a professional rut. She was applying for jobs all over and no one was taking the bait. Day in and day out she assessed the problem and she came up with none. Qualified? Check. Capable? Check? Hard worker? Check. Educated? Check, check. After a frustrating conversation with herself, she realized to get to the next level she had to act like she was already there. She began moving differently and dressing differently. Nothing she did was out of the realm of herself, it was just in the vein of her best self.

The Universe gives us back what we put out. It does not matter if you are the most qualified, educated or dedicated person in the room. Do you look the part? Do you act the part? Do you live the part? I often wonder how con artists get away with obtaining jobs they are less than qualified. How are they operating medical offices and accounting practices with little more than a high school diploma? They somehow trick people who have been in the business for years and often get validated by said individuals. The package they present is what makes the difference. From the expensive paper their resumes and fake letters of recommendations are printed on to the way they speak, they are living the life they stole, and it makes a difference.

I dress my life. Take one look at me and you can see that (a) sleep evades daily, (b) clean eating means it didn’t stain my shirt too bad, (c) money is non-existent and (d) energy that should be going to me just simply isn’t. I mean, sure, I enjoy some mediocrity like the next guy but I cannot set up camp there. That is not good enough for me.  I need more. I want more. How do I get it, you ask? More is as more does, Forrest.

I must do more. Not in the traditional sense of running around like a headless chicken, but more so in the sense of creating an environment that is conducive to the more I expect for myself.  I must lift myself up to the level of what I deem success to be. I will never in a million years be a flashy expensive clothes/car/house type of person. I will forever be a tee shirt, jeans, ball cap type of gal. My afro will most likely always be big and unruly. But just because at my core casual is who I am, it does not give me permission to be lazy.

The next level which is meant for me, is for me. It does not require me to be anything other than who I am right now. It does, however, require me to be a less lackadaisical version of myself. I cannot be less than my personal best, which by the way, does not include chin hair and hamper shirts. As much as the gung-ho twin wants to hop on all of this at once, the forty-year-old sit-yourself-down twin knows better. One small bite at a time. Much like the woman with the issue of blood who only needed to touch Jesus’ hem, if I can just touch the handle of a razor my healing will begin (joking, not joking).

~SM

Nothing Is Everything

Every day, I sit and write. Every day I rack gray matter for some perspective of life to spew. Day in and day out fingers tap keys. It has become a thing now. But today, sigh, I gots nothin’.

It was upsetting, at first. The little panic mice ran haphazardly through my brain yelling about what to do, but I threw my head back and sighed. They would do nothing. Neither would I. Sometimes, nothing is exactly what is right.

Things can come at us faster than we anticipate. We often think because we can do everything all the time we can handle anything. First, we are not capable of doing everything all the time, and those of us who think we can, suck. We are the first to fall out from sheer exhaustion, or nut up in the middle of Kroger when all the almond milk is gone (not speaking from experience or anything). Second, there are moments when nothing is okay. It is better than okay. It is exactly what the moment calls for.

If silence is golden, then nothing is platinum. You cannot be present or grateful or loving or caring or clear or amazing if you are in a constant state of doing the most. Nothing can sting. It can make you feel lost. In a sea of everything, to sit and do nothing feels lazy. It feels as if the whole world you hoist atop your shoulders is going to roll down the hill at any moment. But here is the thing (hold your breath), it won’t. Shut the front door!

The most empowering moments are when I choose to do less than what I know I can do. It sounds backward but hang with me here. I am capable of some amaze ball stuff. I. Am. Great. I kick ass and take names. I handle business first and shed thug tears later. We plays no games. But, when I ease off the gas a bit and move below the standard level of kick-ass, I am refreshed. The act of doing less, of being less, than my daily one hundred is when my spirit speaks the loudest. I can be present. Every minute is like a lifetime when I do nothing. Less is so much more.

Obviously, I wrote something anyway because you are reading it. Hopefully, if you take anything away with you today, take nothing. Take laziness. Take a moment. Bring yourself down to a place below your normal level of wonderful and push for nothing. Allow the day to wrap around you and breathe it all in. Stare out of the car window. Walk slowly. Be present. Time is limited—why waste it by always doing the most? Just sayin’.

~SM

 

Twisted Love

When I was a teenager, we had a cat named Dusty. He was an inside/outside kinda guy. On his outdoor excursions, he would bring us gifts. Running up the porch steps only to be halted by a dead bird is definitely not the best greeting. For me, it was gross. For him, though, it was love. Twisted, yea, but cats are special like that. After a while, I got used to his dead little woodland gifts. I found a way to let go of my perceptions and accepted his.

People can be Dustys. They go out and plop dead stuff on the Welcome mat. “Welcome,” they say, “I love you. See?” If you are smart, you roll with it. You pick it up and toss it in the neighbor’s bushes, always giving them the side eye. If you are too hung up on how wrong it is, you leave it to rot and decay. The stink rising to greet you day in and day out. I am guilty of letting other’s Dusty-gifts sit and stew until the stink was unbearable. Stubborn to the core.

Letting go is not my strong suit. I hold onto everything for far too long. But I can be the bigger person. I have proof. I can also be pretty petty (for which I also have proof). In the end, I suppose it is all about letting go of my perception and let others have theirs. What is right and what I feel is right does not negate the fact that from their vantage point they see right, too. Their right is stupid (btw), but who am I to judge? If I let go…If I unclench my fists and rest my heart, I won’t have to smell the stink. I can just chuck it up to a twisted kind of love, toss it over the fence and carry on.

~SM

By Golly, Be Happy

For a year I have watched my beautiful husband endure things no twenty-eight year old should. I have watched him run the gamut of emotion—both good and bad, big and small. I have seen him step above and beyond and I have watched him completely fall apart. I have seen a spirit break before my very eyes. But there have been tiny moments of sunshine he clung to, preventing the quicksand to take him under. No matter how deep the cuts, he clung to something–anything–and managed to still stay on solid ground. How ‘bout that?

Watching him find joy, even the size of a mustard seed, and hold onto it for strength and peace has helped me. It has helped me to find the small and be thankful. Even in the horrible moments when the entire house smells like sick and we are all (even the dog) burying our heads in toilets and trash cans, there is a smile in it. Even when The Baby and The Girl take foul balls like champs, there is a breath of thanks and an ounce of joy there. Even when all he can do is wave at a picture, there is a glimpse of happiness buried beneath the sad.

I am learning how to find the slivers of happy in the pile of difficult. Watching YG has taught me a thing or two about the human spirit. Joy is never far. Yea, letting go is tough and yea, people are completely stupid (understatement), but does that really mean we have to let it consume us—eat away at our happy like cancer? I am making the decision that no matter what comes my way, I will be happy.

I will be happy because there is every reason to be. I need to take small things and hold them close and be grateful. Nope, not much is perfect or even to my liking these days, but daggumit I’mma turn toward the good stuff and bask in it. Why the hell not?

Nothing is ever easy. Life is full of crap shoots and luck of the draws. Money is never, ever right, kids are friggin annoying 23/6, jobs are never perfect, traffic always sucks balls and there is forever never enough time in the day. But that only lasts for a night, doesn’t it? Happiness is right around the corner, we just need to hold on long enough to see it. It ain’t always gonna be right, but by golly, it’s right enough for me to be happy.

~SM

Que Sera Sera, Smalls

Sit down. Let’s have a chat. Friend to friend. If I might be frank, you’re killin’ me, Smalls. You are up and down and you hardly know which end is up. But we can fix this…promise.

We can fix this shit storm you are in. We can step away from the funnel cloud and watch it all swirl round and round. Do you see what is passing by? Mmmhm, and you were standing in the middle of it. Now that you are on the outside looking in, let me give you some instructions.

  1. Leave It Alone. You heard me. Leave it all. Walk away and in the direction of calm. There is no clarity when you are rolling with the debris. Over there, in that funnel cloud, is grime and grit and broken pieces. All of it ripping and tearing your flesh. Before you can assess the damage, you are getting hit again. That is no way to live. Is it Smalls?
  2. Breathe. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Matter of fact, take more than one. I’ll wait. Feels good, right? Now that you are calmer, we can move on to the next thing…
  3. Don’t Turn Back. Easier said than done, I know (just ask Lot’s wife, oh wait…you can’t), but try. Plant your face in the direction of goodness and light and will yourself not to look back. Nothing good comes from looking at the damage. It will just upset you. It will have you second-guessing. What is lost is lost. What you abandoned you abandoned. It is okay.
  4. Don’t Let Guilt Consume You. What is behind you is behind you. The choices you made are made. If they were stupid, then fine, they were stupid. If they were good at the moment, then cool. Yay, you. But no matter what you did or didn’t do, this just was not for you. Do not continue to carry around the guilt of the ‘what-if’. You can only do your part. You are not responsible for how others choose to react.
  5. Get Over It. I know, these are the worst three words anyone in pain can hear. It is harsh, yes, but it is necessary. Nothing you can ever do will change it. Perhaps if you are lucky enough to have a time machine, one day (if it bothers you that much) you can go back and fiddle with it, but for now, my G…gone ‘head somewhere. This holding pattern you are in isn’t healthy, and it won’t end if you continue to mull over what you can’t change.

Now that you have your instructions and you are starting from scratch, I want you to start with just the basics. Do not pile too much on your plate. Take it easy. Be in the stillness when you can, remind yourself to be present, and lean in. Lean in with all your might and grab onto what matters most. I know, it hurts. It does not seem like anything will go your way, but trust me, friend, it will. Just be patient, be faithful and keep walking toward peace. Keep grounding yourself in the simple parts of life and keep the understanding ‘whatever will be will be’ with you. Que sera sera, Smalls. Que sera sera.

~SM

Loving Longtime

My parents celebrated forty-one years of marriage recently. Forty. One. That does not even count the years of dating. For forty-one years, this man and woman have endured sickness, health, wife-strikes (which will go down in history as the best ever), bad gifts, amazing surprises, yours truly and three grandchildren. For forty-one years this man has loved this woman, and this woman has loved this man. They have weathered big storms, both literal and figurative, losses and gains. They not only grew up together, but they grew together. For more than half their lives they have loved one another in light and in dark.

It takes more than human strength not to wrap your hands around a neck and squeeze, especially after enduring their bs on a daily. Just hearing them cough can send a person into fits of crazy, but somehow people manage. If flesh was in charge, we would all be under the jailhouse. Thank God it isn’t. Thank God we get to choose love, or shall I say, love chooses us. It sneaks in when we know little more than our mother’s voices and builds a foundation.

Love is a tricky thing. Love endures what we can’t. Love cleans up Stomachbugmagedon hot dog vomit out of the bathroom sink. Love invites forgiveness to sit at the table for birthdays and family dinners. It stands in the cold and rain just for a glimpse of a dream. It brunches on Sundays no matter how exhausted or how long the to-do list may be. Love stands in the gap when we choose not to.

I watch my parents interact. They move quietly around one another, their history and their love filling an entire room. It really is that simple, isn’t it? No extras or absurd rules and judgments. No special colored glasses. Just…love. In its most natural form, it can fill a room and there will still be more left to give.

I am learning, how to operate in love fully. If you have been with me during rush hour you know I have a ways to go, but I am a work in progress. Right now my heart is full with just enough love for myself and The Family, but someday it will grow three sizes (and I might even find the strength of ten Sadie’s plus two). I am taking a page out of The Parents’ playbook. They have endured much, both individually and collectively, but at the very root of it all is love. And in the quiet moments, they show it–no boasting, no impatience, no selfishness–just love.

~SM