Reflection

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All About Me

It was a dark and stormy night…

I was born in Pullman Washington, the day after Mother’s Day, May 10, 1976. There were compilations, I had two seizures and spent two weeks in an incubator.

My parents…

My mom was born and raised in Seattle and my dad grew up in Wenatchee WA. They meet at Washington State University in Pullman WA in 1973. They were married on June 22, 1974.

My dad worked in radio he had a BA in journalism and communications. I have a photo of him performing in a play called “Under Papa’s Picture.”

My mother has a masters degree in early childhood development and has mainly worked for non-profits as a case manager testing children’s learning abilities.

My brother was born January 14th 1980, a healthy baby boy named Chip. In May of 1981 my parents moved to Alaska. McGrath AK, in the middle of nowhere.

Where my dad ran the public radio station KSKO 870 am and my mom worked for various social work agencies. She also tried running her own daycare for a while. Needless to say it was a isolated, structured upbringing, school, work, activities ect..

My youngest brother was born November 12th 1982, Marcus. In 1988 we moved to Fairbanks AK, where my dad was unemployed for two years while my mom worked (he wrote a sci-fi novel) while unemployed. Side note I never got to read it and it’s lost forever, at least to me.

In 1990 my dad went in for an interview at a radio station, and ended up  being News Director of KTVF an NBC affiliate in Fairbanks. My dad suffered his first heart attack in September 91.

In April of  1992 I got to travel to New York and sing in Carnegie Hall with my high school choir, I was 15 years old.

In November of 92 my mom moved out, she left. She also let a con-man of a boyfriend move in and bleed her dry financially and emotionally. He ended up marrying some girl he met online after spending five years with my mom.  

My dad got remarried May 22, 1995 to a strange German lady he met pen-pal style that was from New York. On Tuesday June 13, 1995 after returning from his honeymoon my dad was having chest pains and went to the hospital. He refused treatment and signed out AMA Wednesday afternoon, on the morning of Thursday June 15 he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away around 1:15 am. My dad’s widow was nice enough to hold his funeral on Father’s Day.

The insurance was a mess, because I was an adult, (I was 19) and my brothers were minors and my mom was divorced. My dad had never added his new wife, I got my share in cash and my brothers were set up with a guardian account my mother being the guardian. The money let me go to school and move away from my mother.

I went to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, (the piece I wrote called Tripping Through My Memories is the first semester after my dad died) I didn’t finish, I ran out of money and didn’t see a point in it at the time. I also meet Mike at UAF. He helped convince me to move out and live my own life. (with him)

For a while Mike and I both worked, we had friends, roommates came and went. In August of 1998 Marcus got sick, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that was already consuming his neck and lungs. My mom took him to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital and they resided in the Ronald McDonald house. My mother never spoke to me directly about what was going on, I heard everything second hand through Chip or my Grandmother. He passed away April 30 1999.

On December 13 1998 I got on a plane by myself and flew standby into Tulsa OK, a friend from high school lived in Stella MO and I went to stay with her. In February I got Mike to also join me in Missouri.

We worked, then I got pregnant with Christopher and flipped out, (mainly from the morning sickness.) We drove to Michigan to see Mike’s parents. Ended up living in Michigan for seven months, both of us working part-time and making no money.

Mike had a friend on-line that said come to Colorado there’s better work. So March 2000 we (me at eight months pregnant) drove to Denver CO. We made things work in Denver for two years, moved outside of Denver to Greeley. Where roommates made things worse and we went back to Michigan. November 02 to November 04 we made it work in Michigan, Mike working me taking care of Christopher, we hung out with Mike’s parents they were bowlers.

November 04 we moved back to Denver (in with the same friend from 2000) and made it all work once again for three years. Side note February 13, 2005 Mike’s dad passed away and we took a quick trip driving back to Michigan for the funeral. November once again in 06 we left Denver and drove to Kansas City, Kansas, which is where Mike’s younger brother was at the time.

At this point I do realize that we have a pattern of moving on average every 2 years 10 months. Optimism that the grass is greener on the other side or that there is something more or different to experience. We hung out with Mike’s brother for two weeks it was crazy and strange, we ended up back in Stella, MO (of all places) We needed shelter and that was the only friend I had at the moment. (the friend from the Reach piece with the cats) So more craziness, that lasted till March 07, at that point we pack up and drive west, thinking Seattle but making it to Ogden UT, and re-evaluate. Mike’s dad was Navy so he has lived everywhere even overseas and in Iceland. When he was 14 his dad was stationed as a recruiter in Grand Junction CO. So we ended up there March of 2007. First time we were homeless and had to learn things as we went.

I learned a few things the hard way but it all ended up ok, Mike got to work and we had a decent apartment. Grand Junction CO a small 60 thousand ish population, college town, boom bust town because of the oil and gas industry. Mike was making good money and we were stable, then the bottom dropped out. April of 2009 everyone every where was laid off, we made unemployment work and I worked at a assisted living facility as a residential aid, I lasted a week.

June 2010 we could no longer pay rent and drove to Denver, thinking we had one more unemployment payment, (we didn’t) we had to sleep in our Jeep, I found a family homeless shelter program, we did four week in that program, during the second week someone hired Mike to help paint fences and do landscaping and odd jobs.

We moved into a motel, with weekly rates $220 a week. It was gross, bed bugs and all. Crazy people ect… We lived there for two years. (WTF why did we stay so long) Mike worked in the tire industry almost always in the 20 years I’ve been with him, and it takes a toll on you, physically. He has also gotten hurt quite a few times on the job. Another factor to moving so many times always looking for something not so strenuous.

June 2012 we left Denver and drove back to Grand Junction, getting on our feet a little quicker this time because we knew what needed to happen. Once again making it work for three years, then burnout and exhaustion of putting up with stupid people we moved to Seattle.

*I haven’t updated this and probably won’t*

 

Looking Back

It’s my Birthday and it’s my blog so I am going to ramble a bit about life. When I was born on May 10, 1976 my dad made sure to keep the Newsweek magazine of the same date. He put it in my baby book and it’s still there. Full of cigarette, alcohol, and car ads, a piece of history.

A couple other things I have from my dad, are two copies of the weekly newspaper that he helped put out when we lived in McGrath Alaska and he was manager of the radio station KSKO. The two copies that I have I was given by my Grandma when my Great-Grandma passed away, they were sent to her by my mom, they have pictures of the 4th of July parade that me and my younger brother Chip participated in. The other issue has pictures of me and my 4th grade classmates from a class trip to Anchorage Alaska. I don’t remember a whole lot about that trip except that they took us out for a nice Chinese dinner and then took us to the carnival. That’s a bad combination, for a handful of  10 and 11 year olds, a few got sick.

I also have a few postcards and a letter that my dad wrote me while I was away at Girl Scout Camp, yes I was a Girl Scout for a few years. My mom was our troop leader, we sold cookies, earned badges and I attend Summer Camp two years in a row. Camp was interesting, first year I had a counselor that read us Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye, which was a short story titled General from his Night Shift collection. The second year I managed to fall, trip down a hill and smack my right hand into a tree, thus spraining three fingers. I am not really one for outdoors.

The other letter I have from my dad was one he wrote for my choir teacher, she had all the freshman choir students do a sleepover and had the parents write letters. My dad’s letter to a 14 year old me is one of my prize positions.

Then there’s the prom picture and graduation photo. The guy I went to prom with is the guy I lost my virginity to, also the graduation photo had to be airbrushed because I had a hickey. Then there was high school graduation, I don’t recall a whole lot from the actual ceremony, except that my cap fell off while the senior choir members, me being one of them, were performing.  

The the last two photos are of me and my Grandpa, one of the only pictures I have of the two of us. And my self portrait that I did for my photography class in college, which is me in my dorm room.

Like I said rambling to you all as I flip through a box of memories.   

 

Reach

I am just going to start and we will see how this ends up, I keep some notes I wrote while being homeless last summer, so here it goes.

How to be homeless—find all the resources you can 211 information line is a wonderful start. You will need a phone book, (I stole one out of the motel we stayed in) and a detailed street map. (Had to buy one for $7 at a Fred Myers) Find a shelter program get all the local information possible. Things like where to shower and where you can use the bathroom.

Salvation Army feeding programs, hot meals or bagged lunches. Locate food banks and church pantries. Some shelter programs have communication issues between their staff and volunteers. Day Shelter vs Overnight Shelter- Rules know all the rules, find out the rules. Especially if not told up front, don’t break the rules. Engage the staff learn the routine.  

Sitting at a park, because hello, public bathrooms, which are very important to the lost wanderer. Listing to the constant traffic, planes taking off and landing repeatedly and the buses that run every 10 minutes all day every day. The city is loud, since being here I haven’t heard any silence. ( I miss the quiet)

Why do we –people make life changing decisions based on emotion? Where does that deep seeded feeling of wanting to find something better come from? You’re here it’s stable live your nine to five day job life and be grateful for what you have. Even if your not happy or healthy.

Nope- there are those of us that jump without a safety net, maybe we are delusional or crazy, or we just haven’t found where we are suppose to be. Maybe we have to venture out of the box to know that existing in the box is OK.  

It’s the little things, like privacy, getting to be naked in your own space, being able to cut your hair or toenails, without an audience of strangers around. The bathroom- that you take for granted- is the place you miss the most. I give props to this particular public park for its upkeep. Although having the bathrooms closed on the 4th of July was a bit annoying.

So you pack up your life into your vehicle, one of the things that you own outright and you drive. You have a point B in mind however the point B is never what you expect it to be. How is it that people that are given, a stable life ie- a house, money, a place to come back to, squander it. I am sorry but you have a house- that is now trashed, with stuff.

Two cases first a girl I meet in Jr. High now lives out in the middle of nowhere, because that’s where her parents retired to, was given land to put her home on and she managed to bag an internet husband. (I know harsh, but seriously) So he works she stays home and sleeps almost all day every day. In a nice four bedroom two bath house that is completely trashed, because she’s depressed, a pack rat (hoarder) and then there are the animals (oh my god the fucking animals) To many cats to count, a hand full of dogs and some full size aquariums all living inside.

All I want is four walls, a ceiling, floor and plumbing that works. A place that I can be safe, happy and clean. To raise my family in and to be able to enjoy our life.

Second case- eight years after witnessing the sad state of the first friends living conditions, we ventured out to our point B once again someone I knew back in High School that I had reconnected with over the lovely world of social media during the last few years. So we stop by and once again here is a house- totally trashed- by laziness, hoarding and depression. This person has two kids, a few cats, a dog, and her mother all living in what use to be a very nice house, with tons of potential.

Crazy, maybe I am missing something, are there more people living this way than I am aware of? Or am I just a little too OCD- with wanting the daily functions of life to be clean and organized.  I am not making labels for every shelf but I am wanting laundry done, dishes done, floors clean, general straightening up of the living space, and a clean bathroom.

But NO I am the one sitting on hard, cold metal bleachers, looking out at a softball field, listing to the constant traffic trying to figure out how to get back to a status of OK.  

 

Poetry

Clarity of Thought

What does it mean,

to think, to understand,

to reflect, to learn.

Why does your heart lean one way

and your mind the other.

good and evil,

right and wrong,

clarity of thought.

Understanding the feelings that pulse through my mind,

Why is one right and the other wrong.

I can’t clear my mind enough to get the time that I need to catch my breath.

My body is tired and rundown, exhausted.

But my mind is awake to everything.

Ready to pounce upon anything that comes it’s way.

How can my mind be so energized and my body so tired.

I have no clarity of thought.

I don’t know or understand why my feelings are so mixed and conflicted.

I am mad at the world but at the same time I want everyone’s sympathy and compassion.

 

Never

I have never seen a sunrise over the ocean.

I have never kissed a sweet loving kiss, that tasted of warmth.

I have never been loved with the love only found in a peer.

To be all these things is my only request.

That before my dying day I find trust and love.

To kiss to have the warm breath of another against my lips.

As sweet as honey, yet as pure as a cool breeze on a hot summer day.

To feel his warmth move through me, to have his lips linger upon mine.

Like the morning dew on the petal of a rose.

To hold his hand in mine, firmly but gently.

Protecting me from heartache.

The love I’ll find within him.

If only he’d let me.


Friend

Why I consider you a friend,

You are always there to listen,

Not to judge and criticize.

To enjoy the good times,

And to get through the bad.

You’re the only one who hasn’t left me.

And when you do leave for various periods of time,

You always come back.

I feel that you’re the only one who cares,

About me for who I am,

And not what I’ve done or might do.

You have helped me unlock and open,

So many hidden doors.

Thank you for being a friend, I love you.

You’ve shown me more compassion and trust,

As well as showing me more of what life has to offer,

Than anyone else.


His Eyes

His eyes are the color of the wide open sea.

His deep yet sententious voice,

Has the power to captivate me,

His hair shines like gold beneath the warm midday sun.

Be it through the gates of heaven,

Or the red hot flames of hell,

It is him that I follow.

And without his love, compassion and friendship.

I would have been lost.

He holds me safe from the cold cruel world.

He fills my soul full of life,

And my heart full of love,

That it sends me soaring like a dove.

He is honest with me,

And I am true to him.

I shall be his and he shall be mine,

For now and for all time.


Life is Like

Life is Like…
A dozen roses, all standing straight,

Full of beauty, an arousing aroma of peace,

A symbol of love and respect.

But only stay for a short while,

It brings feelings of happiness to a lonely heart,

Then fades away, so quickly to remind us

How limited our time is.

It fades away, losing a little more beauty each day,

From a bright bold color,

To a darker duller stain of color.

Its leaves dry and crumble to the surface of a table,

To be brushed away.

Its petals wither, curling the corners,

To shrink slowly in the midday sun.

Till it drops, fallen over, given up on itself.

Allowing gravity to take over,

And finally it dies.

Showing how soon we forget about time,

And the value of our own lives.


No More

I use to be happy and carefree,

But then something happened.

Something that made me not want to feel anything anymore.

My father died and everything changed.

From the moment the phone rang at 12:45 am,

My world was put on a roller-coaster.

All I felt from that point on was hurt and sorrow.

I am tired of feeling all these feelings of pain,

It has made me numb to any and all other feelings.

All I want is to be able to depart from this roller-coaster.

That all started the night the phone rang.

To have no more sadness and no more pain.

To have a time that is quiet and calm to be able to sort these feelings out.

To find my balance and clarity of thought.


Who am I…

Who am I?

Why am I so sad, why do I need to be held and comforted?

Who am I to ask such a selfish question?

I have always taken care of everyone else around me,

So why does this person, this stranger want to help me?

Someone not worth helping, I don’t deserve anyone’s help.

All I want right now is my dad,

I want him to hug me and to say that he loves me.

Why am I left to suffer from his selfishness?

He left me for his own happiness.

I don’t ever want to hurt someone that way.

Which is why I am always taking care of those around me and not myself.

I am afraid that if I stop to take care of myself and am happy,

That I may be hurting someone else with my happiness.

So where do I fit in? When will it be my turn to be happy?

Who am I and where do I belong?

One thought on “Reflection

  1. Reblogged this on Cch217 and commented:
    I had something clever to say about sharing this, but then I read it and listened to the video, (which listening to yourself is weird) Enjoy the glimpse into my life. 💙

    Like

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