Tag Archives: development

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

Opportunity In The Rough

Over the weekend, I was having a conversation with Young Gun about a mutual friend becoming a manager. He started his journey taking a job for a little over $8 per hour. He had a wife, new baby, and new bills to take care of with that measly ol’ $8, but he saw beyond the pay. He saw the opportunity.

At the risk of sounding like an old person, that is what is wrong with some of the younger gens today. What it might look like at the onset is not always what it is under the surface.  Not many are willing to get grimy, lose money or sleep to get to the underbelly of the opportunity. Go get coffee and be ignored for chump change? No office? Terrible hours? You mean I can’t do what I want and still get where I want? I can’t just snap a photo or take a video and be famous without actually working? For some of us, sure. Those are the lucky s.o.b’s. The rest of us, however, not so much.

When opportunity knocks, even if it is a grimy one, it takes a wise man (or woman) to jump on it. Taking a job is about more than just the pay. What are the benefits? Can you grow? How can you use them to make yourself better?

The hardest opportunities to grab are ones that don’t really look like opportunities at all. They look more like cluster fudges (teehee). They are diamonds in the rough. They are mired in grime and muck, they stink even—oh, but when we take them in and clean them off they open up to something more.

The part of life I love the absolute best are the hidden treasures. Sure, it sucks to have to clean toilets to become CEO, but in the end, the benefits of the journey outweigh the end goal. Naturally, our friend did not want to take an $8 an hour job, but he saw beyond the weeds. He saw with a little of this and a little of that, ‘it was still some good’. And here is the bestist part of all—with every opportunity, every single one, comes knowledge. The knowledge preps us for what is coming next. I get excited just thinking about it!

So, the next time something saunters on by that doesn’t look like much or isn’t ideal, don’t shoo it away. Take a chance. What can it hurt? If you don’t like what you see when you open the door, politely say “no wannit”, close it, turn the lock and carry on.

~SM

The Possible Underneath

We are struggling pretty hard these days. We get paid on Friday morning and by Friday morning we are broke (yea, you read that right). I am barely keeping the car company off my ass, and most nights I spend the wee hours of the morning hoping the loud pickup trucks ambling by are not tow trucks. Rent is paid late, but seriously who has $1500 on the first, ever?  I slowly pass by the almond butters, the salmons and the exotic fruits and veggies for the staples: peanut butter, fish sticks and iceberg lettuce (or frozen brocc). We are in the sweet spot of making too much on paper but making too little in the real world. It can be hard to dream under these circumstances, yes? Ah…but I manage.

Don’t get me wrong, we have joyous moments. We play board games with the kids (when we tie them down) or throw caution to the wind and rent an odd movie or two (The Oath is so random). We forget about bills, empty bank accounts and pickup trucks rolling by for stretches at a time. A slobbery smile from Cookie or an out of place dance move from The Girl or an absurd comment from The Boy peek under the blanket of stress, for a moment. And in the quiet moments, when the house is quiet and the only sound is stillness, I dream.

Possibility is a constant. It never fades. It is always there to be rummaged through. It is why I lose myself in the stillness and dream. I dream of writing. I dream of creating a space all my own. I dream of vacations. I dream of being better than Sir King. I dream of my children rolling their eyes at the mention of my books from a stranger/classmate/teacher. I dream of big oaks and a conversation with Madam O. I dream about me, the little green sprout, pushing through the cold, uncomfortable blanket of snow.

It is not impossible. Nothing is impossible. It feels like it. My God does it feel like it, but underneath all of this heavy, there is something…possible. No, this isn’t comfy. It affects the sight and the mind. It makes things appear so much different than it is making it hard to navigate. It is easy to get lost when everything is covered. But the minuscule, lush green beacon of light poking through the blinding white is a reminder that everything is possible….I just have to hang on and dig a little deeper. I have to rummage through the possible and grab something, anything, and try it on for size. There is nothing to lose but opportunities not seized.

~SM

Humble Much?

Each of my children is special. Yes, most parents believe that and they should, but it is clear to see from an early age that each of my littles has a serious purpose. One was born with a spirit of observation and understanding. Another the spirit of pure, easy joy. And, another with the spirit of accomplishment. Only one, however, was born with the hardest of heads and the softest of…

The Boy was forced into this world (after deciding in utero that being in there was way better than being out here). Shortly after he was rolled out onto the scene (literally), his brain was trying to make the body do the impossible. Crawl? Please. I would rather walk. Walk? No thank you. I would rather run. And, eventually, when his body and mind began to work in tandem he did just that.

The Ex and I endured years of him running, jumping and dare deviling. On any given day, strangers stop him to shake his hand or wave hello. “How do you know them?” I ask. As a youngin I would get a direct answer like “Oh, he’s Coach so and so” or “I played against him in [insert sport here]”, but today I get a cocky smile, a wink, and a “Cmon Mommy. I’m [The Boy].” Humble much?

As he grew into a young man and life started getting a smidge difficult, I would remind him to attempt humbleness. To him, everything is easy because…well…he’s [The Boy]. Until it isn’t. And when it isn’t we are subjected to fits of silence and the banana face.

There is something peaceful about being humble. The action of stripping off the ego and admitting you are not [insert egotistical thought here] feels freeing. Breath comes easier, shoulders lower, muscles relax. We are no longer fighting against what we truly don’t know. We are no longer swimming upstream.

Last night, his room washed in darkness, his long body sprawled across the bed, and his head covered I wanted to tell him to be humble. His most recent nemesis (the driving test) had him pouting and struggling to understand why he could not pass. He was [The Boy], after all. “Yes,” I wanted to say, “you are amazing. Yes, you are special. Yes, God blessed you to be a master in your gift, but not everything in your path will be easy. Sometimes, son, you have to step down, tamp down the confidence. Humility is most important because in the humble is where the learning happens.” Instead, I just stood in the doorway and watched him ignore me. After a moment, I shut his door and walked away without a word. This time he would have to find it out on his own. Hard heads make for soft behinds. Pretty soon, he will get tired of having a sore ass.

~SM

Ms. Don’t Wanna Be Right

I am not right 100% of the time. I wish like hell I was, but I’m not. If I was right I would be pretty close to perfect. I chuckle at the sight of my know-it-all eighteen-year-old self believing that all was right because I knew it. I was it. Having matured just a tad, I realize it takes more courage to be wrong than it does to stand in rightness. Take that, younger me.

In my first marriage, I made mistakes—one of which was always being right. Or, appearing to be. For any given question, I always gave The Ex and The Kids three options. No matter what they chose, it would be my version of correct. I took what I knew about life and made it make sense, and me being correct about everything made sense (duh).

Don’t get me wrong (pun completely intended), more often than not I was actually right, but I never wavered in the moments when I was unsure. I never once said I didn’t know what to do. The words “I told you so” were hovering over every mistake or misjudgment everyone else made, never spoken but always to be implied.

Fast forward twenty years, divorce papers and some growth later and I find myself saying less. Oh, really? I say. Hmmm, I hum thoughtfully. Well, if that’s what you think you should do, I shrug. I am not sure when it happened, but I found out I wasn’t always right. My way was not the way. I also realized the need to be correct was just my fear of not being enough. If I knew what I knew and it was right, I was right. I was perfect.

Nowadays, I don’t bother being much of anything. I just sit back and watch the chips fall where they may. Ask me a question, I will certainly give up the answer—popular or not—but I won’t worry if it is right. There are no “I told you so’s” hovering above.

So, hey, I am not always right. Yup. It is true. I am riddled with wrongness, and I stand in it proudly. My way is, indeed, not always the right way. And that’s okay. I am okay.

~SM

Freeeeeeeee!

There comes a moment, most often a small one, when we realize our freedom. There is this notion we are free 100% of the time, but in all actuality, we aren’t. We are held by our own chains. We chain ourselves to people, places and things without knowing. It could be because the constant fight for independence courses through our veins–the high coming from the spillage onto battlefields of wars never meant for us. Perhaps we have been captive for so long we continue to hold ourselves prisoner. It could even be that we don’t feel worthy. We all have them, these chains. Yet…we all believe we are free. That is until the day we realize we never really were.

Talking to YG about a discussion he is dreading, I recalled the day my invisible jail cell door swung open. Nothing major happened–no Amistad “give us free” moment occurred. The thought just sparked something in my spirit. I was free. I was free to come, go, say, do as I pleased. I was a grown-up. I didn’t have to eat what I didn’t want. I didn’t have to go where I didn’t want. I didn’t have to speak to whomever I chose not to. The small thought passed through me leaving behind a sonic boom cracking the walls of the self-imposed prison and open the door. I was free.

I smiled across the bed at YG, Cookie’s diaper in hand. I stood in my freedom and was comfortable in it. Up to that moment, I had moments of complete imperfection, lack of discipline, and a shitload of selfishness. Up to that moment I had been free to do it all and not regret too much of it. “There’s going to come a time,” I said looking down at Cookie–speaking more to her than her dad, “when you realize you are grown and don’t have to answer to anybody. You won’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.”

The only chains holding us are our own and our notion of freedom isn’t really real until…it is. The day I decided to be free free was the day I got to decide everything for myself. I fastened up Cookie, kissed her fat slobbery cheek and glanced at my husband. I saw he hadn’t noticed his cell door was open, but he would. We always do. We just have to be willing to walk through it.

~SM

From The Mouths of Babes

For a whole fifteen teenage minutes yesterday, The Girl stood making her case as to why I should start making gift baskets again or go back to G. Mag. She proceeded to say how I needed something for myself and how she was trying to boost my confidence. “I have confidence!” I proclaimed. She didn’t look all that convinced. YG sat on my right, amen-ing from his gallery seat. “Please tell your mother.” He said. “I’ve been telling her this for how long?” He said. Okay, okay. I get it. It is time to stop sleeping. I hear you.

Here’s the thing, though. I made (and stand by) some valid excuses—err points. First, the basket thing is tough. I hate selling stuff. I’m terrible at it. And besides, who would actually spend their hard-earned money on…me?  As far as my baby G. Mag is concerned, I refuse to bring her back without doing it right. I need money, and a lot of it, to do it the way it should be done. Figure it out, they said. *sigh* Don’t worry about the money, they demanded. Invest in yourself, they preached. It isn’t that easy. Is it?

Aside from (the valid) excuses and their ridiculous rebuttals, I do feel like it is time. Something is brewing along the horizon in the distance. The air around me is static and the clouds are pregnant…with something.

I won’t say I am close. I am not. But I am certainly not as far removed as I was. I think the circumstances at the present moment are roaring in my ears. So much so, I can’t hear the sound being made from dreams meant to be touched. Perhaps, that is why on a beautiful Sunday afternoon a 16-year-old with important teenage things to do stood in my face defiantly walking all over my excuses trying to convince me of what was waiting. “If I had talent like you, Mommy,” she said matter of factly, “I’d be using it.” Well…I guess its time I start, hm?

~SM