Her Ghost, My Metamorphosis

Coming around….stronger today than yesterday. Accepting what I can not change, the willingness to become a better human, more alive than ever. Change is my friend; that is, my own metamorphosis. I welcome her, encouraged by certain uncertainties, as fearfulness is no longer at my core.

My girl at twenty-eight. She is gone. Evaporating slowly, years pass, growth through pain, there are few remnants. The unknown of her whereabouts, less frantic for me, more focused on her, the person she must be. Estrangement does not discriminate. Its core, its breath, equals change; for her, for me, her dad, her sis. Healing fosters change. Perhaps her healing definition does not jive with mine. She is my daughter, her own person, no more a “mini-me” than yours. Amongst the sky we share, love, baby. It’s the fresh sea air I breathe in, deeply enveloping my thoughts. No blame, there is now self-forgiveness, I am entrenched in love for her.

Love encapsulates most every decision these days; Love for myself, Love for fellow family, friends, perhaps, even strangers. Decisions are less cumbersome. I won’t perish if I make a wrong turn. I’ll still be here. Balance among uncertainty.

More acceptance of what I can’t change produces layers of peace. It’s lighter, fresh, as if never way experienced quite the same before. Sadness, I welcome; the understanding she shall wither, allowing for shades of contentment. Ebbs and flows, all within my grasp. Only I must let go when necessary.

Time heads forth, fear of what others think of me, galvanized in my memory, causing a great deal of dysfunction. Breaking through, embracing imperfection, thereby a raised sense of self, one who longs to give back, share her pain, love on those in need.

I’m with you.

We’ll find each other soon. ūüíú

Advertisements

What’s in a Name? YOU.

Written some years ago on my previous blog,¬†Life As I Know It, I wrote about my last acquiescence, how I reluctantly agreed to change my name, per my ex-husband’s request, post-divorce.¬†

The above blog post was written in 2014. 

It is now 2018. 

Beginning the process or renewing my passport, my name, once again, in question. 

Short version:

Married in 1985, I decided to hyphenate my name. I had this name for 27 years. 

Divorce in 2012, my ex, then stipulated I change my married name back to my maiden name. I complied. 

I remarried last year, 2017. My maiden name remains, though the marriage certificate states I’m hyphenated with my current husband’s name.¬†

Got all that? 

If up to me, I would’ve chosen to keep my married name following divorce and then change if/when I was to get remarried.¬†

Our names, given or otherwise, are our own. No one decides if one should change their name except oneself. 

Sweet friends, when going through the arduous complexities of divorce, listen to your little voice. If something that may seem mundane as a name change feels daunting, take notice. That shred of doubt is loud and clear. Speak up and be not fearful.  Surround yourself with people who dig you for you. Your thoughts matter.

We’ll find each other soon. ‚̧

Motherhood Beyond DNA

Am I pretending to be a mom while my kids remain estranged?

Two years ago my youngest brought this to my attention when she asked I stop sharing via social media, pretending she is my daughter and that we are close.

So defensive, in my initial reaction, I now understand her reasoning. She believes I left the family. True. She may or may not know I was told to leave. That’s true, too. Her beliefs are hers. Thus, how could I write, share photos, when it obvious to her, we were no longer related, albeit by blood only? I was no longer the mom she once knew. How dare I pretend to be a part of her life when clearly, it was my decision to leave? By the time I wanted to be her mom again, that boat had traversed through rough waves way too late. Trust is never a given. As much as it’s earned, it can easily be destroyed in mere moments.

A few photos of my girls scattered on a fireplace hearth, I, too, question the authenticity of being their mom. DNA is only one fraction of mother and child. Trust, I can assure you, far exceeds biology. Have I been fooling myself all these years, that the daughters I raised are still my children?

While her words sent me back down the rabbit hole for a time, it’s only now, their meaning rings true for me as well.

It’s so simple to say, “Of course I’m your mother, I gave birth to you!” As if that’s the only factor.

Oh, ye, of too much DNA.

Yet….yet….there’s this one issue called LOVE. Yep. LOVE.

Perhaps that’s the most authentic difference: I can’t NOT love my kiddos. It’s through the fiercest of love, regardless of our mistakes, frailties, or DNA, I am her mom. Her beliefs remain, my love for her grows. No pretending that, kids.

We’ll find each other soon. ūüíú

Gratitude, Half-glass Full and Wondering if I’m Dead or on a Long Holiday

Hey kids, streams of consciousness sometimes become rivers. Rushing rivers, even. While not my intent to ramble with little thought, it’s also a time to reflect, ask questions and think out loud.¬† I am grateful to you. Grateful to¬†anyone who resonates and finds comfort in my writing and/or video. Grateful I’ve taken steps towards vast amounts of vulnerability – the risk of further alienating my children, the risk of judgment from others, the risk of the unknown. Having tiptoed throughout¬†most of my estrangement, there is less fear. Tiptoe time has passed. Time to speak up. No big fanfare. Simply one mom, one voice. So much shame, embarrassment in discussing family estrangement, for valid reasons. This is scary shit. For those of us willing to put ourselves out there, huzzah. We are, perhaps, a voice for the fearful ones. Breathe. We’ve got you covered. When you feel comfortable tawking, we’ll be here listening.¬†

 

We’ll find each other soon. ‚̧

Happiness of our Kids

With estrangement, comes the plethora of emotions. Anger, devastation, confusion, disbelief. Happiness seems unattainable, out of reach. Those first years, happiness, non-existent,¬† displaced, replaced with loads of anger, mostly towards myself. Will I ever feel content again? It’s one thing to survive a child’s rejection, another entirely different experience to actually thrive post-estrangement and feel any sort of peace and happiness.¬†

Yet, it happens. It will keep happening. Happiness is a choice. It’s not overnight. It’s years and years of reflection, self-introspection, acceptance, and acknowledgment. If I sound somewhat repetitive, the repetitiveness¬†is purposeful; the consistent reminders needed to heal for those at the beginning of grief a parent never expected.

At this point, clarity is my new best friend. We are as one; delving into the nuances of a broken family, finding our way, individually. Working¬†collectively isn’t an option, as every family member must agree towards the path of healing, together. Divorce and estrangement, though common, are hardly a time for collaborative healing. Our paths are separate, as we only are able to look at ourselves first. The rest will come, or it won’t.¬†

Today, stronger, a sense of who I am, whom I’ve become, my children’s happiness now at the forefront. More steps forward.¬†

My beautiful friends, you are not alone. 

We’ll find each other soon. ‚̧¬†

Remorse and Self-Forgiveness: Feel It

Oh, remorse, as much as I tire of feeling you, I am grateful for your reminders. No longer entrenched in the same depth of pain as I was years ago, self-forgiveness continues through the battles of remorse. The two areas are as one on a healing journey of self. 

Understanding our behavior begins the path to understanding each other. Through the years of self-introspection, therapy, questioning, I’m now learning the balance of the dance between empathy, remorse and freeing myself a bit more from accountability. More of that in the near future. For now, coming to terms with how remorse impacts forgiving thyself post-estrangement. Here’s to more insight, kids. Keep feeling, keep doing.¬†

 

We’ll find each other soon. ‚̧¬†

Freeing the Cynic in Me

Cynicism has rough edges, the ability to squelch the joy that may be right in front of ones face. I used to be quite the cynic, at times, devoid of simple laughter. Choosing instead, to look at life, the perspective of all things from a darker hue than others. There’s a sense of arrogance, that somehow a cynic is smarter, funnier, hipper, than others who might not “get it” (whatever there is to “get.”) This was me for a long time – to a point. The heart of my person knew otherwise, though perhaps, cynicism¬†was a way to cope with insecurity. I could never quite gain the insight or courage to truly be myself, believing instead, the cynical part was a central part of my character. Niceties go a long way, though not sustainable. The underlying cynic in me manifested my self-doubt. Somehow I was able to portray a nice person simmering in darkness.

Then I met a non-cynic. He turned out to be a man of unlimited proportions. Like an onion, the layers were never-ending, though on the surface, the ability to laugh, enjoy life and not take himself too seriously. 

Non-cynics are not necessarily shallow individuals. On the contrary, their depth is to be commended. In¬†the relationship, I learned to let go of cynicism. This entailed me to see life with more joy. Gratitude is no longer a passing whim when I feel it should be, it is now centerfold of my foundation. Kindness is a strength, the niceties dissolved. Mom used to say, “Don’t ever equate my kindness for weakness.” Also, “Cari, don’t ever apologize for the person you are.”¬† Nice words, though lose their meaning if not demonstrated and practiced. While I appreciated her loving tone, I didn’t fully appreciate the impact until years later after she passed away.¬†

I married my¬†non-cynic. It’s a relationship filled with reality and commitment, joyousness and acceptance, appreciation and respect. I’m less dark, lighter, breathing as a woman fully entrenched in the present. Mom’s words speak truer each day. I’m living them. Once one discovers their¬†truth, there’s no reason for apologies. Mistakes,¬†yes, of course, yet mistakes do not define a person. There’s no end¬†to questioning life or a curious mind. Allow yourself the pleasure to be you. You, too, may breathe a bit easier.¬†

We’ll find each other soon. ‚̧¬†