It has taken me years to accept a societal truth that it is okay for me to take time for myself instead of giving every little bit of me, squeezed out and wrung dry, to my children and everyone else who’s asking. It’s only been recently, however, that I no longer feel guilty (mostly) taking that time, and so it was with zero guilt a couple of nights ago that I skipped out on making dinner, taking the opportunity instead to read a book on our porch swing. My gosh, it was glorious. And uplifting. It was uplifting!
It was the first cool evening we have had in weeks. The air held just enough moisture to conjure up feelings of being surrounded by ancient giant redwood trees, though in reality I was surrounded by commuters (aka my neighbors) pulling into their driveways. Most significantly, although my children were running around the neighborhood with their friends, I did not feel anxious or worried or stressed; I only felt peaceful. A rare all-encompassing feeling as a 2019 parent!
I read my book, but I also lazily swung on the swing with my eyes closed, inhaling and feeling the outdoors in my very bones. I was cognizant of taking the moment in because I find that as a grownup, these moments are too few and far between. One of my goals as an experienced adult is to tilt the balance of this scale so that my experiences of inner peace become more frequent than the anxious ones.
PSA: Fret not. I ordered pizza for dinner so no appetites were harmed during the making of my peace.
PSA: I ordered pizza for dinner so no appetites were harmed in the making of my peace.
Thirteen months ago, I began an affair with the Frenchman down the street. Unfortunately, not only does his wife not know about it, he does not know about it! You see, quite a while ago I gave up Starbucks. It just wasn’t giving me the warm fuzzies that I think it was meant to give. Additionally, after performing multiple scientifically inauthentic tests, I feel quite certain that all that fake syrup flavoring was making my skin break out! As a 40+-year-old woman who fancies herself a MILF but is really more of a Cougar who probably is really only viewed as a Tired Mom, I had to give it up! With all the other madness at this stage of life, who wants to deal with acne?!
The Frenchman, on the other hand — he mixes his coffee with homemade chocolate ganache that fills my heart with Parisian joy. Yet still, he does not know how I love thee. Or is it thou? It might just be him. Oh, how I love him and his chocolate ganache. And so it was that one day, while sipping my Mocha, I commented to my husband that I felt the Frenchman should know my name for all of the money I spend in his café on a weekly basis. It was a comment borne of my ego and then forgotten. Seven days later, I stood in his crowded shop waiting for that silky, dark chocolatey, bittersweet mocha, when Monsieur Ganache looked at me from across the room and was very quickly standing in front of me. “Are you waiting for something?” he asked in his very intoxicating French ox-cent. Yes. “What did you order? I will get it for you.” Thank you. I only ordered a Mocha. I come here almost every day for my Mocha (subtle, right?). And then! “Ah, if you are here every day, then I should know your name!” YES YOU SHOULD! I wanted to exclaim, but did not. I politely gave him my name; we shook hands; I praised his lovely drink; we parted as lifelong friends.
Since then, I have been in at least a million times. It is clear he has no recollection of my name and I am fairly certain he also does not recognize me. But his ox-cent is beautiful and his Mochas are amazing so the affair continues. Ahhh, c’est la vie in Suburbia.
“Angel, you have so much potential,” said everyone I ever met before I was thirty years old. Words that once lifted my spirits and made me think to myself yes! you are right! I am destined for greatness, and you, great giver of self-esteem, you see it! Through the years, however, those same words would cause me to hang my head in shame; discomfort; embarrassment at my own lack of awesomeness.
I had troubled relationships and rarely felt like I belonged anywhere. I got by, but I always felt unfulfilled. It was following the birth of my first son that things really started to deteriorate. I was heartbreakingly unhappy. At a time when I should have felt joy and gratefulness, I often only felt stuck. Worse than that, I felt trapped – like a wild animal locked in a cage, roaring for the great wonders that I knew lay beyond my domestic confinement.
Thankfully, my husband begged me to go to counseling with him. It wasn’t easy for me to do. Along with pride, I was also in full-blown, feet-planted, onmywayoutthedoor, just-another-wrong-relationship mode. What helped me move my feet to his wishes was simple: I remembered that I had loved him dearly. I remembered that what led to our marriage was that we liked each other so very much. We were truly friends and we had a baby together. I knew better than to just walk away from that.
This next moment is pivotal: during our second visit with the counselor, she interrupted my speaking and asked me if anyone had ever suggested that I had ADD. I laughed out loud and so did my husband. Obviously, but not reeeeallly! “Seriously,” she said and recommended that I read Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell. Reading it the next day, I cried as I realized I wasn’t quirky, but apparently just another diagnosis. Genetically or environmentally or experience induced, I may never know, but I’ve been working through that discovery for almost thirteen years.
Frustrating, yes, but also incredibly helpful. Understanding the root of my shortcomings was discouraging at first, but it has since become liberating. I have adopted a phrase that I heard Oprah Winfrey repeat multiple times during one of her SuperSoul podcasts: “When you know better, you do better.”It also helps that I have a compassionate husband. The friendship and mutual respect that we started with, followed by our desire to put in the effort to retain our relationship has served to bring us closer. I feel emotionally safe with him, so about once a year, when I feel unable to sort through the clutter of my mind, I tell him. He kindly dismantles the teetering piles I have somehow built around the house and we move on.
As I enter a new phase of my life (more about that later), I intend to continue to grow and learn and live the life that I have always imagined – without the baggage of guilt and resentment that ADD often fosters. Make no mistake, I do get distracted and I can be inconsistent. I am sharing this because I recognize that I am not the only person in this world who feels this way: sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes SO CREATIVE, sometimes so incapable of stringing two thoughts together in a cohesive manner. I am hopeful that as I make my way on my continued journey toward personal inner peace, you will find comfort and inspiration as you venture forth on yours as well.
Good luck! And hey, remember that having ADD has its up sides. This page took me hours to write, but only because I’ve been successfully multitasking. Yay! It’s one of those days!
When I was eighteen years old, I was sitting in my family’s house feeling safe and full of joy, when I noticed a door that hadn’t been there before. Ever curious, I opened it up and found a slightly bigger house on the other side. It had more doors than my little house. It took some time, but I eventually began opening those doors and what I found were larger spaces and a lot more doors. My heart leapt with joy at the wonder and excitement of unknown places to be discovered! Looking back, however, I noticed my family getting further away, huddled inside the safety of our little house. I reached back and cried, “I don’t want to leave you behind! What if I can’t find my way back?!” My parents said “Go. We’re okay in this little house!” I continued on, looking for doors and opening them with glee. At twenty years old, I heard, “Angel, come back! Your mother is sick, Angel. Come back!” I looked longingly at what lied before me and I looked back at what lay behind me. I moved forward and wrapped my hand around a doorknob, my heart pounding with need and guilt. I didn’t notice the tears running down my cheeks until the taste of salt bit my tongue. I knew I wouldn’t turn the knob and when I stepped back, I wondered what future lay beyond that door. I stared at it for a long time – maybe too long – and marveled at how I could so easily walk away from myself. Eventually, I hung my head and was aware that I already felt different. Less, somehow, than I had been before the call. I walked slowly back along the same route that I had travelled, noticing that every thing was exactly the same as when I’d left. Everything except for me. I opened the door to my family’s little house, to all of them staring at me expectantly, and I wondered why they didn’t know that I was meant to be more. That I wasn’t meant to stay in that little house watching the world go by. That I wasn’t meant to be like them. That I didn’t want to be like them. I looked behind me at my future one last time, and although I suspected it would happen, I was still surprised years later to realize that all of those beautiful doors had slammed shut, one after the other, while I stood there in broken silence.
After my own lifetime of curiosity and a deep sense of something familiar yet unattainable on this topic, I have recently found myself feeling really good about what I’ve come to believe. In short, yes I do believe in predestination. It seems Fate would be a must in that situation. So yes on that, too.
I know it sounds corny because psychics have their credibility issues, but hear me out. Years ago, my mom was watching Sylvia Brown on a talk show. Now, whether she was legit or not, she said something that I really loved and continue to love the idea of because for me, it really works. The gist is that we all create a roadmap for our lives on earth prior to leaving wherever it is that we are: Heaven? Space? At this point, most people can’t say for certain. But according to Sylvia, we make that roadmap with guidance from a higher power (she might have said God).
I buy into this pretty much 100% for multiple reasons. She said the roadmap is the reason that we experience déja vu – it’s our soul remembering a moment on our roadmap that we created for ourselves. Think about that. Is there a better explanation? And how incredible, right? When I’m out somewhere or interacting with someone and I think “woah, I’ve seen this before!” Or, “oh my gosh, this has already happened!” To think that it’s my soul remembering a moment that I laid out prior to heading out on an earthly journey makes sense. To me, anyway.
That does two things. First, it seriously supports the concept of predestination. Second, it tells me that because of a pre-determined roadmap, I am on the right path! If I wasn’t, I would not have déja vu because there wouldn’t be a moment to remember. You know what I feel when I am not on my roadmap? I feel miserable. I feel out of place. I feel anxious. I feel depressed. At other times, when I feel joyful and content and excited about life, that is what I have decided in recent years is confirmation that I am where I am supposed to be. I am where I planned on being. I am where I am pre-destined to be.
I could write more here about people in my life that also support the predestination concept. Those people that I just clicked with immediately — and those people that I should never be in the same room with again. Why is that? Right path/wrong path. Maybe those folks that I immediately clicked with — I have at least two that I call soulmates because it’s the appropriate word — maybe they were Angels supporting my creative process when I decided on my challenges for this spin around the Earth. And that brings up reincarnation. Maybe they are always there when I create my roadmap for the next life. And when we find each other on Earth, it is like we’ve known each other forever.
Yes, I feel peaceful when I think about it in this way.
For the second part of the question, is there anything anyone can do to change their predestined fate? Yes, because although it’s predestined, there are currently almost 7.7 billion people on Earth and that is 7.7 billion paths on which I can accidentally make a wrong turn. I believe that my path is predestined, but the choices I make are not. Therefore, I can end up in the wrong place and that is when, as written above, I feel miserable; out of place; anxious; depressed.
Bonus: if a higher being known by any name is the source, and “he” has guided us in drawing out our roadmaps, of course we should still pray. Sometimes we will stumble; sometimes we will end up on some sexy guy’s motorcycle riding off into the sunset when we were supposed to be studying to be math geniuses (wait, what?!). The truth is, it doesn’t hurt to throw out some wishes. Either that higher being is going to step in and help or the person praying is going to find his/her own resolution through the process of prayer. Or not. But the journey to fulfill our destinies will continue.
Whether in print, cursive, or calligraphy, each time Max tried to write the word, ink gushed from the tip of his pen. He changed the word to stain, and curiously, the ink did not spill. At last, the blot was no more.
Something I wrote for my humor class. Enjoy! Or don’t. Either way, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments. Unless they’re going to be bigly dickly, in which case, I’ll delete it. It’s just satire! Have a laugh, for crying out loud.
Check out this interview on another blog I write for, Graceful-Grit.com, regarding one woman’s experiences and lessons she has learned on her journey. If you enjoy reading women’s stories, check out the other posts there as well. We currently have five authors sharing incredible experiences!
My mom called me the other night to tell me that dad had fallen again. He fell — unbeknownst to me — a few days prior. This almost 6’7″ tall, 70-year-old man decided to climb up on a ladder to change a lightbulb, and missed the last two rungs on his way down. Since then, he’d fallen not once, not twice, but by the time mom called me to tell me he’d fallen and couldn’t get up, he had fallen four more times. I can’t be upset with them. It must be very difficult to not be as spry as one once was. My mom will often say when she can’t get up and go: “well Ang’, the old, gray mare ain’t what she used to be.” I guess in dad’s case it would be “the old, bald stallion ain’t what he used to be!”
He actually looked very content lying on the floor when Jeff and I got to their house. He was very relaxed, and for the most part, my parents tend to be easygoing. He casually turned his head when we entered the hall – that was all I could see through the doorway – and he said “oh, hey guys. What are you doing here?” Really, Dad? We eventually got the big guy up off of the floor; stabilized with a walker they had stored away for just such an occasion, I guess?; and into the local emergency room. Jeff headed home because somebody had to wake up with the kids for school in the morning! A few hours later, around 2am, Dad’s x-ray confirmed a broken tailbone. The after-care had clear instructions: don’t sit on it if it hurts, and it will eventually heal on its own. I returned Dad to his suburban dwelling and got myself home and into bed at 4am (thank you, husband, for letting me sleep!).
Mom is going through cancer treatment and is currently on oxygen full-time for a sneaky little clot that made its way into one of her lungs, so I am their dutiful daughter when trouble calls. After I woke up that morning, I drove out to their pharmacy to drop off dad’s prescription for a pain med. (I know, opioid crisis), and I got the uninterested “who are you dropping off for?” from the lady behind the counter. I told her it was for my dad and I gave her his name. Holy cow! I swear the lights went down and a disco ball started spinning above the register. “Oh my gosh,” she exclaimed, “we love your dad! Your parents! How are they?!” Dad broke his tailbone. “Oh no! Did he trip over his dog? We love their dog!”
Ohhhhkay, so this is where my parents are spending all of their time. You know, what? Listen. If the Old Folks Nightclub is that welcoming and their little dog can also get in, I can’t blame them for going there every week. Party on, parents.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”