This morning, lying in bed, I was confronted with stress, fear, sadness, “aloneness”, and I realized that I didn’t like who I was at this moment in time. I’m using external things as a crutch to hold me up.

But I’m woke now. It may not go swimmingly every single moment, but it will go and the direction it, being my life, goes is up to me. I don’t believe in “fate” or “destiny”. It is not in my consciousness to turn over control of my life to someone else – or in this case something else – never has been.

Growing up my dad gave me ‘suggestions’ on everything, even how best to control my menstrual cycles. He was a man and obviously didn’t know jack about menstrual cycles other than the two women in his house had them so he was offering me suggestions about mine why? I don’t know but all of his suggestion-ing impacted me in that it made me doubt myself. Here is what I do know…

My dad died of cancer six weeks after being diagnosed with it. He served during WWII, over in Scotland, and worked to help decode incoming enemy transmissions. He was a quiet young man from Minnesota who left home to get a law degree at Southern Methodist University in Texas because that’s what he wanted to do. The War came along and he served. The stress of serving this quiet man led to ulcers, which led to surgery, which resulted in a severed Vega nerve. He’d had pancreatic cancer for a while but didn’t know because he didn’t feel pain. Six weeks after saying he had a “stomach ache” he was dead. He died on Mother’s Day 1997.

My mom was a strong woman who went through all manner of bull shit and always came out on the other side. She was raised on the “Iron Range” of northern Minnesota where taconite is the main industry. Taconite, for those not in the know, is one of the main ingredients in steel. Mining it leaves a nasty dust that lingers and many people from where she grew up had various cancers, emphysema, etc. My mom had uterine, cervical, thyroid, and breast cancer. What got her was the emphysema. I removed her from life support that last time, in January 1998, per her wishes for me to do so.

Suddenly I was an orphan at 38 years old, or that’s how I saw myself. I was married at the time, not to my son’s dad, and that man was the only man I ever really loved. We decided to divorce, or rather I asked for one because I didn’t know who I was now that my whole family was gone in 8 months. Later on, that man – who left me at the hospital waiting for my mother’s body systems to shut down to go home and let the dog out – told me he didn’t “love me the way he should have”. That’s ok, but no shit.

I met Ian’s father some months after that and, lying in the bed we’d shared on the night of our wedding, I asked myself, “What have I done?” When a marriage starts out that way it’s never a good sign. By then, though, I was carrying the ONLY person on the planet that I will always love without question, hesitation, or condition. I stayed in that marriage for six years because I wanted my son to have a dad. It didn’t matter than his “dad” didn’t really want him, I did what I had to do. Ian rarely speaks of his dad anymore and often tells me that I have been the best parentS he could have ever asked for.

Yet, I think of the damage that I must have wrought in my son and it makes me sick. I have depression. So what, millions of other people have it, too. I let this stupid bullshit derail me whenever it decides to do so. Not anymore, not on my watch.

I have a goal in mind, getting out of here and becoming an “expatriate”. Ideally I’ll expat to the UK or the EU, but Thailand or Vietnam would be cool, too. I have a skill set that allows me to help children, students, struggling with school. I have a caring nature and want to advocate for those who either cannot, or will not, advocate for themselves. That’s pretty cool, that I’m helping people who need it. Shit, I’d go to Syria to help those people there if I didn’t think I wouldn’t be in serious harm’s way.

So, I have a plan but first I have to clean up some crap here. I need to pull my head out of my butt and actively get control of myself back. That means no more crutches because things we think are helping us when we are in a bad place are often much more harmful in the light of a clearer mind. Cigarettes aren’t going to help me get a job in another country. Pot isn’t either. Feeling like I suck as a human being, again, won’t help me accomplish anything and will only further push me down, keep me down, in the hole where I am trying desperately to extricate myself from.

Nope, the only thing that will help me is me. Who am I? Sometimes I don’t even know but what I do know is that I’m strong. I don’t stay down long. In fact, this period of the last two months, has been the longest I’ve been down. I handled chemotherapy better than I dealt with the last two months. I “had” a man who loved me but did I really? I went off a medication that I allowed to turn me into a basket case for for what purpose? This? Yeah, no more. I’m ashamed that my having woken up to life after surviving cancer was quelled by these two events.

As one of my favorite students says when something goes especially well, “Huzzah!”. That’s my new mantra because I need to make what I want to happen actually happen. It’s not going to just happen. If I decide I want to live and teach over whatever sea I choose, it’ll be because I made it happen. If I decide that I want a man in my life, I will make it happen. I’m not sure I do, though, not now. I need to celebrate who I am, experience things I want to experience because those things are mine, no one else’s. I need to do “stuff” for me first and then I’ll consider letting someone else in.

In talking with Richard last night, yeah I know, he said the only way he’d “let me go” was if I gave my heart to another. I have. I gave my heart back to me.


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