Friday, June 26, 2015

The Origin of Pain (Part II)

Nearly three weeks ago, on June 7th, I began to experience a level of physical pain I haven't experienced in a long time.  Because of the sudden onset and intensity, I went to see a physician on June 9th.  I was referred for diagnostic testing.  On June 11th, I suffered from new symptoms and called the doctor's office to report it on Friday.  That weekend was Samurai's ballet recital, so even though the doctor wanted me to come in on Saturday, it was not feasible.  While that symptom resolved by Monday, I woke-up with an additional new symptom.  I emailed the doctor's office about that.  They referred me for additional diagnostic testing.

I continued to work.  I continued to take care of my children.  And because I refuse to take pain medication, I continued to suffer.

Yesterday I was in so much pain, I thought I couldn't take it anymore.  I considered taking pain medication.  Instead, I took my now daily dose of magnesium (natural anti-inflammatory) and continued through my day.

People who love me and had to watch me suffer, or who knew about it and had to think about it, all begged me to take pain medication.  The thing is, I know that there's a message there, in all that pain. And if I dull the pain, I'll never get the message.

So here's the message I was finally able to hear.  

The less I move, the harder it is for me to move.  The more I let the pain slow me down, the more pain I experience.  The longer I dwell in a place of pain, the more the pain immobilizes me.

I realize I said the exact same thing three different ways.  But I came to the realization on three different levels.  

Physically, I stopped going to the gym.  Partly because I have a problem with moderation.  Okay, entirely because I have a problem with moderation.  Doing real damage was actually a possibility. But it also was an integral part of my daily routine.  So "taking it easy" amounted to my body and brain becoming sluggish.  Maybe even lazy.

Mentally, I was also stuck.  In trying to sort out problems I'm currently having and really need to sort out (even more than I realized at the time), the physical pain just screamed out, "I'm here! I'm here!" until I was too exhausted to try and sort out the problems and gave-up.

Emotionally, I am bleeding to death.  My heart is trying to open to someone new, but there is this gaping wound from three years ago that hasn't healed.  As a result, I am bleeding all over the place.  I didn't even fully realize, until the pain immobilized me.

So here I am, with this lesson I've learned from all this pain.  And yeah, everything still hurts, but I know that I'm on the path to healing now.  

I will still finish out my battery of tests.  But when they all come up negative and my pain remains a medical mystery, I will know the origin of my pain.  And what's even better, I know how to make it go away.

I just need to keep growing.


Friday, May 22, 2015

The Origin of Pain

Rain, rain
Come again
Obscure the glare
Of the ancient sun
The Earth
My body
As one

I ask not
For yesterday
Though answers
Lurk like stalkers
In those dark shadows
Of my unexamined past

I ask not
For tomorrow
As they already
Come too fast
Too fast

But today
I cry out
In exquisite pain
As my battered heart
Works to open again

I stand
In judgment
Before no one
Except myself
Anyone else
Would surely
Be easier on me

Except him
Who only
Sees lies
Because his brain
Twists truth
And beauty
With his poison mind
Into an amalgamation
Which can only
Be left

Rain, rain
Come again
Obscure the glare
Of the ancient sun
The Earth
My body
As one

Friday, May 8, 2015


I dream
Of finding
On the tops of mountains
At the bottom
Of the ocean
Through the air

I imagine
Are there
Waiting for me
In your arms

I know
Are not as important
As the questions
The person
Who's asking

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Oops: A Late Birthday Letter

Dear Nexen,

I'm a couple days late on this one.  I apologize, I've been a little distracted.  Someday you'll come to understand the fleeting nature of time.  The game of hide and seek we play with it our entire lives. Anyway, I've found a little for you, for your birthday letter.

You sleep, upstairs, my little bundle of three who still has to remember to put up the third finger when asked how old he is.  It's okay, I also like to think I'm a few fingers younger than I am from time to time.

This year, so much changed.  You, things around you, things in the world, but nothing inside you. Inside you still lives the beautiful, cherished, (fleeting) innocence of a baby.  Your eyes still shine with unbroken, unconditional love and your heart, your heart remains unquestioning, knowing its own value and the value of the connections it has made.  I am very proud of this, because these things are precious and easily lost.  Your mind, your mind is always questioning, growing, becoming stronger. As is your body.  Taller, stronger, faster, more agile.  I will miss the unsteady steps and jumps of two as they fade away in(to) the leaps and bounds of three.     

My birthday wish for you is that this year, your third year, is your best ever.  As our happiness remains intricately interlaced at this early age, I will do my best to pave the way.  A little secret? Great happiness is on the horizon for me, and therefore us, I just have to be open to it.  Unfortunately, my heart is not the same as yours and being open, well, that's not currently my strong suit.  I can't know the future and hope I'm learning from the past but sometimes the line between what is a lesson and what needs to be let go is very blurred.

Maybe I just need to follow your heart, because mine is still in pieces.

Sheesh, this took a depressing turn.

Okay, it's time to get you all up and ready for school.  

I love you birthday boy, two days removed.  I am excited to know you this third year, and I wish us all happiness.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Things I can't say

There are things I can’t say
Or maybe
But I can make you feel it
Can’t I?

If I could bend time
Extract the pain from my heart
I’d meet you
With no reservations

And then
I could answer all your questions
Tell you all
You want to know

But my superpowers
Are too limited
Too relative
And my heart
My poor heart
Is still tender
To the touch

I can feel it
Getting stronger
And my mind
Getting weaker
And my body
My body’s a lost cause
At this point

I don’t know
Where the right place is
But I do know
We’re going the right way

Friday, April 17, 2015

Selflessness is my Survival Technique

In a world where every parenting seminar, book and article espouses self-care, self-care and more self-care as the modern day Mama's mantra, I have to address the selflessness factor.  

I am a single mom.  The number one most common question I am asked in relation to being a single mom?  How do I do it.  It seems impossible.  To accomplish all that I do and still have children that are pleasant to be around AND still want to be around me?

I have a secret.  It is NOT self care.  Could I use more to improve my quality of life? Sure.  To improve my happiness and therefore happiness of my family?  Sure.  But I have no support from a partner, I have no close family (geographically speaking), no network of single moms who call upon each other for support (I did actually try to accomplish this, but shockingly, single parents have little time and energy left over to actually form a group like this).  

Last week I had a girls' night out scheduled TWO MONTHS in advance (which, mind you, was only going to be from 3:30 to 5:00 in the first place, to accommodate, you guessed it, child care issues) and we got to the bar, sat down to order drinks, and my phone rang.  My ex wasn't coming to get the kids.  It was a ballet night so I had to leave immediately, walk 30 minutes to the baby's day care, pick him up, walk to children's after care, pick them up, and try to catch a bus which only comes every 20 minutes, even during rush hour, to take us from South Philly to West Philly for ballet class at 5:00.  (We missed the bus and had to walk to the subway, still made class though).

My ex has cancelled his visitation three times in the last two weeks.  Which always results in me having to leave early from work.  Which results in me having to work on my days off to make-up the hours.  Which results in the days I set aside for house cleaning (for sanity, not some standard of cleanliness I try to maintain because I gave-up on maintaining that around May 4, 2013 - when the baby turned one) and "Mama Time" (the oh so elusive and coveted name of something I think I may have in another 10 years or so, the name has such a nice ring to it though doesn't it?).

Point being, life is hard for me.  The activities of daily living as a single mom with three kids are unending and largely unappreciated.  They are difficult on days when the kids are healthy and happy, so one can only imagine when a two year old is tantruming, a preteen is moody and a tween is missing her Daddy because he keeps cancelling visitation.

Trying to incorporate self-care into my routine is a cosmic joke.  

So, how do I do it?

Simply, it's selflessness.

I'm not saying I didn't cry a little (or want to at least) when I had to walk away from girl's night out.  But my children needed me, and being there for them gives meaning and purpose to my life.  I was a lot lost, pre-children.  I couldn't reconcile the world at large, and my place in it.  My soul sought things I didn't know how to find.  Becoming pregnant with, carrying, birthing and raising Abacus, then Samurai, then Nexen infused this sense of connection with the Earth, humanity and the world at large I don't know how I would have found otherwise.  When they were growing inside of me I felt the moral imperative to grow, to become different, to be ready to accept them, love them and be there for them whenever and however they were to need me.  I believe, from the bottom of my heart, I would not exist today were it not for them.

My therapist says I can't live for only them.  That I have to take care of myself.  But my "self" gets angry and bitter when I plan something for it and have to cancel at the last minute due to a child care issue or another, perfectly timed, child's illness.  My "self" gets impatient and resentful when I can't have "Mama Time".  In those moments, what grounds me and creates a loving space in my heart and being, is selflessness.

Existing for myself left me lost, lonely and reckless.  Existing for others helped me feel meaning, purpose, happiness.  Existing for my children allowed me to feel love, connection and know true and permanent physical, spiritual and emotional growth (well, the physical growth comes and goes).

I could go on a lot longer.  But it would likely get repetitive and way too revealing.  And the baby is up, calling for me.  I feel as though he was always calling for me, I just wasn't ready to hear him.  And once I was, it was selflessness that brought him here, carried him, birthed him and which has sustained him.  Which will nurture him now and prepare him to one day nurture his own.

Here's to selflessness, and my survival.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


My mind
I find
Often enough

I know
Where to find it
And how
To bring it back

Especially now

My mind
Has been
The same space

Again and

I dare not
My secrets

What have I
From you?


I suppose
There are pieces
of Mee
I'm saving
But they're not
Per se

It's hard
For me
To think


It's easy
For me
To feel

How unsightly
To allow
My feelings
To ooze out
All over
This page

I really should
This mess

But then
You haven't minded
My mess
So far