Truth

“Truth –
Fully present. Calm, balanced, at peace. Living my truth. A declaration of self — my soul’s freedom. Embracing who I am and what I stand for. Aware of my faults and loving myself anyway. I am content. This is me. I accept it and that’s what matters.”
– Fellow Flowers Blue Flower

I signed up for a virtual race and chose Team Truth because ….
5 years ago I made a life altering decision.  After being married for over 20 years, I made the choice to leave my abusive marriage and filed for divorce. I made a choice so that my son could live his truth. I made a choice so that my children and I would know freedom.  I have spent every day since,  sharing my story and helping others in similar situations so that they too can experience freedom and live their own truth.So, as my son would say, here’s the “Tea”….I missed the race on Saturday.
I signed up before I knew when graduation would be held and as luck would have it….my baby boy’s high school graduation was on race day. He is the last of my 5 to graduate so….the race was put on hold. Sunday it was hot as blazes and I found a million excuses. My adult kids had spent the night and I was not ready to leave “mom mode” for a run.When I originally registered for the 10K, I was not sure about the distance. See….I have not really run since January.
Why? Well, I wanted to celebrate my birthday, planning to run 5.5 to celebrate 55. I was about a 1/2 mile from my house when my pup and I were chased by an off leash dog. I turned, looked back, missed a curb and face planted …..on my arm which snapped like a frozen twig in the cold winter air. I drove myself to the hospital (much to the shock of the ER staff) only to find out that I had a colles fracture. Closed reduction, surgery, hours of OT and here I am.  What a great way to celebrate turning 55!
Since then, I walk over 10,000 steps per day with my dog but have not really tried to run. 
This morning I went to OT before school. Today was my first and last day teaching from home since March so I had a little time! My therapist asked if I was running yet and I told her I was a little apprehensive. She is a runner too…..”it’s time…” she said.
So, during my lunch hour  I decided to put on my MTM tank, tutu, flower and try for 3 miles. Yes, I was running around my neighborhood in a tutu! Full disclosure, I tucked the medal into my pocket fully planning to take a photo and celebrate just running a 5K. 
Well, I was feeling a little like Forrest Gump,  so I kept going!  
6.2 later…..I was done!
It was not fast.
It was not pretty.
There was walking.
There was crying.
There was cussing.
There were flowers (and my blue flower got lost!)There was another big dog (this time behind a fence)
There was a nervous pup that kept looking back to make sure Momma was ok.
There was a point at which a choice was made….go big or go home.
There was a text to my BRF at mile 5 asking for a kick in the a$$.There was a response “You can do anything for 14 minutes”
There was a friend who drove by at mile 5.5 honking, hollering and playing loud music! (Totally fate!)
There was the perfect song at the perfect time from the playlist when I needed a reminder that I am a fierce badass.
There was an eight year old pup pulling me the last few blocks (because he wanted his ball!)
There was a shade tree to collapse under and take a photo. 
There were a lot of signs that told me that this was the run I was supposed to have today.
I needed this run for so many reasons. 
I stopped caring about my finish time a years ago. 
Time is numbers on a clock. 
I am content.
I accept myself, my life and live my truth.
That’s what matters.
I was Made to Move. 
Forward is MY Pace. 
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Pride

June is Pride month. It is a month to celebrate the LQBTQIA+ community. It is far more than rainbows and parades. While the rainbows and parades are important to increase visibility, the work is year round and ongoing.
Pride is about celebrating celebrating people. Pride is about protecting those trans and queer young people. Pride is about validating intersections. Pride is about honoring those that paved the way like Marsha P. Johnson and those at the Stonewall Riots. Pride is about respecting those that can not or have not come out yet. Pride is about fighting for equal rights. Pride is about doing hard shit. Pride is about love.
My Pride is that of a mom to a gay son. My. Pride is that of an ally. I serve as a safe place for those who don’t have loving and accepting family. I coach parents on how to accept the child in front of them. I coach colleagues in how to ask about and honor pronouns. I serve as a safe space in my school. I am still learning and growing in my journey. I am far from perfect but I follow my heart.
This is why I partner and volunteer with Free Mom Hugs. This organization is a group of affirming parents and allies who love the LGBTQ+ community unconditionally. They are dedicated to educating families, church, and civic leaders encouraging them to not only affirm the LGBTQ+ community but to celebrate them. Each year at pride I walk in the parade just giving hugs and listening to the spoken and unspoken words of so many. I have heard stories….so many stories. Some bring tears of joy and some bring the tears of searing pain. But it is in those moments, there is so much LOVE. Love, acceptance and affirmation…..and did I mention LOVE?
This year I have taken on the task of organizing our group for the Chicago Pride Parade. The Parade has been moved to October this year, and for that I am so grateful as I am hoping for cooler weather!
If you are someone in need of a virtual hug, an in person hug, a listening ear, or just to be seen…. I am here for you. If you need support and do not know where to turn for help. I am here for you. If you are a parent who is learning to navigate a different path and want a friend to walk with you. I am here for you. I am here for you. My head and heart are judgment free zones. I may not have all the answers for you, but I can help find resources that will not only help you but others as well.
For those that are not accepted as they are, I am your mama now. I see you. You matter. I love you!
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Tired

November 8, 2016

I’m tired.
I don’t know how to do this “divorced mom” thing.
Hell …I can’t even get divorced.
I am jealous of the relationship my kids seem to have with “her”. I taught them to be kind to all but have a hard time with them being kind to her. I do not want to be bitter but I am. I can’t stand that “he” waltzes in and out of their lives. According to him, parenting is my job however “he” and others feel that I am doing it all wrong…..and they feel free to share that opinion with my children.
I live in a house that is falling apart and filled with crap I don’t like it don’t want/need. I feel the walls closing in on me here. I used to love the holidays and now I hate them. I see the stress of it all on my kids and it kills me.
I’m tired of secrets and lies. I want to live transparent but my kids are still stuck in a vortex of crap.
I feel out of shape and unattractive. I don’t want to leave the house so how will I ever date? Wait….Dating is so much work and I’m not really interested. My friends are all busy with their own lives. Getting together with anyone leads to the “pity look” then the “elephant in the room” … I am tired of talking about it thus I don’t want to see anyone. I just want it over. I need a new car but can’t afford the payment and even if I could…I can not get a loan. I am just so tired…..
Here’s to soaring again……

Panic

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I guess I fell asleep at some point because I woke up alone in my bed. It was not the first time nor would it be the last.
I got ready for work. The plan was to push everything out of my head and get through the day.
I got the my son up and ready. We were in the kitchen when my wasband came in. I told my wasband that we needed to talk. He told me there was nothing to talk about. I can not remember what he said next….but it was something that raised the eyebrow of my son. My son turned and, for the first time I had ever seen, stood up to his father.
“Leave Mom alone! What the heck is wrong with you? Why can’t you be nice to her?”
“Son….remember who you are speaking to and watch your mouth….” and my wasband left the kitchen.
My son and I went to school without saying another word.
I did the best I could to get through the day but late in the afternoon, while teaching my class, I felt sick….like never before. I have panic attacks and anxiety. I have been in treatment for these issues as these episodes have had very dire consequences. I know what to expect. I have ‘coping skills’ and  meds to help. But this was different…..
I sent a student to get my partner teacher. My partner teacher and I had worked together for 15 years at that point. We KNEW each other. I remember I must have looked bad because the look on her face was one I had never seen before. She sent me into the hall as I tried to get my breath. She walked my students out of the room to their fine arts class and then ….
I melted down. I could not breathe. It was the panic attack to end all panic attacks. I was breathing into a paper bag and she was trying desperately to calm me down. She went to call 911 and I begged her not to……I finally regained control …..over an hour later.
She covered for me the whole time. Not only did I feel like a weak woman but I felt like a failure as a teacher. I needed to get it together.
I pulled myself together as much as possible and got through the reminder of the day. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go home that day or any day after that….but home was where my kids were and I knew I had to take care them. So I went home……
Here’s to soaring again….

D-Day


Monday, September 5, 2016

D Day…a day that will live in infamy….
Our D Day came on a Monday afternoon. I had come home from work, gotten ready to go for a run and a friend called. As I listened to her….I felt like I had been punched in the gut.
I got off the phone and went upstairs. I entered our bedroom and closed the door. My wasband was napping prior to going to work. I thought the house was empty and we were alone but I closed the door anyway.
I confronted him about what I knew. I told him that he could not sleep with another woman and remain married to me. Well…that sounds pretty, doesn’t it? The truth is I said, “Seriously? You think you can Fuck someone else and get away with it? You think you can fuck someone else and still sleep in the same bed with me?”
The wasband rolled over and calmly said, “I will Fuck whoever I want and there is nothing you can do about it….now get the fuck out of the room. I have to get ready for work soon.” and he rolled back over.
I went down to the kitchen….stunned. About 45 minutes later, one of my teen daughters came into the room, put her arms on me and said, ” I know everything, mom.”
“How? What are you talking about?” as I played dumb.
“My sister was outside the door and heard everything……she messaged all us girls.”
I have 4 daughters. The oldest was a gift. She is my step daughter but neither one of us like that term that term and so she is my bonus daughter. All 4 girls are so different but sisters in every sense. I also have a son. He is my baby. My “happy accident” and he knows it. I have said from the day he was conceived that he had a special purpose….every day I am reminded of how special he is to me.  But I digress…..
So now my girls knew…..oh no…..my goal now was to keep this from my son….he was too young to understand.
I tried to steer clear of the wasband the rest of the afternoon and let him leave for work.
The rest of the night was a blur…..
I remember sitting on the couch waiting for him to come home. When he arrived home in the early morning hours of the next day, I tried to talk to him. Actually I didn’t talk…I cried, I begged, I pleaded, I debased myself to the point of embarrassment. He was stoic and seemed even more angry. He “shushed’ me more than once as I cried but it was not the sweet, caring “There, There, sweetie….” kind of shush. It was “Shut the fuck up. The kids will hear you. Just shut up….” He pushed past me into the guest room where I had moved his things….phone charger, sleep machine, etc. At that point, his rage came to the surface….and I cowered. He looked at the bed and realized I had not put fresh sheets on the bed nor had I swept up around and under the bed……He called me lazy and snarled “You should have taken care of this crap….what the fuck were you thinking…”
I was scared and cowered as he slammed the door.
He…yes…the man in charge….had decided the conversation was over for the night. I retreated to my room and locked the door. I didn’t sleep that night (or many other nights) but that is another story for another day.
Thinking back on it now….It was like an out of body experience….the days and weeks that followed were all like that. I asked him to tell me it was not true….I asked him to tell me he loved me and it was just a mistake. I wanted it to be like the movies….I wanted him to come home begging for forgiveness and for me to take him back. Boy, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Looking back on it now? I am so glad I finally took a stand. It’s not easy or fun now but it is so worth it. I am worth better.
Here’s to soaring again…..