Lines

Once upon a time I would have been too afraid to share this; too afraid to even write the following words- “Once upon a time I had a sister.”
It’s hard to know where to start this, if I start with the perceived loss or the mental illness, at the beginning or the end, past or present.  General consensus is that the ideal place to start a story is at the beginning but I don’t know where the beginning truly begins.  So I’ll start with what I see.
When I close my eyes and think of Jaeson I see a heap of lines–disjointed, at angles, some broken, some unending, so many, many lines.  Jaeson is complex, the lines can never really truly be sorted but can anyone’s lines be made sense of?
One would think that Jaeson would have started off as a single line but in truth my sibling started off as a small mangled ball of lines.  That’s what I see when I close my eyes and think of the past, when my sibling was my sister, when Jaeson was Jessica.
Thinking back I sometimes feel guilty for the mangled heap of lines, the ball of anger and frustration.  Jessica came into the world angry and the more we tried to understand the further and deeper she retreated.  I feel guilty because I prayed and asked for a sister.  She was outwardly hard whereas I was soft, this was our dichotomy and the way we existed.  The older she became the more the anger grew.  I couldn’t figure out if she was mad because she was alive or because she was struggling to find where she belonged.  Every day grew worse.  We were already walking on eggshells around one parent and we were forced to walk on them around Jessica, the triggers were never known.
Between the parental tension and Jessica’s sudden outbursts my life felt as though a constant pillow were being placed over it, air became scarce.  There was no place or person for me to turn to, no refuge on earth or heaven.  So I counted the days, the days when I could escape the house where surely there would be a constant supply of air.
When I left I greedily gulped down the air, allowing my chest to finally move when I breathed.  “I’m going to be okay”, I told myself.  And as I’m sitting there breathing, taking notes in class, I’m missing calls from home.  “Can you talk to your sister?”, they ask, “she won’t listen to us.”
“She pulled a knife on your brother’s friend.”
“She says she’s going to become emancipated.”
Every phone call there’s a new piece of information and if Jessica calls I hold my breath and hope for the best, praying that there won’t be a sudden outburst.
The funny thing about leaving hell is that you can never truly escape it, hell is a part of me.
I share DNA with hell.
And I’m carrying the entirety of hell on my shoulders.  I can’t tell anyone, that’s against the rules so I shut up and I carry it with me everywhere I go.  And hell starts to kill me.
First with anger, then with sadness so deep that the thought of carrying it anywhere hurts and then a cut here or a cut there.  While it’s killing me I’m still trying to throw life preservers to the people still in it.  I save one and then “come on Jessica–grab on!-grab it!”
I can’t save Jessica.  Jessica is trapped between two hells; one from which she can escape and one that they’ll have to carry for the rest of their life.
I see the link on their Facebook page and I’m wondering if I should look.  This is my sibling, I’m going to look.  The first paragraph of the photos explains that there is a person, a human who breathes air, bleeds, and feels just like the rest of us, who was publicly set on fire for wearing a skirt. . . . . with a man’s shirt.
This person is non-binary, existing somewhere between male and female.  Transgender.
Set on fire.  A person, a human being.
My eyes are filling with tears because this could be Jaeson.  And all I can think is what that phone call would have been like, what it could be like-
Jaeson’s voice emotionally telling me-“someone set my skirt on fire for being transgender.”
Jessica is not Jessica.
Jessica is not my sister.
Jessica is Jaeson.
Jaeson is genderqueer.
Jaeson has a mental illness.
Jaeson is my sibling.
A heap of disjointed lines.  Is a heap better than a mangled ball?
There are moments when I long for Jessica, though it’s not Jessica I long for but for having a sister.   Mental illness robbed me of a relationship with my sister and started off my relationship with Jaeson on rocky footing.  Jaeson seems calmer but my mind-my mind frequently brings up images of Jessica-the mangled ball of lines.
I don’t want that heap of disjointed lines to be anything other than what they are, I don’t want Jaeson to be someone they are not.  I want Jaeson to be Jaeson.
Once upon a time I had a time I had a sister.
Here and now I have a sibling-that heap of disjointed lines belongs to me.

*Shared with the permission of my sibling and dedicated to them.  I love you Jaeson.

 

KStLI’m Stroked to Life aka Kendra.  After suffering a cerebral venous thrombosis at 25 I have found myself trying to drink in life, knowing that life is a gift and truly but a moment.  (For my entire stroke story you can click here and here)
I’m a mother, a writer, an art lover, a design appreciator, and in my spare time I love to curl up with a book.
I want people to know that even after the worst of experiences there is life after the ickiness and it can filled with as much beauty as you choose.
If you can’t find me here you can reach me at strokedtolife@gmail.com.

But what if this moment sucks?

I was a pretty flighty child. Imaginative and dramatic. I became adept at turning chores into Cinderella stories. My creativity let me change the dull reality, pretty easily.

But that wasn’t always the best.

When I imagined myself out of the real world, important things wouldn’t get done. Homework–was a big one.

***

A Mom I know, who has a struggling baby in the NICU recently posted on her Facebook status something about needing a change of attitude, that she was having a hard time, and needed to stop whining.

It hit me like a giant wave–“Wait. Stop! You can sit in sadness and still be okay.”

I quickly penned something about how being authentic and recognizing the hurt and hard times is okay.

I prayed that I wouldn’t offend her but I offered this:

“Call me crazy, but I think it’s okay to feel down sometimes. Jesus wept for Lazarus. You can be authentic with your feelings. You are going through incredibly hard things, and of course that can be overwhelming. I guess what I’m trying to say is: there are times when we feel down and know we should buck up so we do, and there are times when we’re down and we know we should have a good cry. And The Lord is there for both times. My caution is to not bottle it up, and just survive with a smile if you’re not in that “place.” (and hey, sometimes that’s all we can do!) But I’ve found that sometimes a tear-soaked prayer can be amazingly cathartic. Sending lots of love.”

Little did I know I would need my own words this week.

***

My little’s got Hand Foot Mouth, and as much as I want to be distracted and wish it away, that burning fever, the sores make me very much present.

How do we ‘live in the moment’ even when it sucks?

With gratitude.

And so, after some tears,  I’m going to be Pollyanna and play the glad game, until I realize that being in this moment can be full of gladness and gratitude too.

Then I won’t have to pretend that I’m someone, or somewhere else.

KjirstenKjirsten Flores is the lady behind the lens at K.Flores Photography. She’s an artist, a teacher, a photographer, a wife, and mom trying to find a balance.

At my core

Thirty-seven years of uncertainty bubble up inside me as I read the words on my phone. Confusion, hurt and anger fight for priority in my heart. The words are like a hot knife in butter, cutting me to my very core. Only someone with complete access to my heart could have the power to inflict pain like this. Anger wins as I shake and curse and try to work through the events that have led me to this point.

Anger does not last forever though. It gives way to the deepest sorrow I have ever known. Deep, racking sobs come from a place I rarely give thought to and continue even after the tears are gone.

Not all tears are cleansing. The first ones are hot and bitter and angry. Pain washes through me. I feel betrayed. My instinct is to shut off my heart and protect, but the dam is broken and I can do nothing but feel. The pain, the hurt, the betrayal, the confusion and the sorrow feel like they will swallow me whole.

Hours turn into days and days turn into weeks and as I peel away at the layers of grief, I am surprised at what I find. At the very core of me, stripped of the betrayal and hurt, is a confident woman, no longer afraid. Words cannot hurt what I find at my core. The only hurting that can be done here is done by me.

What do I believe about myself? What is truth? I’ve known for a very, very long time who I am but thirty-seven years of uncertainty had wrapped itself tight around that core. The false beliefs, the lies from the adversary, and deeds born of jealousy had weaved their way into my heart.

Like stripping paint from wood, the hurt and betrayal served to me has worked it’s slow, painful magic and is starting to reveal the raw, natural grain of my soul. As I seek for truth, I am learning to love and be gentle with myself. Some will follow my example. Others will fall away. Truth and love feel happy and free. Light attracts light. Wrapped in an ugly package, I have been given a beautiful gift. For after thirty-seven years, I am choosing to be me.

Me

Most days I am hanging on by my teeth and praying for a miracle. I’m always trying to do more than I’m able while dreaming of curling up with a book and doing nothing. My husband and I have four awesome kids whom we love dearly and we spend most of our time trying to keep up with them. I can’t remember what free time feels like. I worry about the day when all my kids leave the house, but I’m taking life one day at a time and trying to enjoy the journey!  Sometimes I blog over at www.fairbanksphotography.blogspot.com.

This Moment

IMG_1459
This is my moment

Right now life is overwhelming.  There are a lot of sleepless nights and I’m not sure if I’m going to be able get everything that I need to done. So instead of trying to figure it all out and wondering how it will all come together, I’m taking it one moment at a time.  Because sometimes that’s all you can do- live in the moment, this moment; and this autumnal moment is beautiful.
“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”–Maya Angelou

KStLI’m Stroked to Life aka Kendra.  After suffering a cerebral venous thrombosis at 25 I have found myself trying to drink in life, knowing that life is a gift and truly but a moment.  (For my entire stroke story you can click here and here)
I’m a mother, a writer, an art lover, a design appreciator, and in my spare time I love to curl up with a book.
I want people to know that even after the worst of experiences there is life after the ickiness and it can filled with as much beauty as you choose.
If you can’t find me here you can reach me at strokedtolife@gmail.com.

Dana Post – Legacy

grandma r

Back in the spring someone very important to me passed away, my hubbie’s last living grandparent, Grandma R.  In every way important she was like my own flesh and blood grandmother.  She loved me from the day we met, no questions asked, she just loved me.  I was blessed to be loved by her for almost 12 years.

At her funeral the majority of her great posterity was in attendance. It was quite a sight.  But what was the most memorable thing for me was hearing of the woman that we were celebrating, her life before being married and having children to the day she passed.  The overall theme I kept hearing was, she was a loving mother and kind to anyone and everyone she met.  She left a legacy of love and treating those around her with kindness and charity.  Don’t get me wrong, she was a spicey little firecracker and she probably would be the first to say that, but she was one amazing woman.

As I sat there contemplating this question and it kept running over and over in my mind, “what is the legacy I want to leave behind?”  This question made me stop and truly evaluate myself.  It was hard, I know I have some work to do. As I try to live my life in the moment daily I am asking myself this question, as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. “what is the legacy I am leaving behind?

DanaI am a stay at home Mom of two sweet girls. I am a half Asian half Hispanic girl who grew up in Southern California married to a white boy from Colorado. I am an identical twin. To be perfectly honest, I feel completely inadequate to even attempt to write down my thoughts, but here I am regardless. This opportunity is me trying to put a small part of myself outside of the box. There are a few things I know for sure but many things I feel passionate about. I hope that through this experience not only can I grow but someone somewhere can relate to the things I share. I would love to hear from you, you can reach me at danavehar@aol.com! Happy reading!
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