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“The only thing constant in life is change” ~ François de la Rochefoucauld

Never long enough

Tomorrow morning, yet again, I must head back to my home and leave my Mom in Indiana. It is always nice to visit, but always difficult to leave. Each year things change, my Mom still looks amazing at 83 and each visit it is harder to say goodbye. I chose to move away and now all of my children and grandchildren are in NC and VA, so to ever come back to Indiana, doesn’t seem logical.

However, it still doesn’t make it any easier.

Beyond Injustice

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ~ Elie Wiesel

My heart is broken today over the completely hate filled murders of 37-year-old Alton Sterling  and 32-year-old Philando Castile. Yes, they are murders. I am white, I am privileged and I am completely ashamed to be in the white race. I am distraught and outraged by these and all of the killings that continue to take place with absolutely no regard for the human rights of all individuals.

Hatred and injustice feels like a precipitous wall that can’t seem to be conquered.

While listening and watching the news reports I am even more disgusted at what I am hearing. I am sick of hearing how, we must investigate and get the facts while white people with guns are NOT treated in this fashion. We must as a society stop allowing the racist and hate filled culture to continue. It is propagated and passed down from generation to generation. It is not something you automatically have. It is taught. It is planted and cultivated.

We must stand up and say, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Why is this allowed to continue. Why aren’t we holding people accountable for acting on their own ignorant fears. Fears, ignorance and supremacists views are deep rooted in this nation and even around the world because people refuse to view their fellow human beings with the same value and regard that they hold for themselves and their own families.

We MUST make the madness stop.

Black Lives Matter. I can’t even begin to imagine the fear that our African American families must live with every moment of every day when they step out into the streets. Never knowing if they will be the next one. If their children will make it home safely. Will their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons live to see another day.

This must end NOW! Not tomorrow! TODAY.

We as white individuals must stand up when we hear racist, hateful, and narrow-minded remarks around us. We must speak out and refuse to listen to people who have those views. We cannot continue to turn our eyes the other way and shake our heads when we know that they must be told. They must know that it is not acceptable. EVER!

 

 

 

Melancholy

  • A feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.

That best describes my mood today. Oh if I were completely honest I could pinpoint several reasons, but there’s no point in publicizing my sadness. That typically doesn’t serve any purpose but to have others share in my moment, and that truly is of no value.

So, here I sit, hoping that by attempting to place words on the screen I will help this feeling pass. Sometimes just the act of writing will help. The feeling of weariness, of not fully accomplishing what I have been needing to do; the feeling of constantly making the wrong choices; the exhaustion of knowing that no matter what we do our future will always hold financial struggle because of the choices and decisions we have made over the years.

Will we be able to support ourselves in our senior years, or will we be filled with worry and stress until we draw our final breathes. No one knows. It’s too much to digest today. Too much to even spend my energy pondering. So I won’t ponder any longer. Just try and rest and hope that tomorrow will bring a little more joy and rest than today has. I am drained and ready to escape into fiction.

It was a wonderful life ~ Joseph C. Coe

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss

So many things can be summed up in the life of a man, but what impact he has on everyone around him, what legacy he leaves behind, that is what will be remembered. There is always an end, the finish of a good book, the end of a fantastic movie, the end of a beautiful song, the final move in a chess game. We tend to not be very fond of endings. But they are inevitable.

In the case of the life and death of my father, Joseph C. Coe, I choose to smile because it happened. Without his life, without the events that led up to my mother meeting him at Eli Lilly’s in Lafayette, IN back in the early 1970’s, my life would not have gone the path that it did. Each of us plays a part in what happens to those we cross paths with. We may not realize to what extent we help shape and mold the futures of others, but nevertheless, we do.

When my Mom first starting seeing Joe (Dad), I was apprehensive. I didn’t want to share my Mom with anyone. It was just Mary and I, and Mom and it was safe. I didn’t think we needed anyone else, but as a child I had no idea how much my Mom needed to meet someone who would love her, provide for her and help her to raise her two youngest daughters. Little did I know that Joseph Coe would be the man who I would come to know as my Dad.

He was a soft-hearted man, gentle, kind, and he would cry at sad movies or emotional songs. He read heart warming stories and loved to share new things he would learn. Because of him I love cats, watching the weather, precise time, swiss cheese, horseradish mustard, books, standard shift vehicles, chess, and always being willing to try something first before I decide whether I like it or not. Although, he could never convince me to try his smelt or anchovies. 😉 We both loved sweets, unfortunately, sweets didn’t like him very well, or me for that matter, and we loved beer.

He encouraged me to pursue my dreams, to break out of my comfort zone, to join the Navy and see the world while I was young. I watched him make knives, leather sheaths, and take care of his many clocks and watches. He instilled in me the value of history, and appreciating the wisdom of others and to learn from their journeys.

He was fascinated with new technology and couldn’t get over how we could research so much information over the Internet from a device that fit into the palm of our hands. He would say, “Well I’ll be,” and I would say, “it’s amazing isn’t it.” He would say when we would leave to return home, “goodbye now, love ya, travel safe.” Then he would sit and watch and wave as we pulled away. I will miss that when I go home to visit.

He took the time to teach me all of the little things in life that often go unnoticed, like scraping the sides of the peanut butter jar to be sure you didn’t miss any, how important it was to always have your pocket knife handy when eating because you always need a pocket knife, and to use scissors to cut the top of the cereal bag or the saltine crackers. A neat cut is important. He taught me to mean what you say, and say what you mean and to be a person of integrity, and to be punctual when we say we are going to be somewhere.

As I sit and wander down memory lane, the memories are rushing in like a flood, and yet I can’t put everything into words. So as his favorite radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say, “and now you know, the rest of the story ~ good day!”

I will cherish my memories as long as my mind is allowed to retain them, and I will be thankful to the man, Joseph Carroll Coe, who stepped in and became a dad to me. All of my love and gratitude is in honor of him today, the day he was laid to rest in Lafayette, IN. So long Dad, all of my love,

Lisa

 

Always……change

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

That is how we feel a lot in life. Holding up our little sword in front of us and feeling the wall and moving forward. Never knowing exactly where we are headed but knowing that standing still in the darkness is not an option. Only moving forward, one step at a time. Not knowing of any certainty in life but to move and keep moving. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or even the next millisecond. Each moment holds promise and sometimes tragedy, but moving forward is still the only option.

Sometimes I feel like I could dig a hole and hide in it and not come out. Get lost in my make believe world where I made all the right choices and only have sunshine and flowers and beauty and happiness, but then I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t know the wonder of success if I had never tasted failure. I wouldn’t know the power of love and passion if I had never felt loneliness and heartache. So forward we go. Scared to death and sometimes frozen in fear, only moving forward will do.

It is the uncertainty that prods some of us to move forward and that same uncertainty that causes some to cave in and quit. Why does it do that to us? Why can’t we help everyone to decide to move forward, to buckle down and keep trying, to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. I wish I could be the fixer that makes it possible, but then I would find myself trying to fix myself because there are many times that I too have wanted to give up. To just throw in the towel.

When I look at what growing old does to people, how the end of life seems so tragically sad; to see the emptiness it can create, the sorrow that it brings, it makes me so sad. I looked at my frail Dad today of only 130 pounds a man of pretty sizable stature who is just skin and bones now, I found myself hoping that by the time I am frail and failing in health that there will be a pill that I can take to just fall asleep and end the suffering. It doesn’t matter to me if anyone agrees with my opinion, it is just that, my opinion.

But for now, I will attempt to put one foot in front of the other. Take one waking moment at a time and hope that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Hope that what I do each moment of each day will make a difference in someone’s life. Hope that I can help someone smile or just not give up. To somehow believe in themselves and be willing to try again.

“So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” ~ Buddha

We are winding down from this very tumultuous year of 2012 and hoping for a more peaceful year in 2013. If I could do what Buddha said and conquer myself then I will accomplish something indeed. It has been such a whirlwind of a year, from start to finish and I can say, I for one am so glad it is almost over.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I learned all of the lessons that were meant for me to learn, and I am certain that I didn’t pass all of them, but I have survived. That has to count for something. It is so strange how much I have changed since I entered into my 50’s. Not all changes have been for the good. I hope some have. Only those who know me on a daily basis can answer that.

My son Elijah said that the reason I have become so sentimental in my old age is because when you enter this time of life, you begin to look for something to leave as your legacy. That you want to make a mark, do something meaningful. It makes sense. I even started feeding a stray cat (that has since found a home), because I couldn’t ignore it. That’s not always the way I’ve been. It’s a good change I’m sure.

Well, I suppose I will wrap this year up. Short and sweet.

I am set out to conquer myself.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the  present moment.” ~ Buddha 

“We are accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.“- Francois de La Rochefouchald

I am simple but at the same time very complex. I truly live up to the Gemini description of being twins. I am constantly at odds within myself. I’ve spent a great part of my life disguising who I really am to the point of not really knowing myself at all. It’s strange and sad at the same time how you can gain a great deal of knowledge, be educated with a Master’s degree and have the skills to possibly do great things with your life and yet feel trapped inside yourself and feel absolutely no confidence in your abilities. Yet my other self can see the potential but is frozen with little to no self esteem.

I know, just shoot me now. I’m 51 and think often that it‘s a lost cause. I spent the first 41 years of my life hiding from myself. Letting others lead me down paths that they wanted me to go in, to the point I felt I was losing my mind. I blame myself for allowing myself to be brain washed. To be completely enslaved to a person and their beliefs to the point that when I was breaking free that person marched around the outside of my home and chanted that me and my children belonged to him and that I was not allowed to go. It wasn’t my husband either.

Disguises: they are scary. Sometimes I have been guilty of wearing them to protect someone because it was supposedly “the lords will“ that we did what we were doing. I am sickened by my former self and I know it is what attributes greatly to my lack of self esteem but it is what it is and cannot be undone. It seems I should be way beyond it by now but it haunts me. Sometimes when I am extremely stressed it visits me in my dreams and I am troubled for days and sometimes weeks after. Perhaps it’s because I really genuinely loved helping people for a great many years and then suddenly my integrity was violated and manipulated to the point that I no longer was real and my true giving self was stripped away. I was then not only the deceived but became part of the deception. It broke my heart and my spirit.

The weight that I feel right now is so heavy I can no longer write but to leave with this quote from the new book I am reading by J. K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy, “The difficult thing, the glorious thing, was to be who you really were, even if that person was cruel and dangerous. There was courage in not disguising the animal you happened to be.“

Perhaps that is why I no longer am good at sugar coating my thoughts about a matter to anyone and if that’s what is required to get ahead in life I am not interested in getting there.

“In the human heart there is a perpetual generation of passions; so that the ruin of one is almost always the foundation of another.” François de la Rochefoucauld

My life has consisted of constantly searching, looking for what to prepare for next, what do I want to be when I grow up. My passions change over and over again and I just keep thinking I will one day figure out what it is that I am supposed to do with my life. Yet, around every corner I find that the perpetual “ever changing me” eludes me and runs further ahead where I can’t see.

Today, the here, the now is all that I have. All that I can truly see. What do I want to do with my now, my today. Am I going to let it slip by, wasted on worrying about what tomorrow holds, trying to determine what my goal in life is supposed to be? I do that so very often that the now is no longer here and I missed opportunities that I could have benefited from.

The elusive search has taken me so many different places and has allowed me to cross paths with many people, mostly good, some not so good. However, in each situation I have learned many things. The pain that goes along with growing and changing is a necessary evil that breaks us down in an effort to build us back up. We move from one passion to another, building one upon another. Why do I always feel as though I must pinpoint a specific gift or talent, or goal or purpose? I suppose it is because so many voices are telling us that we must aim for a goal, reach for the stars, become amazing and learn your destiny.

I have traveled the path of faith in my past, in my efforts to find the answers to my questions. That path took me to many places and had me interact with many people, some who hurt me through deceit and manipulation, but many who were genuine in their hearts towards me. I have a lot to reconcile in my life when it comes to that time period, I spent many years masking the real me, hiding my struggle with my sexuality.

Yet, here I am, realizing that I can only look at NOW. This moment. This space in time that once it has passed, it is gone forever. I have misused so many moments in my life, but I can’t dwell on that or again my nows will be passed and forgotten.

“We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.” ~ François de la Rochefoucauld

In my day to day life I err on the side of caution. Since I am a Gemini the twins inside of me struggle constantly, one side of me wants to be the person I feel I am on the inside and the other side of me infuriates me because she always chooses to conform. Just typing the word makes my blood boil. I want to scream it from the rooftops, I DON’T WANT TO CONFORM ANYMORE!!!!!

My expressive side so desperately wants out and yet I conform to the norm. The norm that says I need to look, act, dress, feel and be just like the status quo in the world. Don’t rock the boat, don’t express your desires in the way you dress. Don’t be the person you have always trapped inside, people won’t accept you, they won’t like you. That’s really the crux of it all, being liked. Making others happy and convincing them that I am too. 

So here I sit, just slightly letting out the person who I have suppressed all of my life. Sometimes I feel so fake and yet I must take a deep breath and realize that it is a journey, day by day a little more comes out that is me. I may be older but I hope I somehow am a little wiser, and I hope to continue to evolve into the me that I see from the inside.

As long as I my memories go back I remember thinking to myself, why do I have to dress like a girl, act like a girl, when I feel more like a boy. No, I don’t feel like a boy trapped inside a girls body, nor have I ever wanted to have a sex change, but I am much more inclined to be the “boi” in a relationship. Those who are of the straight persuasion probably don’t really understand the slang and varied definition of boi. The definition is used to cover various categories, one of which is: A boi is a lesbian or gender-queer person who identifies most with their male energy and presents themselves as male in their appearance. They may consider themselves to be of either gender although they are anatomically female. 

Okay, so now that I have completely blown some of you away, let’s move on. 😉 Femininity has always been a forced expression for me. It is not who I am, nor who I ever wanted to be.

The era and part of the country that I grew up in, and being from a Catholic upbringing, the idea of ever doing anything but dating guys, getting married and having kids was not even in the equation. I was a very naive, sheltered youngest daughter of 4 children, all girls. Yet, I always felt more like the little boy of the family. Those are the eyes I looked through every day. I preferred to be the “tom boy” as I was called, and I distinctly remember the times I had to wear a dress and felt so awkward and out of place.

I have spent the majority of my life holding back the natural feelings I have felt over the years for women who have crossed my path, why I ran hard and fast away from the friends I made in the Navy who took me to my first gay bar because they knew I was gay, and yet I ran from there as fast as I could because I couldn’t let that person be a reality. What would my family think, my friends, I was in the Navy, you couldn’t be gay in the service. Run, run, run as fast as you can. Maybe you can outrun the feelings.

I chose to suppress my true self for the first 40 years of my life. I stayed married to a man (the father of my two children and a great friend to me and a very good father) for 18 years. We were better friends than anything else, which was a sad thing for him. Yet, I still was trying to conform. Immersed and trapped in a “religious experience” for 13 years (which is a whole other story in and of itself) struggling internally all the while, and searching for a way to escape the person I had become, feeling so desperate to be free.

Now I am attempting to spell it out for myself through this blog in hopes that if I can at least be completely honest with myself and others about who I really am and the struggles I have overcome to get here, then maybe I will be able to break free from the remaining cloak of conformity that clings to me.

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