My Son is Gay – What Now?

My brilliant, quirky, wise, witty, wonderful 13-year-old son shared with me this week the fact that he is gay. And it’s not a surprise to me or anyone who knows him… What is surprising is how illiterate I find myself in all matters LGBTQ. Continue reading

Advertisements

Fab Find Friday: Body Image Boosting Burlesque

burlesque screen shotAnyone who knows me knows that one of my biggest hurdles is body image, or more specifically, insecurity over my anything-but-perfect body. While there’s some solace in the fact that I’m in the company of millions of women who have the same challenge, each day is a battle to fend off my harsh self judgements and replace them with  kind, nurturing affirmations and love for my imperfections. Rather than bore you with more information as to why I, or we, as women have so completely and easily fallen prey to self-loathing as a lifestyle, I’d like to share some inspiration that might provide a gentle nudge to embrace your flaws, if only for a fleeting moment.

If you click the image above, you’ll be treated to a video of a woman who’s very aware that she has curves and fat and cellulite that render her less than perfect, yet she celebrates  her body and her unique beauty with a jazzy, uplifting burlesque dance routine. Better still, click to the page on ElephantJournal.com where I first found this video, and read the dedication to all the imperfect people who might be inspired by this brave and beautiful woman’s powerful celebration.

And here’s one more Fab Find for this Friday:

unconditional self acceptance cheri huber

I’ve just purchased Unconditional Self-Acceptance, a 6-CD audio retreat by Cheri Huber, which vows not to teach the listener any new self improvement tips, on the premise that if self improvement worked, we’d be vastly improved by now. I love that! Instead, the author teaches how to recognize societal conditioning and blocked energies as she provides guided imagery designed to “spark compassionate self awareness.” Because it’s created as a self guided retreat, I plan to set aside time over this holiday break to treat myself to this process. I’ll let you know how it goes!

May you be inspired today to feel a little lighter and a lot more loving with yourself!

Dancing With Myself

dancing

Today begins my first weekend of single-ness in nearly three years. I’m wrestling with how to best manage this new but familiar territory, because I’ve been here before and I know how it goes for me. Only this time it’s different, just ever-so-slightly. This time I’m calmer. I’ve felt it coming, so I’m a little better prepared. And maybe most importantly, I’m doing it with all my feelings present – no longer muted by Paxil – I get to feel every feeling and deal with each victory and disappointment as it bounces around my psyche.

I must confess that while I’m not loving this whole experience, I am enjoying being curious about it – and surprised by the new strength that reveals itself for fleeting moments. And the creativity in the choices that I can make as I spin through the day, wondering what in the heck to do with myself. What to do with all this time that I’m not used to having. How to turn it into something uplifting and productive and most importantly, how to not allow it to sink me into the deep blue, lonely, isolated, depressed, abyss that is my default reaction to alone-ness.

Here’s the thing… I’m not a by-myself kind of person. I like to be in relationships, friendships, part of a group of like-minded people. I yearn for a lifestyle that would keep me in constant collaborative bliss. And during this freshly-ended romantic relationship, I did it again. I allowed the fragile  vivacity of my life to wither as I neglected to tend, cherish and nourish it, and chose instead to place all my energy and care into the hope of love and a lasting future of coupled happiness.

So this weekend, as I dive deep into this dance with my self,  my personal metamorphosis continues. The dance includes swoops of forgiveness  and twirls of hope, and powerful steps taken in newfound wisdom, courage and strength. Today I promise not to simply fill my time to avoid being alone, rather, I will work toward reinvigorating and deepening my connection to me, my truest friends, and my life.

This week, Elephant Journal posted a moving essay on love’s comings and goings that’s well worth a read… May We Dance When Love Dances & May We Rest When Love Rests

This quote is from said essay:

“And it is not sad for us to think of Love going back to its cycle—after-all, each time Love comes out to dance, its wings are a different hue of green and ultra-violet purple. And every time it comes back to us and takes us by the waist to dance, it remarks how the shade of green of our eyes has grown even more scintillating during the time of our absence from each other.

It is only beautiful to watch Love dance with us and it is only beautiful to watch Love retreat and meander around our insides finding all sorts of new material to build itself a new home for a while.

And we know that whether Love dances or rests, life is sumptuous either way.”

Falling

fall leaves

Falling.
Colors faded.
Swirling.
Shriveling from lack.
Drifting.
Seeking a soft, safe place to land.
Flittering.
Gazing upward, ever upward.
Gliding.
Carried gently forward.
Soaring.
Buoyed by hope, lifted by love.
Set free.
To begin anew.

Fall is putting on a lovely show this week, and I’m hopeful that once the old, crunchy, dried-up stuff is blown away, in its place will shine a crisp and exhilarating, sparkly new set of circumstances. I know, it’s a little Pollyanna-ish, but sheesh, a girl’s gotta have something to wish for! Right?

Stuff has been pretty weird for my little family lately, and I’m not quite sure that any of it will be resolved anytime soon, but I’m hard at work each day to chip-chip-chip away at it. From middle school bullies to reinventing my work self yet again to losing my battle with the bulge to relationship demons to evil ex shenanigans and to top it all off, being plain, unbelievably broke – all of this while working and being a single mom – I think those character building nincompoops should be quite happy with themselves over the character I’ve become!!

Yep, I know. My teensy problems pale in comparison to what others face – especially today, with the government shut down and the threat of economic chaos brought on by our less than brilliant powers-that-be. Nonetheless, they’re real and very scary to me, and the point is that I’m going to muddle through and overcome all of it, because that’s just what I have to do.

So, today, I’m picking up a broom and sweeping up the crusty leaves. I’m clearing space for new insights to be illuminated, new opportunities to brighten my days. I’m inviting friends and family in to share some much needed warmth and hope. And I’m freshening my perspective, steeping it in gratitude, and sharpening it with wisdom. Bring on the fall!

How are you welcoming fall?

My Son Was Bullied Yesterday. My Rant…

Bullying-pic

My son was bullied yesterday.
At school.
In the quad.
At lunch.
And everything around him went on as usual.
No one could be bothered to help him.

Dear Principal,

I need you to know that my son was caught in the middle of a fight on campus today, during lunch, in the quad, and received no help and in fact no one even seemed to notice. Max is wearing a walking boot because of a foot injury, and he needs to walk very carefully to get to class across campus all day. As he tried today to head from the quad to his choir classroom just a few minutes early to be sure he arrived on time, he had to walk past several of the football players – obvious because of their jerseys on spirit day. As he walked by he wasn’t paying attention to any of them, as he was focused on where he was headed due to his limp, when all of a sudden he found himself between a football player and his friend, and as they proceeded to fight with each other, he got pounded in the middle of them. 

 Max suffered several blows to his chest and head, then due to his instability from the shock, the blows and the walking boot, he fell backwards and fortunately(?) a nearby backpack broke his fall, although that too caused injury when the pull-along handle gouged his back.

 Shocked by all this, he managed to get back up, and looked around to see that no one had even noticed. He was dizzy for a few minutes after the incident, but grateful that his head hadn’t hit the ground in the fall.

 This is an awkward situation because he doesn’t know these boys and couldn’t react quickly enough to identify them or any onlookers that might have been witnesses on his behalf, so there is no obvious way to resolve it. I’d like, at a minimum, for the incident to be acknowledged, and it should be noted in your records that kids are behaving like bullies, in an “unwelcome joking around” manner, while innocent (and vulnerable) bystanders are being hurt. I’d appreciate any assurances that you can offer – I know you can’t prevent it from happening again – but my child is being trusted into your care each day and I hope you take that very seriously.

And so Max’s initiation into public middle school is complete. And it’s happened exactly on time – right when he was getting into his new groove and seeing glimmers of goodness in all the madness. Despite his temporarily gimpy foot, his futile attempts at being friendly with his new schoolmates who met his smiles with disgust or indifference, and his general malaise over not fitting in amidst these kids who are all-too-worried about not fitting in.

Bullies were the main reason we’ve kept Max in private school through his earlier years. Bullies were the thing we feared the most, that caused over a month of angst as we transitioned into this all-American ritual called middle school. Bullying – a hot trending topic – has been paraded across the internet and television news, complete with the heartbreaking stories of the kids who don’t survive it.  When I share what happened, people say, “Yep, middle school is a bitch,” or “I hated middle school… let me tell you  my bully story…” or “Those jocks, they love to rough-house!” As if that’s all that needs to be said. As if it’s inevitable and can simply be shrugged away.

Now comes the investigation, the attempts to rectify what can’t be undone. The principal promises action while assuring me that there were four adults in the quad – as if that is enough to manage 500 angst-ridden tweens. The counselor says she’ll meet with Max to help him feel safe. And in the meantime, I’ll soothe his hurting heart. I’ll go get an x-ray of the re-injured foot. And I’ll send him back there.

Because “there’s nothing else to be done.”
And because “life is full of bullies, and he’d better learn now how to deal with them.”
Really?
Is this who we are as a society?
Words can’t express the helplessness and disillusionment I feel.
Max can’t unexperience what just happened to him.
I can’t forgive myself for putting him in a place where we knew this would happen.
Because after all, this is middle school in America.

I’m Turning Blue!

Blue-Fish

I am so ready to breathe again. You know, those deep, full, belly-breaths that infuse life throughout your body and revitalize your mind so it can gracefully handle whatever is next? Those breaths that remind you that you matter, that you need to take care of you because no one else can do it for you and that right now is the only time because if you don’t – well – it can all fall apart. And today, after forgetting to breathe and having it all fall apart over the past two plus years, I’m taking the first vital steps necessary to pull myself into my new and unique version of “together.”

As I’ve held my breath I’ve incurred damage to my health, my emotional state, my blog, many friendships, my kid, my work. Most of the fallout wasn’t visible to the onlooker or even to those involved. With the exception of some nasty extra pounds on this tiny frame, I’d like to believe that my life seemed in tact (mostly, anyway) when viewed from a distance. To my heart and spirit, however, the havoc has been painfully, mind-blowing-ly crystal clear.

So, in an effort to set things right, I’m diving into the deep end! Might as well use that breath holding talent for something useful, right? I’m releasing distractions that kept me spread so thin that I couldn’t pull focus on any of the projects critical to my financial and business success. I’m freeing up my calendar to allow time for more work to flow in. And I’m stopping my son’s hybrid home schooling program. I’m leaning in to the dawning realization that I am only one person and as a single parent, our best shot at a good life means me working more and my son being coddled less.

I sent my son to public middle school this week. Preparing for this profound decision, and seeing it through, has been life altering, with messy emotions oozing through every moment –

elation

to have free time once more to focus on work and ME

fear

bullies are pervasive in public middle schools, especially in a town like mine, where arts and culture are practically non-existent

disappointment

that I’ve slowly needed to let go of my dreams for my son to have a special, intimate, protected, top-notch education

sadness

to watch my son experience his awkward-ness, see it reflected in the eyes of his peers, imagined or not, it’s real to him

hope

seeing that glimmer in his eye that indicates it might not be so terrible as we anticipated

excitement

for both of our possibilities to unfold, our characters to blossom, once we’ve assimilated this new reality and learned to make the most of it

I’m calling this my “life remodel.” Making changes, tiny and not-so-tiny – so I can breathe new life into my life – ever mindful of the wisdom that I need to secure my oxygen mask first, so I can best help my son. Feeling all the feelings, even the icky, gooey, really cruddy ones, will make our individual transformations possible. I find myself sitting here now, as I write,  holding my breath again. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. For my son to be bullied or hurt at school. For my decision to be proved wrong. I stop. I inhale a big belly breath and let it go. Hopeful.