Did you notice how The Gremlin of fear just attacked you? Yeah, me too. Whenever that happens, my flame initially dims and I have to draw my strength from deep within to make sure The Gremlin doesn’t extinguish me.
The Gremlin is vicious, sneaky, manipulative, and determined to make you feel small.
But never fear. That Gremlin ain’t got nothin’ on me. It ain’t got nothing on you.
Here’s the secret you can’t tell The Gremlin. Come in close, where you can hear. When The Gremlin shows up, whispering evil nothings in your ear, that’s a reminder to pour on the lighter fluid so we can blaze like the star we’re capable of being.
So don’t be afraid. The other side of fear is faith, and unless you have both, you’ll never notice how radiant You can be.
I was on Facebook this morning reviewing all of my Facebook memories from my timeline. This memory popped up. I posted this on March 31, 2014 right before I was diagnosed with cancer. I was really sick at the time. My diagnosis came ten days later. As I read my post I thought to myself how grateful I am that I’m now home with my mother. After all, it’s been the support of my mother that has carried me through the past few years.
Some times I want to “throw momma from the train”. At times I even wonder what my life would be like if I could just run as far away from here and live my life to the fullest without my mother. My dad used to say “you only have one mother and one father. When their gone you have nothing”. My dad is no longer with me but thank god I have my mother.
As I pondered the following post it occurred to me that maybe the dream I had so many years ago was a message from my guardian angel warning me to go home to my mother. Looking back, I wish I had. Maybe fighting cancer with my mother by my side opposed to enduring cancer treatment with my abusive ex boyfriend, might certainly have brought a much better outcome than I have lived through these past four years. I finally realized that being home with my mother is where I’m supposed to be.
If your mother is still alive I’d like to encourage anyone reading this today to reach out to her. Tell her you love her. Spend time with her. In the end it’s your mother who will Be by your side in the good times and the bad times. It’s your mother who will love you unconditionally forever and always. It’s your mother you will call out to if only in your dreams.
March 31, 2014. “The other night I had a crazy dream. I am still bewildered by it. I can’t remember all of it, more importantly I can’t remember the woman in my dream. In my dream I was afraid of the woman and I knew I needed my mother. I woke up screaming for my mother. I kept yelling for my mother to help me. I didn’t remember any of this until Ron told me. It bothered me so much. I called my mom just now & can you believe she’s been dreaming about me too. She’s dreamt we were together & I was making her laugh so hard she was crying. It’s funny. As teenagers the first person we turn against is our mother. I know I’m guilty of that & I know my own kids have done the same to me as have the kids of many of my friends. Mothers are regarded as nerds. We are a pain. We drive our kids crazy. But when we are in a state of desperation or in need of comfort, love, encouragement or even a hug the first person we run to is our mother. I guess at this time in my life I need my mother. It’s weird since I always ran to my dad. Not this time. This time I cried for my mother. Be good to your moms today. It may come as a surprise but while we all need our mothers, they need us too. In my case my mother must need her goofy daughter to bring back the laughter we’ve shared for so many years. Here’s to my mother. I love you mom. Thanks for being the best mom ever. Thanks for loving me and always being the one I can run too. I miss you mom. Soon…very soon. I’ll be with you telling you stories and bringing you joy and making you laugh.”
As of late, the news media has been inundated with news of sexual harassment against women by powerful men in various industries. This has brought on the “ME TOO” movement. A movement where women are taking their power and dignity back.
Last week scandal broke in the White House. It was revealed that the presidents aide had abused his two ex-wives as well as his girlfriend. Despite his history, he was allowed to continue to work in the White House, even being considered for a promotion despite his abusive history. Watching this news has brought back so many feelings that I have fought hard for three years to overcome.
The president of the United States has defended his former aide citing what an incredible job Rob Porter had done while working at the White House. He has shown more concern about the abusers feelings than that of the abused women who endured years of abuse.
On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway made a comment that insinuated abuse only happens to women who are weak. I found her comment to be extremely insulting. I have always been a strong woman however I fell victim to a very abusive relationship. Abuse can happen to anyone!!
I watched the interview of Rob Porter’s ex-wife. My heart started pounding as I heard her describe her personal story. I couldn’t breathe. It was as if she was describing my own story. Her story really hit home. However, as I listened to Jennie Willoughby share, somehow I felt vindicated. I have spent the last three years suffering in silence. Humiliated as I’ve asked myself over and over “how did I let this happen to me?”
What I’ve realized is I’m not the only one this has happened to. I’m hopeful as I watch this movement of strong women come out swinging and take their power back. I’m hopeful somehow abuse will finally be recognized for what it is. Wrong! There is no room in society for any type of abuse against women or men for that matter!
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. On February 8, 2015, I blogged about my Valentine’s Day with my own abuser. I haven’t read it since I wrote it, but it popped up as a memory on my Facebook page today. I have said many times, Facebook has a way with bringing back memories that we’d rather forget. I’m attaching the link for those who would like to get a small glimpse of my experience with my abuser. An experience which I now know has a name attached to it. It’s called “gaslighting”. Once upon a time I loved Valentine’s Day. I haven’t been a fan ever since.
Three years have passed. It’s been a very long road for me. Healing takes time but it’s possible. I’m proof. I’m healing every day. I’m not mad anymore. The pain no longer rules my life. The memories are still there but that’s what they are. Just memories of a painful time so long ago. Today I’m healing and I’m hopeful again. I’m not yet the woman I want to be but thank god I’m no longer the woman I used to be.
I hope that by sharing my own story, like the many strong women across the nation who have inspired me by having the courage to come out and say “Me Too”, somehow, I can inspire other women to come out swinging and say “Me Too” also.
There’s a song by Tom Petty called “Swinging”. I am posting this song because it inspires me to believe that no matter how hard things get, I have to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep on swinging. I hope it inspires you too.
I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.
Fra Giovanni Giocondo (c.1435–1515) was a Renaissance pioneer, accomplished as an architect, engineer, antiquary, archaeologist, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar. Today we remember him most for his reassuring letter to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513.
Today is a “coming out” kind of day for me. My birthday is Saturday so to celebrate, I’m flying to San Francisco to spend it with my cousin, who also happens to be my best friend. I haven’t been back for a year and a half.
I left San Francisco in May of 2015 after a long battle with Cancer. I also left a tumultuous relationship that brought so much strife in to my life. I’ve spent the last two years hiding out in my room at my mothers house. It’s no secret I’ve not only battled anxiety as well as PTSD but I’ve also struggled to heal from the side effects left behind from treatment. I’ll admit returning to San Francisco is really scary. After all, my departure was not on good terms.
I was blessed to cash in some airline miles and bought myself a round trip ticket for $11.20. What a steal!! As the time draws closer to driving to the airport I find myself nervous and very fearful. I suppose because my return to my beloved city by the bay opens the door to having to face the reality of what I left behind and why. It also means going out of my comfort zone (my bedroom) and learning to live life again.
Life happens sometimes. Occasionally we run away from reality and sweep the wreckage of our past under the carpet. We become complacent in our “safe” place. That’s what’s happened to me. I’ve become very complacent in the comfort of my room at my mothers which has become my safe place. I’m excited to go to San Francisco. I’m excited to spend time with my cousin but at the same time I’m scared. I’m not sure what the days ahead have in store for me however, what I do know is I’m ready to take on the challenge.
Diana Ross sang a song called “I’m Coming Out”. This song holds a special meaning for me today. In so many ways I’m Coming Out. As I board my flight to San Francisco I recognize I’m no longer the same woman I was when I left San Francisco two years ago. However, I really like this new me. Saturday is my birthday. The beginning of a new year and a new me. What better city to launch my “Coming Out” as the new me than my favorite city…..my beloved city by the bay. Look out San Francisco!!! I’m coming back!!
I posted this on Facebook about a year ago. It showed up on my Facebook memories. I thought I’d share on my blog today.
My song today is the Tin Man by America. My son Skyler used to make fun of me for loving this group. He thought I was a nerd. This song is a favorite simply because the lyrics resonate with me. The tin man was a character in the wizard of oz. As you no, the Wizard of Oz is the story of Dorothy who finds herself hiding in her room during a tornado. The tornado lifts her house and she’s caught in the eye of the tornado. Ultimately her home lands in the Land of Oz on top of the Wicked Witch of the East killing her. Her mean sister wants to kill Dorothy but The good witch appears and puts the witches ruby red slippers on Dorothy telling her to follow the yellow brick road where she will find Oz and he will send her home.
On the way she meets the lion (he wants courage) the tin man (he wants a heart) and the scarecrow (he wants a brain). Together they travel this journey following the yellow brick road despite the many challenges along the way. They arrive at the end of their journey. Facing Oz is scary but as it turns out Oz is just a little old man who is harmless. Oz gives Dorothy and her crew what they already had. In other words, Oz didn’t have the power. The power was within themselves. Dorothy always had the ability to go home. The lion already had courage, the tin man had heart and the scarecrow had a brain.
Such is life. Sometimes we find ourselves in the tornado of life. We lack courage, brains and a heart to stay on the yellow brick road moving forward until we finally reach the end of the journey and the challenge is over. It’s not easy but we make it. We look back and realize we had courage, brains and a heart all along. The question is how did we use those God given gifts? Were we determined and never gave up? Did we use our brain to make wise choices and was our heart filled with love for ourselves? More importantly for others or was it filled with fear, resentment, grief, worry?
The moral is there’s always an end to the story. As we travel the journey it’s important we use the gifts given to us in a positive way. Have courage in everything you do. Use your brain to make wise choices and always have a heart filled with love not only for yourself but for others.
In life we pray for courage to get through each day. We pray for wisdom to make the right choices and often times we pray for love. The truth is we are praying for what we already have. We just have to find these gifts within ourselves. My prayer for those reading this today is that if you’re facing a challenge you will recognize the courage you already have to get through it. You will use your “brain” to make wise choices and you will have a heart filled with love not only for yourself but for others.
I’m reposting this blog today because Mrs. Ford was one strong lady and deserves to be recognized every now and then. She was the epitome of strength and determination.
I’ve had a lot of role models in my life. Princess Diana was one of them. I always admired her beauty and her kindness towards others. She faced so many challenges in life but yet faced them with class and dignity. I cried for a week, heck maybe even a month after she passed away. Angelina Jolie. What can I say. A beautiful woman with a philanthropic heart. I have always found myself looking up to women who are strong, determined, independent fighters who at the same time exhibit a desire to help others. Despite all of their beauty on the outside, these women were/have never been afraid to get dirty, fight hard and help others. Both awesome mothers.
I’m a strong woman. At times, I’m probably stronger than I know. I’m a fighter and my goal in life is to help others. I’m certainly not mother of the year but I love my kids more than anything. Despite these qualities, I hate to admit it, at times I’m a spoiled rotten little diva. The past few days have been a challenge. I have been in so much pain, not to mention, out to lunch. My mind has been so dazed and confused. Yesterday I could barely walk. In fact I found myself crying in the bathroom at home. Heaven forbid I’d let Ron or anyone for that matter, see me cry. I tried everything. Walking (too hard), meditating to ocean sounds, eating bananas, vitamins, Gatorade, Claritin (the nurse advised me to take it), water….the list goes on. Nothing worked. I found myself feeling sorry for myself. I was going through my emails when I opened one from The Serenity Med Spa. They had emailed me because they didn’t want me to miss out on their end of summer sale for Botox injections. I thought to myself “are you kidding me?! Botox is the last thing on my mind right now!” Although 2 years ago I would have been the first one in line waiting to take advantage of this very exclusive offer. In fact, 2 years ago, I was more concerned with what was on the outside then all the qualities I had on the inside. Cancer has humbled me in so many ways. Since 2010, I’ve written a letter to Santa every year asking for a breast augmentation. That won’t happen again. I’m guilty of many injections including Botox and Juverderm. I’ve been called a diva once or twice in my life and I’ve been called spoiled. Yesterday I was so frustrated I posted a comment on Facebook regarding my pain and my email. I felt like giving up. My girlfriend, Denise Ford, posted the following comment about her mother. I’m sharing it because after reading the courage and strength of Mrs. Ford and the admiration she earned from her daughter, I found myself ashamed to even complain. This woman was the epitome of strength, Courage and determination. A woman to not only admire but a woman to strive to be like. Next time I’m feeling sorry for myself I know I’m going to read this again as a reminder to never give up. I can only hope that one day my own children will be inclined to write a tribute about me with the same admiration as Denise did yesterday. Like I said, I’ve had a few role models in my life but Mrs. Ford not only earned my respect, she earned my admiration also. She is a true role model!!!! The real deal!!!
If I were to describe myself as a car I’d have to choose a FIAT. FIAT stands for Fix It Again Tony. I have a lot of fixing to do. My goal is to one day call myself a Ford. Mrs. Ford!!! She was Built Tough and she never gave up regardless how many miles she travelled. My advice to anyone reading my blog today is to print the comment below and keep it in your wallet. Next time you find yourself feeling sorry for yourself or wanting to give up, refer to this as a reminder to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. I know I will be doing the same.
Sorry you are so sore: I want to share a story with you, it might be a long comment sorry. ( I grew up with a mom who didn’t have a vain bone in her body. I do remember her working out and taking care of herself, but no makeup and always cowboy boots! She was a fighter like you Velma. When I was six we found out she had cervical cancer. She had 4 daughters and we found out because my mother who came from a family where she had 21 bothers and sisters, she was number 11. My mom had a 2nd grade education and began working in the fields and the orchards in the Yakima Valley, she was tough to say the least. We came home from school one day and she was on the floor in pain and agony, My sister called the ambulance and they told us that our mom would not live through the night because she had not gone to the doctor before that night to find out what the pain was from and the cancer had spread from her cervix through her female organs, kidney, stomach and had attached to her rib. The told her and us they were sorry and had the pastor coming to give last right. My mom looked at the doctor and said “bullshit if I am going to die, I have four daughters and no other woman is going to raise them but me! She battled hard that night and went through two years of Cobalt Radiation hell, but she lived 21 years! Raised her daughters. A true walking miracle of God as her doctor put it:) The toughness of my mom showed on her face and hands, she had skin tough as leather, but blue eyes soft and full of love and the most beautiful hands hard from working but so soft when she patted her grand kids backs, rocking them to sleep. I wish I had close up pictures besides just in my mind of those eyes and hands that told a story. That is what I saw in my mom Velma, the love she had, the life she lead, and the pure beauty of her and her soul. That is what I see when I look at your picture, the love you have for life, family and the beauty in you and your soul. That is a gift to give the world. Wear it proudly, you earned it!
I’m not sure where to begin as I write tonight. Today my friend Lola reached out to me from New Jersey. She called and offered me so many words of encouragement and more importantly she encouraged me to use my gift of writing in a positive way. Lola is a woman of God. She is filled with so much love and is a powerful prayer warrior. I’m so grateful to call her my friend. Lola prayed for me and encouraged me to put all my faith in the Lord, trust him and pray, pray, pray. After we hung up I found myself feeling hopeful. I have to admit, the challenges of cancer and my life in general has really brought me to my knees. More often than not, I feel defeated and hopeless.
This afternoon Ron and I had an argument. It was ugly and I felt sick about it. I didn’t have anyone to talk to so I got in my car and drove to St Dominic’s Church. Somehow going to church felt like the right thing to do. St Dominic’s is so beautiful it takes my breath away every time I walk through the door. I always feel a sense of awe when I’m there. At times, I’m in such awe, my eyes begin to fill with tears. It’s such an emotional experience. I lit a candle when I arrived. I got on my knees and prayed. As I talked to God, I found a sense of peace come over me and for the first time I felt as if the Lord had actually heard me. After I prayed, I sat on the pew and just stared at the altar. Finally, I stood up and left.
As I drove home, I found myself feeling peaceful. I wasn’t worried about going home and being greeted by the wrath of Rons volatile behavior. I trusted everything would calm itself and things would work out eventually. I prayed asking God for a small sign that he had heard me, even though I knew in my heart he had. When I got home, Ron was still angry. I opted to stay in peace and trust the Lord would take care of everything. Ron was still behaving irrationally, so rather than allow him to make me feel bad about myself like I usually do, I got my sweats on and went to the gym.
I love to listen to music when I’m at the gym. I have a very extensive playlist on YouTube. Tonight I pulled up my playlist titled “Cancer Bravery”. This list consists of songs that have somehow offered a sense of courage as I’ve fought cancer these past few months. As I went through my list of songs, I noticed a song by Stevie Nicks. I didn’t recognize it and truthfully, I don’t recall ever hearing the song, much less recall how it even made it on my list. I clicked on it and as I listened to the lyrics, the words began to resonate with my own personal struggle to trust in a power higher than myself to work things out for me.
I believe in God, as I refer to him. I believe he exists. Trusting him is another story. I think I’m not alone. I believe many of us are believers, however trusting in something we can’t feel, hear or touch can prove to be a difficult task. As I listened to the lyrics of this song, I knew in my heart God had heard me tonight. The lyrics describe my thoughts and feelings that have prevented me from letting go and trusting things would work out according to Gods plan, on his time and not my own. I’m continually on this roller coaster of “trying to believe you. I’m learning all the time”. Like the song, I know I need God in my life because without him I wouldn’t be able to breathe. However, I have this “love affair” with the him that’s as dysfunctional as my current and past relationships with all the men in my life. At times my relationship is up, while other times are down. I want to believe that God loves me. I want to believe he has a plan for good, but it’s hard.
Earlier this morning, my friend suggested I write a letter to God expressing how I feel. I couldn’t express my feelings better than the lyrics from this song so here it is….my letter to God.
Dear God (as I call him)
Take me if you need me, but never hold me down. You’re asking me to trust you, well there’s little of that around. I’m trying to believe you. And I’m learning all the time. Two-part personality, the flower and the vine.
Take me, sleeping angel. Catch me, when you can. Real love affairs are heavy spells, for a woman and a man.
I need you because you let me breathe, well you’ve taken me away. But never take me lightly, or I can never stay.
Someday, when we’re older and my hair is silver grey. Unbraid with all of the love that you have, like a soft silver chain.
Take me sleeping angel, catch me when you can. And unbraid with all of the love that you have, like a soft silver chain.
I’m a work in progress, Lord God, but I pray that you won’t give up on me yet. I’m a work in progress but I’m ready and willing to give you my best shot. Thank you God for believing in me and thank you for never giving up on me even on the days, I’ve given up on you.