Sunday, April 30, 2017

Gravity is a Law - Revisited


From time to time, I dip back in to my old blogs to visit the woman I used to be. It's always fun to revisit me and see if my attitudes have changed, if I've learned more...it's like..."so here's where I ended up"

That woman tho...She was brave, she was a bit irrepressible, she lived life out loud and well...she was incredibly human. I still am all of that...just a few shades lighter on the "outrageous and irrepressible" spectrum. 

So...let's dip into my life on November 9, 2006 , shall we?

********

GRAVITY IS A LAW




Hmmm…

Starr reporting her from the dating Jungle! Holy cow is it ever thick out here!

Sometimes I feel like I’m on safari, really. I’ve been single for two years and it has been quite the roller coaster ride as I’ve discovered the many aspects of me. It’s all about lessons, I suppose.

A year ago, I talked about the journey I went through to discover, to finally fully love myself. And I do, I absolutely love and accept all of me. However, even secure in this knowledge that I am fabulous, I am still capable of casting doubt and cruelty upon my person. I’m still capable of de-valuing myself. And it’s frustrating.

You would think that you would learn a lesson once, and then move on. But as my cousin Gerri says, it’s like the layers of an onion. You learn a lesson and then you learn it again at a deeper level. Sigh. Damn.

And what have I learned this time? It’s about seeing my worth.

In times past, I have thrown all that I have in the ring. I have put it all out there only to come up short; only to find that I was dancing by myself. That Is not placing value upon myself…that is giving it all away for free. And really, if something is offered for free…does it really have value? I thought, at the time, that it was because I was willing to love unconditionally, and I needed to show it, to put it on display in hopes that someone else would do the same.

Guess what? Unconditional love should be earned, not given away.

The only people who come into our realm immediately worthy of unconditional love are our children. Anyone else…you damn betcha, they need to prove themselves worthy of your unconditional love. Wanna know why? Because maybe…just maybe they are NOT worthy. In jumping right ahead to unconditional love, you tend to ignore glaring issues. Sometimes acceptance of these tissues is not a good think. Sometimes these issues point the way to the exit door.

So…lesson 1…is more of a look before you leap kind of thing. I’m getting better at it…after a fashion. There are some serious gymnastics happening in which I take the leap…get caught in mid-air and think “whoa shit…no no…not yet”. Think Wyle E. Coyote.

Hilarious…

And that’s where learning to value myself begins. Because the truth is, no one will value me until I value myself. My love is worth earning, I am worth earning. And until I find that value within myself and treat myself as such, no one else will. And…the reality is, once I find that value within myself, no one else will need to.


That right there is a powerful statement. I feel the power of it. And the next layer of the onion is to live it. 
************

April 30,2017

Wow...it's so funny that I got that...but DIDN'T GET IT!

It took me a few more years and a bunch more heartache, plus the guidance and love of some really good friends and coaches to help me learn the key to the simple statement of "no one will value me until I value myself".

And every time I thought I had it right, the Universe would come along and prove to me that I still had work to do. It took some more heartbreak, a marriage, subsequent divorce and several adventures beyond some pretty fuzzy boundary lines to figure it out. But...I eventually learned to LIVE IT rather than just talk about it.  

But...don't think for a second that it means I'm all better now...I am still "capable of casting doubt and cruelty upon my person". There are still times when I de-value myself...yet instead of being frustrated by such things, I accept that such false thoughts are part of the experience of being human. 

I have friends who are out in the dating jungle right now who sometimes prevail upon me for my take on things. My advice is pretty jaded sometimes, but it comes from the experience of someone who spent a lot of time searching in the wrong places. There's rarely judgement...cuz who am I to say what their lesson should be or how many times they have to go thru the stupid shit before they finally get it? 

The funny thing, was once I figured it out, I stopped looking for "the one" and decided to just have fun. Sure enough, within a week, Scott showed up.

I had always heard it would happen that way...but I never really believed it. 

 Scott was just as jaded, just as not interested in finding "the one". I always say if you can imagine two porcupines trying to mate...that would have been us in the beginning. And yet...that sense inside of me that I was fine as I was and it was ok to be authentically me was finally true just enough to attract someone who believed me and agreed. 

The old habits were there, the willingness to bail if the signs or red flags were there were still there...but I was different on a profound level. I had taken the time to figure out what I wanted to experience rather than painting a picture of WHO I wanted to experience it with. I had enlisted the help of my friends to keep me grounded and told them what my warning signs were, I had plenty of love from them so that I had an example of how I wanted to be treated.

The hardest part at that point in my life wasn't so much finding Scott...it was staying. Because finding the person who seemed to fit what I wanted to experience meant that I now had to allow myself to be vulnerable. After 10 years in the dating scene...OPENING my heart scared the crap out of me. 

It was hard for both of us.

So...what made the difference?

In the beginning, I did everything the opposite of my regular MO...I slowed things down and I waited for him to make a move instead of charging forward. I'll be honest...he was my Kryptonite...he had absolutely everything that made my knees weak, starting with his beautiful smile and ending with his incredible geekiness and complexity. 

That slowing down gave me the opportunity to see that he was worth the risk. Slowing down allowed us both to see if there was an actual connection beyond a physical one. We had both been skipping that part...but it turned out that was the part we needed. 

So...is there advice that today me would give to 2006 me? 

A ton...

But the nugget that sticks out is one from a conversation Scott and I had about it the other day...
here it is...get ready...


"You have to walk thru it... Dunno why... But you do
Don't beat yourself up for the craziness... It's just all part of it"


That's it, that's all I can tell you. Having gone through all of this crap in the past 13 years since I separated from my first husband, Having been a relationship and break up recovery coach, having had my heart broken numerous times, all I can tell you is that it's about lessons and you just gotta give yourself a break, because at the end of the day...the love you are seeking is there already and it's inside of you...or to even say it better...


"Because the truth is, no one will value me until I value myself. My love is worth earning, I am worth earning. And until I find that value within myself and treat myself as such, no one else will. And…the reality is, once I find that value within myself, no one else will need to."





Wednesday, April 26, 2017

An army no one wants to be in

This is it...it's finally the day when I write what is on my heart about my current life...and lord knows, we may need some tissues by the time we're done...but here goes...

I'm in an army...not that I ever thought I would be. It's an army that, until a year ago, I was never even aware of...because, well, we're kind of hidden, you don't really notice us...until we get in your way. But then it's barely a glance as you rush past. I don't blame you, I did too.

I am one of the legions and legions of adults caring for an elderly parent...and I think it's time I talked about it. Cuz well...the truth is...it's a hard gig. We don't try to show it...but sometimes you can see through the cracks of our capability, our strength, our patience...if you look carefully, you may see a bit of wear in the facade.

Unless of course, you are lucky enough to live with me...then, you get to see it all up close and personal, all the rage, all the frustration, the tears, the rolled eyes, the stony silences...the late night calls and the emergency runs across town, And the constant wondering...if I'm falling short, if I'm doing the right thing, am I honoring her enough, am I being patient enough...and God help me...the days when I just need a break.

I cry as I write this, because...if there is one thing you should know, it is that I love and adore this woman. She is and always has been my rock, my example, my standard, my cheer leader. It is absolutely my honor to spend this time of her life with her and I know without a doubt it will be a time that I will always, and forever treasure.

and it is the hardest fucking thing I have EVER done. Hands down.

Raising kids was a cake walk...I had authority over my kids, at the end of the day, what I said was law and there was generally no argument.

Now...well, let's say, we're navigating our way through a mine field. Or maybe walking a tight rope, I guess it's just really about balance. Mom and I have had to figure out, where I can step in and where I can't, where she needs help, and where I need to pull back and let her do it...even if she doesn't think she can. We've had to both practice patience, although, quite frankly, she is WAY better at it than I am.

And...I'm her interpreter, she doesn't  hear well, she can barely see and she's in a wheel chair...I'm her eyes and ears. But...she's NOT dumb, and she certainly isn't senile.  I see her time and time again virtually ignored as people ask me questions about her IN FRONT OF HER!! Mom patiently explains to each and every one of them that she is perfectly capable of answering questions, they just need to ask her...not me. And by the time she's done with them, she has their complete adoration and attention. Have I mentioned that she's amazing?

She just is.

We fought a couple of weeks ago...we rarely do, but it happens. She thought she had an infection on her leg, I didn't and for some reason, I was a complete idiot and argued with her about going to Urgent Care. The disagreement wasn't so much about her needing to go, but where she should be treated. It was stupid, it was my fault. We didn't go that day, but I came to my senses and got her there the next day.

As I thought about it, I kept asking myself what the hell was wrong with me? If mom feels like she needs to go to the doctor, there is no question but "how soon"? When I apologized to her a few days later, I told her so. I also told her that I'd thought about it...and really, the only reason I can come up with for resisting is that I just really want her to be invincible like she used to be.

Truth be told...she wasn't invincible, unsinkable yes...but she hid all the pain and worry from all of us for most of our lives. And yet, I have never seen a woman more willing to help others, to offer support to anyone, no matter what their story. Her example created a legacy of kids and grandkids who will drop anything to help a neighbor. She still finds small ways to give back.

She's still unsinkable, but the physical pain is always there, and the emotional scars; the years and years of denying and "not talking about" hard stuff have caught up with her. In all of my growing up, I think I saw her cry once. Now, it's not unusual for her to tear up over a loss or a memory...but she quickly says "let's talk about something else"!

Who am I to argue...at 90, she gets a pass whenever she wants one.


It always amazes me when I begin writing, I never know quite where I'll end up...but here I am...in awe as I continue to stand on the shoulders of a giant, of a woman who I can only hope to ever be as brave, as kind, as unsinkable and Billie Jean Piercy




Saturday, April 8, 2017

Glimpses of the past


For years, I've had my graduation picture as well as this picture of my grandmother, Fern, hanging on the same picture board. The board has moved, and other pictures have rotated on and off, but these two pictures have remained.



Yesterday, I was digging through some boxes at Mom's house and discovered an old photo album that had belonged to Fern. Mom didn't have much use for it, so she said I could have it.

I never really knew Fern; we met once when I was eight and I think she died when I was in high school. She and mom were estranged for a variety of really great reasons....the main one being...

Fern was crazy. (and in my family...that's saying something)


As I was looking through her photo album and telling Scott about her, I gestured to the picture on the wall, he asked "What picture are you talking about?" I got up and took it off the board and turned it over, it was dated 1922. Fern was 18 years old, the same age that I was in my graduation picture. 

I was able to put these together...and I think I see a resemblance...maybe...I'm just not sure. I guess I'm too close to it. 

Most of all, it makes me wonder who Fern was...really....




Here's what I 've been able to piece together between family legend...and ancestry.com

  • She was born Goldie Fern Bonner...or perhaps Gladys Fern Bonner, in 1904 in Missouri. (I'm pretty sure it was Gladys and she changed it to Goldie...but it could have been the other way around...eventually, she became known as Fern) 
  • Her father died when she was 7, family lore has it that her mother couldn't take care of the youngest 4 (of 9)  kids after his death, so they were sent to an orphanage where they were "farmed out" as servants. The girls, Hazel and Fern worked  in the house, and the boys, Ted and Earl worked outside. 
  • World War 1 began when she was 13. 
  • Her older brother Perry died when she was 14
  • At age 16 she was living as a servant in Missouri
  • by age 19, she was married to Ernest Ray Garnett and living in California
  • at age 20, she gave birth to a son, Ernest Ray Garnett Jr. 
  • at age 22, she gave birth to a daughter named Emma. (she would later change her daughter's/my mom's name to Billie Jean)
  • at age 23, her 2 year old son died, my mom was 9 months old. I don't remember how he died, but I think he was sick for a while. There was never really a chance to bond with Emma/Billie Jean. Of course...by that time, she may have been incapable of bonding with anyone :-(
  • She was divorced by age 30...and mom was in a foster home...and from that time on, Fern would come get her every once in a while,  move her to another relative's house, and then abandon her again.
  • She married Kenneth Klintworth in 1936, but by 1940 they were divorced. They would eventually get married to each other again, and would stay together until his death in 1989
  • She died in 1995 at the age of 91 (for the record, I was 30 at the time...clearly not in high school as I stated previously)...but not before she terrorized the staff at the nursing home she was in...I remember mom having to fly to Spokane to "deal with her" and I remember something about her taking away Fern's gun.

Her photo album is from her time in Alaska but also contains pictures from her youth. In the front are 3 pictures of Ray Jr and one picture of my mom as a toddler. There are a ton of pictures of sled dogs...she was a dog person. I wonder if it's genetic...

Those are the facts, I suppose. The stories are another thing and usually told from the perspective of someone who was abandoned and never properly loved by this woman. It makes sense...

And yet...Fern's story makes complete sense to me too. I know she was born in Missouri in 1904, but her older sister, Hazel California Bonner, was born in a covered wagon on the way to California in 1900. So, the family moved a lot, although they seemed to have settled in Missori for a bit. She was the 2nd youngest of 9 kids and her father died at age 7. Her life was filled with tragedy and death, as an orphan who was farmed out, she wasn't given the love and nurturing of her mom, she was just a servant. By the time she got around to having my mom, she was married with a sick child who was going to die...she was done ever bonding with anyone ever again. She was 23 years old...she was just done. 

And let's talk the 1920's...that was "her time" before shit went horribly wrong. Her photos show that she was having a great time. Given the social upheaval of the time, I would imagine her morals were somewhat on the opposite end of my mom's rather high standards. 

I remember my mom telling me how horrified she was when, at age 15, Fern brought her to live with her and her then ex husband, Kenneth. They would eventually remarry, but they weren't married at the time...and it disgusted my young teenaged mom. Mom's stories about Fern usually run along those lines...they always end with Fern being a complete failure as a mom, and well...who can blame my mom for feeling that way?

I wish I knew more though, I would love to fill in more about who she was as a person Quite frankly, since my dad's folks died before I was born...there's always been a "blank" where the word "grandparent" is in my life. I can fill in the facts of her life, and I can add in the legends and a bit of supposition...but I'll never really know her....

For now tho...I have this picture of an 18 year old Goldie Bonner who, like all of us at that age, thought she had the world by the tail. She was in love, she had hope...and she had adorable dimples. 




Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Finding love - the search that brought me here


Originally published January 8, 2006


Finding Love


I'm sitting here listening to my "love and romance" CD, burned for me by someone who loved me for an all too brief moment. Reba is singing about wanting someone to love her...

"if dreams give you power
then I'm strong enough
 to offer my heart and never give up
til you love me"

Ahhh if it were just that simple. 

 Finding love is a difficult, sometimes amusing process...holding love... a near impossibility it seems. It's something that I have learned to approach with a sense of adventure more than anything. "What can I learn next?"  being my motto of the moment. "Dear Lord, please lead me to my next mistake...and guide me and protect me on the way" is my current prayer.

I'm not afraid to love, I love deeply knowing that I will be hurt, knowing that I will end up crying on my bathroom floor, wondering why it didn't work this time. I do this because I know that I have lost the greatest love of my life and have survived. I put my heart out there hoping, praying that I will find a love that great again.

And I know that, in the process, I will learn finally...to fully love me.

I think the greatest love that I will ever find is the love affair I have with me.  I'm learning to accept me and love me unconditionally. I'm learning that although I'm not perfect, some days I'm all I've got. I'm learning to adore my weaknesses as well as my strengths. I'm learning to find beauty in all my parts...even those lovely stretch marks.

"Amazed" by LoneStar is on...

"I don't know how you do what you do
I'm so in love with you
it just keeps getting better
I want to spend the rest of my life
 with you by my side
forever and ever
every little thing that you do
baby I'm amazed by you"


Ahhh...that kind of love...wouldn't that kind of love be perfect? Can I love that deeply? Can someone love me that deeply? Can I love myself that deeply??

Damn.

We spend our lives searching and hoping for that kind of love. We wait for that special someone who "gets" us. There are the heady days of romance and giggling...wearing his favorite perfume because he likes it...and he's not even going to see you that day. Writing little hearts with your initials in them. I've discovered recently that you never get too old for that.

Then reality hits, the giddiness dies, and what's left? A whole lot of questions. Was I authentic? Did I state my truth? Was I being too (...insert any word you want there...you ask it....)"too honest"..."too out there"..."too submissive"..."too aggressive"..."too me"? (God forbid you be too you...that's just asking for trouble)

In the end...the person you have to answer to is you. What answers will you like?
 I've discovered in my process (read crash course in dating) that ultimately what happens is I discover a certain person will bring something out in me that I don't like. And boy howdy do I have to answer to myself for that one!

Does love last forever?

I think in one form or another it does. I mean, even though the greatest love of my life is no longer living under the same roof with me...and will never again; I've never stopped loving him. I think he has never stopped loving me but it's a different love. Hell, throughout our 21 years together, the love was different every year. We evolved, our love changed, and transformed. Finally, the greatest, most loving thing we could do for each other was let each other go. But our love for each other will never die.

And now I'm off in search of a new love...a new adventure, new heartbreak, new fun, new everything. And in the process, the same old love of the same old Starr is there...and she'll never go away, she'll never fail me...

In the end...she's all I really have.

_________________________

October 19, 2016

This is one of my favorite blogs from back then. I'm sitting here with a smile on my face and kind of in awe of the woman I was....which is funny because a moment ago my heart was breaking for that same woman.

I think on the one hand, my heart breaks because I know what was ahead for that brave, silly woman. Yet I cheer because, as tough as my life becomes, I still have that same optimism. I still believe in love and more importantly, I believe in the Good that exists in every person I meet - whether they are aware of that Good or not.

I suppose the difference now is that I don't try to convince people to fit into my view of them, I don't build pedestals, I don't fall in love with their potential. And I sure as hell don't "shrink to fit" anyone else's expectations.

And the answer to the question...just in case you want to know...is "you are never too much, you are always enough"


And here's a little inspiration to go with that...




My darkest day - the day that I lost Faith

Originally published 9/15/2007


"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see"

Years ago, in the midst of my separation and divorce, I became angry with God. I remember the moment in which I just lost it. I screamed, I cried, I hit walls, I threw things. I yelled "I've had enough of this, can't you just give me a fucking break? I'm done, I can't handle anymore, I give up!"

I remember so clearly the feeling of loss and desolation that I experienced. I can actually see myself hitting the wall, and screaming and then sitting on my bathroom floor and crying. I can remember how positive thoughts began to form in my head and I pushed them away. I always believe that angels surround me and it seemed that they arrived to try to give me comfort and I screamed "shut up!!". It was almost as if they looked at my main guardian angel, shrugged and said..."she's yours...see what you can do with her"

And so I sat there and cried....cursed God, and felt true loneliness.

After a while, I grabbed my journal and started writing. I told God we were through, I was done...I listed the reasons why I couldn't take another step, why I just needed to rest and get a break from whatever calamity was in my life at the time. The feeling that I had in those few moments was terrifying.

The next morning, May 12 2005, I wrote the following:
"I'm having a crisis of faith - everything has been stripped away and I'm tired.

So while there is this part of me that is terrified of being alone, there is another part of me that wants to be strong, needs to be strong and just can't. And in order to have strength, I have to have faith and I just don't know what to do about that

My hopes have been crushed - I've worked my ass off and here I am

Even surrender seems like a lot to ask - cuz I've been faithful and the tests keep getting harder.

A voice inside me tells me to just let go. Ok fine, I give up...

God is here - I don't believe it. I'm angry at God - I've had faith and things just keep getting harder. And while I don't have strength for faith - maybe what I've thought was faith was really expectation

Today I don't have strength for expectations - I'll just have faith that I'll keep breathing, I'll just have faith that I'll make it through another day. It's all I can afford right now.

As for God...(long pause)

All I've got is faith that he or she is out there somewhere...

It seems like I've gone wrong somewhere. Maybe there is no fucking plan, maybe all there is is pain, I'm empty, I've got nothing

Look God, I'm tired, I'm down, I've lost faith, I'm spent, I fucking surrender. You and the angels have a lot of work to do - and I don't even think I can hope anymore, hope has betrayed me.

Just get me through another day. I guess that's all I can ask for."
So....after a while, I got up, woke the boys up and moved around a bit...and I came to this realization:
"All I have is Faith and my Faith in God and my angels is all that's gotten me this far, all that's given me strength, it's been the source of my strength. To lay it down, to let it go is the worst betrayal of all.

My faith in God is my faith in me and my ability to survive, my faith in my angels is my faith in my inner knowing.

The reason I'm here is because this is where I need to be. It sucks, it hurts and it's where I am.

It's also where God is. One of us has to carry this and right now, it's just gonna have to be God.

I surrender, you take it...I'll watch"
Faith is all that gets you through sometimes. In those moments of despair, it's all that you can cling to, it's a lifeline. And if you don't want to have faith in God, that's ok...have faith in something...have faith in yourself....have faith that you'll keep breathing, that you'll take another step eventually. Have faith that the sun will rise and set....just know that time moves forward and things will get better.




October 19, 2016

Man, those were some cloudy, crazy days. If the journal entry was May of 2005, I would have been right smack dab in the middle of my separation from my first husband. May 2005 means that my oldest son was 12 and the twins were 9. My heart aches for my boys back then, they had a mother who was clearly insane and just trying to get by. My heart aches for me too because I know how many more times my heart would break, how many more times I would end up on that bathroom floor crying my eyes out, how many more times I would have declared myself to have it all together...only to end up broken again.

I don't break anymore. 

It seems such an odd sentence to write, but I just don't. Don't get me wrong, I have tantrums and melt downs on occasion. The breakdowns and crying fits come...well....they come easier now because I've learned to honor my feelings and then release them. As I've become more and more sure of myself and more accepting of the idea that "sometimes ya just gotta let it all out", I don't hesitate. If I feel like crying, I cry. I don't argue with it, I don't tell myself to toughen up...I just fucking cry and get it over with. 

But...that doesn't break me. I know now that tomorrow will come and I will feel better. I know now that it's not really within me to give up, believe me, I've tried...but I just can't seem to do it. 

I know now that the sun will indeed rise tomorrow and life goes on whether I rail against it or not. So, I've learned to let shit go. I've learned that whether I'm happy or sad, time will pass. It will move excruciatingly slow if I'm sad so I may as well make the best of the situation. The choice is mine. 

Faith? Well, yeah, it's Faith. It's Wisdom too...after all, the distance of 11 years can do that to you. 

Can you get along without it? Sure...who am I to tell you that you can't? Whatever works for you. 

But in the words of Buddhist Monk & peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh

"If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today"


Sunday, October 16, 2016

I want to love with no agenda


written July, 2014




I want to love with no agenda

I want to love with no agenda
Reaching deep into my heart
Revealing what is there
Finding joy that comes from sharing

Sharing the beauty
Sharing the peace
Sharing the sensation
Of a love that comes from the inside out

I want to uncover my soul
And walk away from fear
Both have always been there
Waiting for me to choose

I choose freedom
I choose courage
I choose a life
Lived beyond limitation

I want to break free
of the prison of my own making
And walk lightly into the breach
holding the keys for my release

Loving my Self
Sharing my Self
Embracing my Self
No matter what mask I wear

Will you do the same?
I cannot ask for such
Only you know when you’re ready
As only I know that I AM

Sharing for the sake of sharing
Choosing for the sake of choosing
Loving for the sake of loving
Shining the light that leads the way





I loved you from a broken place

originally written August, 2014




I loved you from a broken place

I loved you from a broken place
Bending, twisting, contorting
Compromising, pleasing, sacrificing
Placing your will above mine
Placing your happiness above mine
And calling it love

I was happy with your scraps
When there was a banquet set before me,
I chose instead to turn away
And placed my heart upon the floor
Setting it gently below your feet
And I called it love

You taught me well, oh lover mine
You showed me the broken place
Your coldness was my salvation
Baring the darkness in my soul
and as I turned myself towards healing
I lovingly let you go