Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Road Less Traveled

As a firm believer in "right here right now" I am being challenged to look forward and back against my will.  The trials of our last few years, this one in particular are blurring my focus on the here and now.  Having said that, I embrace the challenge and continue to try and deal with today and stay centered. Because the main point of blogging my journal in the first place was to let my children have access to my life, the life we don't sit and talk about because that would just be boring, I am posting this particular piece so they are inspired to have proper perspective even when the going gets a little tricky.  So 2013 has been an odd year, so many things to be grateful for that I don't  like to wallow in the negative but it's been hard not to do that lately.  My family is cool as hell, talented, brilliant children, who are no longer children in the scheme of things but to me, ya know how that goes Mom's of the world. My husband is a wonderful guy, I have my amazing furry kids whom I adore (always had a great love of dogs).  The challenges are all about money, I hate money, root of all evil sort of thing but it's the way the system is set up, not that I have an actual dislike for a literal piece of paper.  It's the entire system, how we operate, what we are used to. The Federal Reserve Bank controls the world, and sets it's standards for a certain few, and good for them I hold no animosity towards the people who have plenty and have worked for it.  My animosity is for the system that reveres only those people who have enough financially, people who have perfect credit and...teeth and shiny happy children, the Stepford system. It's humbling to know that you have "fallen" that you are one of those people that you used to feel pity for and in my case, try to help but with very little passion and only if it was convenient, I thought I was a giver but I wasn't I just didn't know.  I don't want to be helped, I want to be the helper. I hate being in this position and knowing that there are actually days now when we have to go to family or friends to have a nice dinner because we can't afford it.  AND IF YOU ARE READING THIS PLEASE DON'T OFFER ANYTHING, I am FINE, we are FINE and money issues ruin friendships, we are managing better than you may think after reading this, I like the challenge it builds character so if you have a comfortable life and lots of money, enjoy it!!!!  I did, please don't read this and want to fix it, it's our lesson, our karma whatever and when we hang out, we will talk about life, news, politics, gossip behind our other friends back, I really need that more than anything.  I talk about that here, publically, because we are not the only ones and my new focus is to help the people, like us, who have fallen.  We are soldiers in a new war, I am bonding with my brothers to fight a system that isn't working anymore. I am only fighting in the corner I have been pushed into, but fighting none the less, recognizing that poor isn't lazy and usually the opposite. I am currently cleaning houses, doing piece work at home and selling Tastefully Simple to make ends meet, 3 jobs, making less than ever.  I have learned that love is really what fuels people, you can give a few dollars but what everyone really needs is to know someone cares.  One small gesture can change a great many things.  It's my opinion that life lessons are to be embraced and learned, challenges overcome and examples set for the next generation.  I think this is the most important thing there is to do here on this planet, in this universe, in this experience...learn and grow and love unconditionally.  Some days I am not so focused, I cry and stay in bed, play to many video games, eat junk food. The other day I threw my cell phone in an uncharacteristic moment of complete frustration, (I usually just cry) which was the one thing I still had that made me not feel "poor" I loved that damn thing and now it's gone.  My friend Marcia gave me her old phone and it allows me to call out and receive calls and I'm grateful but don't get me wrong the former spoiled brat in me is pissed that I am in such a state now that I can't even do all the fun things on my phone that I was so used to doing. No more Netflix, texting is impossible, no more photos in HD.  I mourn my phone, but unlike my other things that I mourn this was my fault, I lost my mojo, losing our home and possibly the store, losing our future and our dreams, that was NOT our fault.  Scott is the hardest working man I have ever known.  In the 19 years we have been together he has missed work maybe twice because he was sick.  We took vacations "back in the day" and he left the store in good hands then, back when there were employees.  But to actually miss because he was ill...twice in damn near 20 years.  He has fought the hard fight to keep that store going, it's his passion, it's the love of his life (well actually our dog Boones is and I'm cool with that).  As I write this now, the store has to go, it's no longer paying the bills and we need to re-evaluate our lives, he knows that intellectually but not sure he can ever do it, not sure that he will ever walk out of there and lock it up, not look back, he knows it's the only way but we can only handle what we can handle right? It's been a very hard stretch but not without some fantastic lessons learned. I for one know EXACTLY what I do not need and I now know how incredibly spoiled and selfish I was, I would not have believed it then but I sure as hell do now.  I also have learned my strengths, and some good qualities that I didn't even know I had.  Scott and I had a very charmed life, great family, wonderful romance, plenty of money to do whatever we wanted, we vacationed twice a year, we had a beautiful home (have for a few more weeks anyway though I wouldn't call it beautiful now it's overrun with damage because upkeep has not been a possibility for years), we basked in the great family we were building, and we still do. The romance is gone, the money is gone, the vacations are really missed but we deal with it. Scott and I are strained but hanging in because we have great respect and love for each other, he is my best friend and it's very hard to watch him lose what he worked so hard to build. We ate at RUSSO'S at least once a week and GOD I MISS RUSSO'S, probably the hardest part of losing everything is losing our weekly Russo's nights (OK leave it to me to miss the food part).  Scott and I were regulars, we just signed for our meals and paid the bill in trade to Dave (Russo) because he shopped the store all the time.  Eventually as music became an internet thing and less of an own and collect thing, the trade deal was off and that was that, we would still go for a while but now we are lucky to have family night at Subway.  The strange thing about all this, and my fellow poverty warriors will get this, mainly the people who have had it and lost it, is that it's no big deal, to me it's like...OK I can't go to the mall on a perfume adventure (which used to be my favorite thing to do go and smell everything and pick my new favorite). I can stay home and paint terrible portraits and scrapbook with actual scraps not cute things purchased in a store, I can clean and rearrange the house, which I love, I can play my guitar and throw the stick with my dogs.  I can't buy the kids things for no reason anymore, I can't just go to the grocery and get what I want without pricing every damn thing (I don't like that part much) but I can still cook, read,  have beautiful evenings with friends and all the things that REALLY matter and it took this "experience" this "journey" for me to put that into perspective and for that I am eternally grateful.  I can never see me ever being materialistic again, that is gone and what a burden lifted! Remember this (spawn of mine) the stuff is dangerous, it clouds your mind and your heart, stuff is just meaningless garbage that takes over and keeps you from seeing the beautiful side of a simple life it keeps you in a state of "defense" always worried that you will lose your stuff, someone will steal your stuff, and it's a horrible thing.  I lived like that, I was afraid of someday not having the means to shop and vacation and when that actually happened, it was a blessing in disguise.  So chin up! Bright lights everywhere (unless they are multi colored then go to the doctor it could be a stroke). I have nothing to give anyone anymore that isn't my love, time and energy, I can't just hand my friends cash and presents and you know what, my gifts of love are the best  I can give because they come from a place of honesty.  You know how I always say I would rather you guys make me something than buy me something, that's so true, and now that I can only give things that don't cost money I feel like it's more "real" and my friends are getting something I really care to give, not a candle or a set of dishes or a sweater from Old Navy. I can make soaps, breads, candies and bad art. So here we are today, the once "well off enough" family haven fallen to poverty level, even though we are now working harder than ever, we are flat broke in a material sense but (speaking only for myself) far richer than ever in a spiritual sense. I didn't even know I wasn't seeing the world correctly, I thought it was fine to have more than you needed, fine to give the guy on the corner a couple of dollars when you could afford 20. I thought it was just fine to be who I was but it wasn't,  it took a complete collapse of my way of living for me to see that.  I now give the guy on the corner whatever I have in cash, which isn't much, ever, but it's not just a token to ease my guilt for having more than he does, I give what I have because we are now floating in the same boat and I want my warrior brother to have less strife because I know that kind of strife and it's heavy.  So I am not sure how to handle the loss of the house, I am taking it one day at a time. I grew up (as I have discussed whilst blogging before) with an unstable Father, we moved over 30 times before I was 12 and my fear was always that I would have to relive it, that my now stable and grown up life would turn into that again, I have nightmares about losing my house, I always have. Now that it's happening, I'm not sure what to do to stay in the present without reliving a life that has long since passed me by.  I am in counseling again, and I'm not embarrassed by that, it's the "free" counseling but I have found there are great resources for people who have fallen off the happy wagon for a minute and I'm glad to utilize them.  I just want the tools to handle it without slipping into a cycle of dwelling on my upbringing, so counseling for me is the greatest gift I can give you guys, as my family so that I can keep a stiff upper lip and show you by example that all you have is the present, there is nothing else worth dealing with.  By keeping me whole and focused, I hope to keep you guys whole and focused, because it's just "stuff" and it shouldn't be this big of a deal.  I have joked (half joked) about putting a tipi (yes that's how you spell it) out on Mark's property, just having the dogs, some books, a garden and the stars, that may just come to pass and I'm telling Mark right here...clear me a spot on the back nine, guess I will know soon enough if he reads my blog :)
That sounds lovely to me, after all the adventure, the money wasted that could have helped someone, all the fullness and the temporary high of a materialistic life, I just want it all to be simple, honest and real, authentic. I hope that you get what you want, really, I just hope you have learned that what you want dims the light on what you need, and that what makes you happy is not what necessarily fulfills you.  Give your love and time to people who need it, paint lovely pictures even if you suck at it, sing songs, look at the stars, have a fire going that you can have a nice glass of wine by, OK a cheap ass glass of wine by, hug your siblings, your parents, pick the far away parking spot so someone who needs it can park closer, spend Thanksgiving feeding the people in shelters, make Christmas presents, don't buy them, take long walks and sit quietly in the woods and watch the deer, sleep under the stars when the mosquito's are gone for the season, believe in God, believe in life everywhere not just here, and most importantly believe in yourself...I do, and that has made all the difference. 

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