The Skin Beneath

My puffy eyelids barely lifted to see the reflection of blurry eyed slits glaring back at me. Tears trickling down the strange perfectly made up cheeks, began to melt layers of paint. Layers meticulously applied to the flawed raw skin beneath. I watched, as make-up dripped from the emotionless face I didn’t recognize. My face. Everything that I was, everything that I had done to become this person I no longer recognized, leaked a colorful mess into the white porcelain sink. Blank and empty I stood and watched all the counterfeit bits I have plastered to my truth, through the years, listlessly fall away.

I touched a rag to the veneered face, hands heavy with weights I refused to put down. slowly wiping away the camouflage that I pretended was a part of me. With each scrape of lies, the raw ugly truth was uncovered. This concealer was for the time I lied to preserve my false integrity. This mask was the one I wore to convince others it was the other persons fault. As I scraped more plaster off the more I saw that all this make-up was just a facade, a false replica of what I wanted people to believe I was, who I wanted to believe I was.

The image. The perfect image, I created, all the costumes and masks I bought and paid for with, ego and self perseverance, slid down the drain. every drop of expensive covering tricked down more effortlessly than it was to maintain. The realness of my flaws was the only thing left. A bruise here, a gash of open flesh there. My bleary eyes glanced over to the make-up I used to hide my raw self. I considered plastering chemicals to my face to hide the inadequacies I didn’t want to look at. instead I pushed the iridescent glass bottles filled with plastic illusion off the counter, a small smile spread across my soul as they shattered on the cool marble.

The egotistical image was dead. The train wreck of my truth, the messes I participated in, my wrongs, my sins, longingly glared back at me begging for acceptance, and forgiveness. That’s when the real work began. I began to suture the deep purple gashes on my character, I started to let my skin heal. Instead of covering up the wounds I created I began the work to change them. I sank into my own skin, and accepted the responsibility of my scars, accepted the skin beneath the make-up. I wear my own skin as raw as the truth inside me flaws and all.

Choices in our Salad Bar Life

Life is like a salad bar, but unlike a box of chocolates, you know what you are going to get. Everyday we have the option to choose between the macaroni salad and the cottage cheese. Choices laid out in front of us, everyday make up who we are and what we become. It all seems simple enough, but ultimately what we decide to fill our plate with is what makes up our meal. A seemingly non-life changing choice to eat cheeseburgers every day, will eventually end in high blood pressure and stroke.

The problem with so many options is, we want it all, but beets and chocolate just don’t mix. We may like both, but only one will get us to our perfect salad bar plate. If we want to live true to ourselves and practice what we preach, we can’t always pick what feels good in the moment. We have to continuously make the choices suited to our goal.

If anyone were to look at my personal Facebook page, they would meet the me that I pretend to be: kind, confident, has it all together, adventurous, perfect me.  Happy perfect faces we scroll by on social media are really just snapshots of the we want others to see. I wish I was the person I portray myself to be. The reality of my life is much different from that Utopian world. Just as we pick and choose what photos to post, we also get to pick and choose what actions we take.

I have many goals in life. I want to be a writer for instance, but when I belly up to the salad bar I don’t always choose the options that will further my goal. Finishing that article versus drinking with friends?  I know what I would prefer to do, but I also know what I should do. I have to ask myself daily, am I who I want to be? What choices can I make today to get me there. Sometimes the simplest things prove to be the hardest.

Like the salad bar, adding a poor choice to an otherwise perfect salad can ruin all the previous choices. When we decide to pick and choose what rules we want to follow and when we want to follow them, we struggle to live true to our ideal selves.  If I want to be in shape and loose weight, I know it will take hard work at the gym, and I will have to make the choice of spinach over cake. The same goes for any religion you practice. Can you treat others how you would like to be treated and then turn around, and show little tolerance for people you perceive as being beneath you. We may say we want to be good husbands or wives and then, act selfish and inconsiderate to our spouse. How often when the choices to be the better person come up do we act upon them? How often do we practice what we preach, choose patience over agitation, understanding over intolerance or love over hate? We all have free will to make whatever choices we want but if we are striving to be better we need to live the whole truth, not just picking the parts we like, when we like.

There is a quote in the bible I feel fits this very well.

“No one can serve two masters, Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can not serve both God and Mammon.”  Matthew 6:24

Two masters can mean anything. Perhaps its between who you want to be versus being comfortable. Maybe it is choosing between the religion you profess or something that goes against it. Unfortunately, in order to grow into our accomplished selves, we can only choose one master. We can’t always have both.

Sometimes we need to scrape the poor ingrained choices off of our plate. There was a point in my life where I lived for myself, I always choose fun over responsibility, and selfish acts over compassionate ones. My choices were leading me down a path that was against what I really wanted for myself, but it felt good at the time. All my self-indulgence just lead me to a unproductive and unfulfilled life. I had to choose differently.  Cleaning off your plate of poor choices is imperative for success. If we never clean our plate off and get rid of the things in our life that don’t fit, the overall picture we have for ourselves will never manifest. This could be people, habits, or whatever is in your life that doesn’t align with your goals or beliefs.  I used to be a loyal friend until the end. I would help you “bury the body” kind of friend, but then I figured out that I don’t have to go down with their ship. I don’t have to be an alcoholic because they are. Continually choosing against our ideals can guarantee continually being disappointed. Stop salad baring your decisions, and start making decisions that bring you to your goals. Maybe the macaroni salad, although tasty isn’t the best choice.

Life is hard, with a multitude of choices and ways to live its hard to pick between cottage cheese and the potato salad. There will always be the temptation to fall off your path or to load your plate with things you want in the moment, but you may regret it later. Some items are easier to clean off than others, but even if you have a sticky mess, it is best to choose the path that gets you closer to that ideal salad plate. At the end of the day, it is what you put on your plate that will make up your meal.

 

Poof He’s Gone

The sunlight is shining, through the smudged window on to his face, accentuating all the wrinkles that life has given him. All of his smiles, all his worry, all of life’s memories laid out like a map on his paper thin face.

He gasps for air, as if he has never breathed before, Things I take for granted. His brow is wet with perspiration.

I know, he is dying. He is not ready or willing, but it is happening.

I dab his face with a cold damp cloth. I am missing my thanksgiving dinner. I am missing the people who love me, because I am the only one he has.

I hold his clammy hand. Whisper to him, things I don’t know, I tell him that he has been enough, reassure him that the people who aren’t there love him. Even the worst of us deserve compassion.

The sun sets deeper, beams of orange light fall on his blanket, shadows cast across the wall. He is in pain.

I can’t help him. I have no pain medication to give him. The family forbids it, all the while they enjoy their turkey dinner. I hold his hand. I tell him he is enough. I tell him he is loved.  I watch his struggle for every breath. It is close.

His winkled face relaxes, and poof hes gone, it is over. His soul is gone. I know it, I am now the only one in the room. He is gone.

I could go home and love my family. but I prefer to be alone.

 

 

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ITS JUST LIFE

Its just Life, no one gets out alive.

Stop the worries, stop the stress, and please I beg you to Live. Do the things you never thought you could. Its just life, no one get out alive.

No One is guaranteed a  happy ending.

So go ahead make bad choices. Go ahead learn, but don’t expect things to go your way.

They won’t.

But expect to get back what you give in. You are not guaranteed a happy ending just because you were born, you have to try.

 

One Day

And one day she woke up. She was sick of dreaming. So she started living.

Alive

Theres so much Beauty in the pain and uncertainty of life.

We are often too focused on it at the time to see it.

But step back for a moment and you’ll see it, the sliver of Glorious bruises that make you.

Enjoy the painful moments because they are what make you feel alive.

There I Said It.

I Am unable to have children. <sigh> There I said it. I feel better now. Well not really.

It has taken me a long time to come to terms with my fate, destiny…whatever. Perhaps the hardest thing I have ever been asked to accept in my life. I say “accept” because that is exactly what I must do. If I fail to accept it, it will consume me, and I will become bitter and resentful, a person I actively choose not to be.

I can’t begin to put to words to the types of feelings and thoughts a young woman goes through when she finds out. It is a lonely place, and somedays it is impossible. There is no funeral, no outpouring of support, and no one bakes you a lasagna. Though I feel incredibly alone, I know I am not. Doesn’t help. Doesn’t make me want it less.

I have yet to share my feelings about my defective innards with anyone. I don’t like pity, sympathy, and other such ridiculous cliche’ spectacles. I don’t like it when people look at me like I’m broken, or they think because I told them they have to fix me.  I realize I have a problem accepting help and sympathy, I have a problem crying in front of people, and sharing my feelings. I am a work in progress. Whatever my emotional maturity level is, I know I need to let go, to keep moving forward.

I wanted to have children since I was a child myself. In fact when asked how many, my answer was 12. I loved the idea of a big family. I had dreams of rocking and singing my baby to sleep.  Proudly watching my babies eyes light up when he/she took their first step. Taking pictures of beaming little faces on the first day of school. My husband patiently helping them with their math homework. Kissing scrapped knees and hurt feelings. Boisterous family dinners filled with giggles and silly conversations. Nature hikes, family vacations, and soccer games. I dreamed of teaching them about life and love. I dreamed of recreating my fondest childhood memories with them. Building huge couch forts, Helping them through their first heartbreak, prom, graduation, marriage, and grand kids. Having something I can hold up to the world and say “I MADE THIS! and It is AMAZING!” I dreamed of experiencing that magical thing called un-conditional love. All of these things and more, will never come to fruition for me. When I am ready to leave this world, I will not be surrounded by the family I have built, I will most likely be alone.

As much as I try to, plaster a smile on my face there are constant daily reminders, of my unfulfilled aspirations. Although I realize these statements and suggestions are always given with the best intentions, I still need to vent the frustration that I feel behind them. Perhaps there are others out there who may relate, and in no way is this meant to thwart the good intentions of others, it is only my personal take.

” I have this friend who couldn’t get pregnant for X years then all of a sudden she did, so you never know.” For one, I am not your friend and your words offer very little comfort, in fact It seems like a one-up statement. Sharing your friends happy ending  just makes me want to slap the <insert expletive here> out of you.

“Why don’t you see a doctor, or try in vitro, lots of people who couldn’t have babies had success with it.” Right, all those medical treatments and the like are not guaranteed and cost tens of thousands of dollars I don’t have. So thanks, but seriously like I haven’t thought of that?!!

“You could always adopt” Your right I could, Not the same, but thanks, and by the way you have know idea the situation I am in, or how my other half is dealing or not dealing with this. Again I am aware of my options, and honestly I am not at that decision making point yet. I also don’t think I am ready for endless wait, and possible heartbreak when it doesn’t work out.

My real answer to all of these polite suggestions is the same “Yeah Maybe” as I bite my lower lip in order to hold back the frustration, in my voice.

“Do you have any kids? “Your getting old you should pop out some kids soon!” “Do you want kids?” All of these statements, even though they seem harmless are like knives to my empty womb every time I hear them. My general answer is some vague, yet cheery “Not yet”, or “still working on it.” I don’t feel the need to elaborate further, mostly because I don’t want to see your pity face, hear your solutions (see above) or answer your questions. Honestly the more you wish to talk about my barren belly the faster I want to get away from you.

“Bet your glad you don’t have kids”, ” You do not  know how lucky you are.” or any statement to that effect.  You don’t know how lucky you are to have them. Please continue  to tell me about my luck of having my dreams and goals shattered. Please continue to tell me how awesome it is, to be incapable of creating another human. Share with me how lucky I am to never  feel that unconditional love. Yeah Buddy, the gods have blessed me for sure. I usually respond with a small laugh, eye roll combination followed with a sarcastic “yeah”.

Just know that every baby shower I go to, I am reminded of what will never manifest in my life. Every time I see your baby photos on Facebook  I am imagineing a future that doesn’t exist. Just know that when you proudly talk about child’s accomplishments, I will be unable to contribute to the conversation. Please know that I don’t want to be this way, but I am. I am truly happy for you and your genius child, they are incredibly cute. But sometimes, it is just a reminder. It still hurts. I haven’t healed yet. Honestly, there will always be a place in my heart for the child that never was.

It takes a lot not to think about it every time I see a commercial, a family at the zoo, a new children’s movie, or simply walk past the baby section at Target. At first I just ignored it, then I cried about it, I blamed God. I found distractions, the gym, friends, work….whatever I could just to fill the gap. Now I know none of these distractions will help me face this, with every end to a distraction I desprratly seek to find another, only to repeat the messy process, over and over.

Perhaps like any other grieving processes it just takes time. I no longer blame God. I still cry. I am still searching for a new distraction. Right now, I find myself in a hard place. I really don’t know when I will feel ok. My whole life I assumed I was meant to get married and have babies, end. But now I need to find a new purpose. I don’t think I can be happy if I don’t.  Perhaps I can travel the world, climb mountains, and  explore the beauty behind my front door, and my past aspirations. I only need to take that step, leave my self pity behind me and keep moving forward.