Chiquitita 1-7-19

Growing up my dad was a huge fan of the group ABBA. I grew up listening to all of their songs. I’m 53 years old and I still love ABBA. One of my dads favorite songs was Chiquitita. He used to play that song over and over and could sing every lyric. I think of my dad every time I hear that song.

When he passed away, my mother and I cleaned out his pickup. He had several bottles of Stetson cologne and many pictures of me. He even had copies of the ads I created while I was a Marketing Consultant. I remember asking my mom why my dad had so many pictures of me and why did he have so many of my ads. She said “because your dad always thought you were so beautiful and he was so proud of you”. I still get teary eyed thinking about that day when my mother and I cleaned out my dads pickup. In his pickup was also an ABBA cd. My dad had their greatest hits. It was no surprise that he would have that in his pickup. He was ABBAs biggest fan.

My dad and I were very close. In fact, he was not only my dad, but he was my best friend too. He was the rock in my life that was always there for me in the good times and the bad times. When life threw me a curveball, I knew I could always count on my dad to be by my side offering and encouraging the strength I needed to keep moving forward. There was never a challenge too big that I couldn’t overcome. I always knew I had my sidekick who would be by my side every step of the way. I’ll be honest, I’ve been lost without my dad since he passed away. My dad took a piece of not only my heart, but my entire being when he left. I’ve been floundering ever since. I’ve made some horrible choices, I’ve been depressed and any challenge has been just too big for me to handle without my dad by my side. I have found it hard to adjust to life without my side kick. Sadly, I still have a picture of me and my dad on my night stand. I wake up to it every morning.

This past November, depression, anxiety and PTSD finally took its toll. I’ve carried a heavy load for a really long time. Not to mention, I’ve had one trial after another. I’ve tried so hard to keep my head above water but not having my dad by my side to conquer everything has proved to be difficult. I’ve prayed, I’ve sought the help from life coaches, I’ve seen spiritual healers…you name it. I’ve tried it. I finally accepted the advice of my doctors and began taking anti-depressants. I’ll admit, my doctors have encouraged me to take them for the past seven years but I’ve refused. I really believed I would come out of this depression and everything would be ok. I was wrong. Every now and then it doesn’t hurt to get a little help. Even when that help includes an anti depressant and in my case, counseling too. I am not allowing myself to feel like a failure because I had to get a little help. I remind myself this is short term until I get my emotional self back on track. The result is I am feeling better every day. I’m even laughing again. However, I’ll be honest that void of my dad is still missing. I still miss him.

Since my dad passed away I’ve only dreamed of him once. That is, until a couple of weeks ago. I woke up sweating. I had been dreaming about my dad. In my dream, he was so disappointed in me. He was disappointed in a number of things. That disappointment was heart wrenching. When I woke up I knew I had to get my shit together. I had to pick myself up and start living life again.

Yesterday, I was having a hard day. I’ve been dealing with an issue that has weighed heavy on my life as well as emotional health. I’ve been angry at myself for not having the courage to walk away from that situation that has clearly become toxic in my life. I went on my walk and just felt beaten and defeated. I prayed the entire three and a half miles. I found myself praying for clarity, wisdom and strength. I found myself feeling hopeless and gutless. I found myself wishing my dad was here to be by my side offering the courage I need to walk away. Better yet, I found myself wishing my dad was here to just deal with the issue for me. That afternoon I got in my car. I started it and when I did, Chiquitita was on the radio. I immediately thought of my dad. I remembered how much he loved this song. As I listened to the lyrics, it became clear my dad was speaking to me through this song. The lyrics really touched my heart and led me to believe it was my dad reminding me that he was still with me. He was also reminding me of who I am as well as the strength I have to finally let go of the issue and begin to move forward. I couldn’t help but cry my eyes out while driving in my car.

I don’t feel the need to share my challenge tonight. I will share on a later post when I can share I finally got through it. However, I feel the need to share this song as well as the lyrics tonight for anyone going through a tough time. Like the song, I’d like to remind you like the song reminded me, that while you may feel there’s no hope for tomorrow, the sun is still in the sky shining above you. It’s shining above me too. If we sing a new song and try once more, together we will be dancing once again. I can get through anything and believe me when I say, so can you.

Here are the lyrics:

“Chiquitita, tell me what’s wrong
You’re enchained by your own sorrow
In your eyes there is no hope for tomorrow
How I hate to see you like this
There is no way you can deny it
I can see that you’re oh so sad, so quiet

Chiquitita, tell me the truth
I’m a shoulder you can cry on
Your best friend, I’m the one you must rely on
You were always sure of yourself
Now I see you’ve broken a feather
I hope we can patch it up together

Chiquitita, you and I know
How the heartaches come and they go and the scars they’re leaving
You’ll be dancing once again and the pain will end
You will have no time for grieving
Chiquitita, you and I cry
But the sun is still in the sky and shining above you
Let me hear you sing once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita
Try once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita

So the walls came tumbling down
And your love’s a blown out candle
All is gone and it seems too hard to handle
Chiquitita, tell me the truth
There is no way you can deny it
I see that you’re oh so sad, so quiet

Chiquitita, you and I know
How the heartaches come and they go and the scars they’re leaving
You’ll be dancing once again and the pain will end
You will have no time for grieving
Chiquitita, you and I cry
But the sun is still in the sky and shining above you
Let me hear you sing once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita
Try once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita
Try once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita

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Sweet Seasons 11-24-18

When I was a young girl one of my favorite albums was by Carole King. I loved all of her music. In 1971, Carole released “Sweet Seasons”. I was six years old however, even though I was so young I loved this song. At the time I had no idea how much the lyrics of the song would resonate with my own life 46 years later.

The season has changed in Washington state. Winter is right around the corner. In fact, we saw early snow on Thanksgiving Day. The temperature has already dropped to 33 degrees. I’m not a fan of cold weather and I’m certainly not a fan of winter. Let’s just say, my favorite season is summer.

I woke up this morning and despite the cold, the sun was shining beautifully. I put my warm clothes on and went on my walk. I wanted to breathe in that rare winter sunshine while breathing in that cool, fresh winter air. I found myself reflecting on yet another season and the many that have gone by. I was reminded of this song I loved so many years ago and listened as I walked while allowing my mind to reflect on the many memories that have past with each and every season.

I’ve shared on many occasions that I have battled depression, anxiety and PTSD for a very long time. This past July, things took a turn in my life and I found myself no longer able to keep my head above water. My depression, anxiety as well as PTSD suddenly began to rule every part of my life. For those of you that are wondering, PTSD and anxiety are real. Depression is real. For me even a ring tone, a scent or a song can bring back the horrible memories I’ve tried so hard to hide. The racing heart beat, the overwhelming thoughts, the insomnia, fear, worry and feeling of hopelessness have been more than I could bare. Somewhere along the line, I snapped. Through it all, I somehow recognized I needed help.

Last month I finally accepted I needed the help of a therapist. My first visit, I ranted and raved. I had so much I wanted to say. The words were spewing out of me like a crazy woman. I couldn’t stop myself. I was amazed at the feelings I have kept stuffed away for a very long time. Still, after releasing all that stuff I was depressed, overwhelmed and I couldn’t breathe. The counselor explained that I had experienced so much trauma these past several years, I could no longer cope. She recommended an anti-depressant to help get some relief from the depression and anxiety and begin working on my healing in therapy. I have to admit, this wasn’t the first time an anti-depressant was recommended. Looking back, I was encouraged to take one eight years ago. I refused and have refused many times since then. My only excuse is I’ve always seen myself as a strong woman who could overcome anything. I was wrong. The result has been catastrophic. As it turns out, I’m not superwoman. I’m merely human. Like any human, I can only take so much.

Two weeks ago, I started a drug called Celexa. In truth, I was apprehensive but deep down I knew it was time. I knew I needed some help. Every day since then I have felt like a turtle poking its head out of his shell. Slowly but surely and very timidly allowing myself to come out of a fog I’ve been in for a very long time. I have begun to feel some clarity. Unfortunately, the clarity has also come with the realization of how many seasons have gone by since my depression first began. I am struggling with time. I realize it’s 2018 but for me I find myself waking up where I left off. This may sound crazy but for me it’s hard to grasp how I got here.

As I walked today, listening to Carole belt out this tune while reflecting on the many seasons that have gone by, I suddenly remembered. I knew when my depression first began. The memory was so vivid. It was Christmas night 2010. I was sitting on our recliner. The Christmas lights on our tree were the only lights in the living room. It was snowing outside. I was watching tv. I was so depressed that night, I remember wishing I could run away. I can still feel the way I felt that night. It’s hard for me to believe eight years have gone by. It’s hard to believe everything that has happened. It’s hard to believe 32 seasons have gone by and I’ve just been a character in this really bad nightmare.

I realized today, I have a lot of “stuff” I need to work through. I have so much wreckage to clean up. After all, it’s been eight years. I’m grateful for my therapist and I’m grateful for my meds but more importantly I’m grateful I’m coming out of this fog and entering reality. I found myself crying today. I was on my knees asking god for my life back. This life I find myself waking up to certainly isn’t the life I was living when my depression first started. So much has happened. So much trauma. So many losses. I know it’s going to take a lot of work but I have to do it. A friend once told me “when you’re rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go from here than up”. Eight years and 32 seasons later, I’m rock bottom however, as I enter my newfound reality, there’s nowhere to go from here than up.

In the words of Carole King “Sometimes you win sometimes you lose
And sometimes the blues just get a hold of you
Just when you thought you had made it“. But like the song there’s ” A sweet season on my mind” and this new season certainly appeals to me.

https://youtu.be/sbrO4rmbSPM

Life Is A Struggle Sometimes 9-9-18

I’m on my walk this morning. I love taking walks especially outdoors. I love the freedom and the peace that only nature can provide. I pray while I walk. I talk to god, I even yell at him while having a complete bitch fit. I’ve been known to call god the “F” word during my rants among other profanity. I’m not going to pretend I’m a saint by any means.

Being outside alone on my walk is about the only time I can think or vent when I have to. I have no idea if God can hear me. At times I wonder if he even exists but nevertheless, after I’ve made a complete spectacle of myself alone in the wilderness I put my headset on and listen to music. Today’s playlist includes “Little Guitars” by Van Halen. This señorita loves this song! Lol.

These past couple of months have been so draining. I have been so depressed. In July I found out the man I’ve been dating was cheating on me. That was a real blow. Somehow I didn’t see that coming. I battle PTSD and anxiety. This blow only intensified those battles. In addition, I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed with family obligations. One being my mother. That woman drives me insane. She demands so much of me. I’m a people pleaser so I spend my days pleasing everyone, including my mother while failing to please myself.

I’m struggling with insecurities about where I am in life. Last week I drove to Spokane to file bankruptcy. I have to admit, succumbing to accepting I could not dig myself out of the financial hole I’ve found myself in thanks to being sick was another blow. I feel like an absolute failure. I’m better than this or so I keep telling myself. I just can’t seem to find my purpose anymore. Ironically, I drove to my appointment with a ziploc bag full of change to give to any homeless person that might tug on my heart strings. I actually thought to myself “really Velma?! You’re filing bankruptcy but you’re giving away change?! What’s wrong with you?!! ” To add fuel to the Fire September 14th is the anniversary date of the day my life changed forever. It’s the day my dad passed away. I’ve been on an uncontrollable spiral of destruction ever since. I hate September. More importantly, after seven years I’m still heartbroken. I’d give anything to have one more day with my dad. One more phone call. One more joke. He always made me laugh. Losing a parent really sucks!! This is one of the last fun memories I had with my dad, uncle and cousin. We look like thugs but we were all together.

I thought I would share today not for any reason other than it’s my way of saying I get it. I know life can be a struggle sometimes. Some of you might be in the thick of a challenge right now. I post positive affirmations every day on Facebook, Instagram and even on my blog but I want you to know that I struggle every day too. My challenges may not be your challenges but they are challenges nonetheless. I’m sure some days you wonder if god exists. I do too. Everyone does. We are all human. All I know is we can’t give up. None of us can. We have to keep fighting and keep moving forward. Eventually good days come and we look back and realize how far we’ve come. Trust me. I speak the truth because I’ve been there. Have a great day!! 🌹

I Am The Warrior 5-26-17

Dictionary.com defines the word Warrior as follows:

“A person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier. A person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.”

In my opinion, Velma Perez Dunkin should be listed in the definition.  I am a warrior!  Up until now, I’ve overcome so many challenges in my life. I have taken on those battles and persevered. I haven’t always won however, I’ve always made it to the finish line!  A warrior is a person who shows vigor, courage, determination while persevering through adversities in life. That’s me!! 

I’ve always loved the song “the Warrior” by Scandal. I can certainly resonate to the lyrics when Patty Smyth belts out “shooting at the walls of heartache, bang bang! I am the Warrior”. I’ve experienced heartache more than once in my life. I have the scars to prove it. I am certain I don’t stand alone. There are many of us who face adversity everyday however, as Warriors, we persevere. 

I think the real warriors are those who have been brought to their knees but have managed to pick themselves up. Dictionary.com doesn’t mention the warriors who have battled cancer, overcome addictions, persevered through divorce or custody battles. How about all the single moms out there who sacrifice and fight every day to provide for their children? Being a single mom is hard work. It requires tapping in to that warrior spirit that lives inside all of us. To me, that’s a real warrior. 

I’ve had the privilege of serving those who are homeless. Words can’t describe what they have to endure. It takes a warrior to survive life on the streets!  I remember my friend James in San Francisco. He had been transferred to the Bay Area by his job. Suddenly the economy crashed. He lost everything including a place to call home. He found himself in a shelter. While in that shelter, he was stabbed and spent much time in the hospital recovering from the wounds. When he got out, he found himself living in a tent at a parking lot. His only friend was his chocolate lab.

He finally qualified for housing. However,  he was diagnosed with bone cancer. For those of us who have battled cancer as well as the treatment that goes along with fighting the disease, we can attest that it takes a warrior to persevere. James was a warrior. He fought cancer while living in a tent at a parking lot waiting for housing. That my friends is a warrior!!

There are men, women and children who are being abused every day.  Enduring physical, emotional and/or verbal abuse is tough business. It takes a Warrior to endure!! There are children being bullied at school. People overcoming PTSD, depression and/or anxiety. The list goes on. In my opinion these are real life warriors. It takes courage to persevere and overcome. 

Memorial Day is Monday. We honor all those warriors who have served our country and lost their lives in battle. For me, I not only honor those warriors, but I also honor and respect the warriors who are enduring their own personal battles every day. Life is hard. 

I happened to see a Facebook post one day posted by one of my best friends. She posted “Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates, You Never Know What You’ll Get”. I pondered that post for several days. After much thought and reflection, I had to disagree. While it’s true, life is similar to a box of chocolates you never know what you’ll get, but we’re talking about a box of chocolate!!! Who cares?! Chocolate is delicious! Who doesn’t love chocolate?! Life….Well it’s not always delicious!! In my opinion life is more like a box of jawbreakers with an occasional box of pop rocks. It’s tough and requires a lot of patience to get to the end while enduring the occasional surprises as well as unexpected explosions along the way. 

I’d like to encourage anyone facing adversity today to put your warrior gear on and keep fighting. Grab your guns and start “shooting at those walls of heartache – bang, bang!”  You’re a Warrior!  I’m a Warrior!!  If Patty Smyth is right the only way those pesky challenges of ours will win is “if they survive….the Warrior!”  That’s you and me! Today remind yourself “I AM the Warrior!! Victory is Mine!”  If you need a little motivation I’m sharing this video with you today as a reminder. I have used this song, among others, throughout the years as inspiration to remind myself “I AM The Warrior”. Face any challenge in front of you  today head on and kick some ass!!!