There was a time when library shelves were filled with old dusty books. The librarian was an older person, usually a woman who was modestly dressed. If you spoke too loudly she would put a finger to her mouth and tell you "Shhh." I cannot ever remember in my 61 years ever hearing kids shouting and running through a library, that is until now. Libraries today are vastly different than what they used to be. Instead of rows and rows of books on shelves, most libraries today are filled with video games, CDs, video game systems, and DVDs. Unsupervised children run around shouting, play fighting, and having outdoor games such as hide and seek and tag indoors.
I have been accused of having a story for every circumstance by my dearest friends. I believe they think I am making the story up. I felt cut off and cut down not because they didn't believe me, but because I couldn't tell the story. The truth is that real storytellers see the world of circumstance and immediately put what seems like scattered facts into a cogent story. This is how storytellers organize their memories. It also helps to have a great memory for these kinds of facts.
It’s been a long while since I’ve written anything and that’s mostly because I’ve been lacking inspiration and have been trying to figure out this thing called life. My first introduction to writing was when I began writing diary entries because I used to find it difficult to express myself verbally. I have now been inspired to write again because I have been dealing with some things and I feel that speaking on a small part of them will help to improve my mental state and inspire me to start writing again.
How can this be? I know I am a woman at heart, but am a father... of four boys, nonetheless. As if raising four boys to become amazing men wasn’t full of its own challenges. Throw my being transgender and it’s quite an adventure. How lucky am I though to be a parent of blood borne children! I am so blessed!
Do you ever feel like you're traveling on a road that has no end in sight? We've all been there. Unfortunately, life doesn't come with a manual. We are all living our own journey. So how is it that some people make it look so simple? Let me let you in on a little secret. Everyone has struggles and misfortunes. Some things we can handle on our own and some things take a village of resources that we have to rely on. The important thing is that we recognize that how we handle these struggles and misfortunes is what determines how we get to the fork in the road that allows us to change the path.
Abuse. Never a word I thought would apply to myself, no matter how many times I read and reread the definition of it from the yellowed pages of the dictionary given to me. But for almost fifteen years, I lived my life in a weird suspended state of consciousness. Numb, deaf, and mute. The sum of the entirety of my life was simplified to one word- silence. Silence. Plainly described as a complete and utter lack of sound. That was how I lived. In silence. It was only interrupted by the momentary loud bursts of skin breaking under a violent hit. The muffled screams hidden behind the closed doors. The quiet whimpers escaping between locked lips. The overwhelming and consuming sense of loneliness and isolation. The cold floor as it turns out to be the only comfort at the end of the day. Abuse. Silence. Hand in hand. A duo of trouble.
When I was a kid, even though it was the 60's and 70's (1960's and 70's, that is), we thought our parents were 'dumb.' Just like kids do now. It's just a kid thing, I suppose. We thought our parents had no idea what it was like to be a third grader, or a high school girl wanting our hair a certain way, or what is was like to date and fall in love. Really silly when you stop and realize they were married—to each other, usually—and had had babies, like us.
A sense of peace struck a chord deep within me as if I were a baby being held safely against my mother's breast. The summers of my childhood came flooding back as I stood recapturing my father's image across from me, casting his fly rod with the rhythm of the river. The wildflowers, Indian paintbrush, Queen Anne’s lace, graced the steep grade of the dam, just as I had remembered. I envisioned myself sliding down the embankment to fish and play among the rocks, and catching water bugs until hunger settled in, and I made my way back down the path toward my family’s campsite. Birch trees bent overhead as though protecting me. The sweet sound of water, lapping against the rocks, lulled me. I hadn’t been back since my parents' divorce, 30 years ago. I stood there, letting the memories envelope me. The many times we rode the dry-kai, large, long pieces of old wood lying on the side of the lake (I told my children these were the original “noodles”). My brothers and I spent hours riding them. I often have pretended mine were seahorses as I bobbed up and down in the chilly Maine waters.
From the Saturday before Memorial Day until the first day of August, I get a taste of what it is like to be a stay-at-home mom. My day job—middle school teaching—is on summer break. Many people think teaching is an easy job and we shouldn’t complain about our job because of the time off, but it’s that time off when we have to catch up other parts of our lives we couldn’t invest as much in during the school year—momming and wife-ing!
Many people define “family” as blood, and that being so, many people feel ethically trapped within the concept of choosing family over everything. As a rational-thinking human being, I'd like to disagree with this entirely on the premise that “family” means nothing more than blood. A metaphor to best reword this would be to compare family to a mass of cancer cells in your body; they are still a part of your body, despite their usually detrimental and even lethal qualities. Cancer cells to your body are as family is to your wellbeing; just because something is connected to you, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy or even necessary to keep around you.