Keeping Time – Where Are Your Memories?

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I came across this quote today:

“Life is not the number of days you live, it’s the number of days you remember”  

I sat and thought about it for quite awhile. I have had quite a life. At 64 I think I can honestly say that I have aggressively filled it with lots of “things”. I never settled. I never let fear take hold. I lived where I wanted to live and I did the things I wanted to do. I dealt with adversity by attacking it head on. If I said I was going to do something I did, and if didn’t work out the way I hoped, it wasn’t for lack of trying, and I didn’t find excuses and justifications and made some other reason to blame.

Most of all, if someone thinks I shouldn’t do something and has nothing to add to the reasons why, than it doesn’t make me not want to do it. My motto – and I mean this – and I’ve told this to probably hundreds of people in the last 40 years:

~If you don’t like what I’m doing, don’t watch me do it~

I don’t care if someone doesn’t like what I do. My life is my life. Period. You shouldn’t try to make people change because it is something YOU wouldn’t do. I don’t do that to them. It’s okay to express your opinion, just don’t expect me to live life the way you would.

I learned many people don’t do what they want because  of fear.

1. Fear of the unknown

2. Fear of failure

3. Fear of what people will think (other people don’t think about you as often as you think they do)  

There are also people who begin something new, but have no follow through. I know a woman – a talented woman – who began many projects, from writing a book, quilting, began a business and did all the preliminary research, created stained glass, even began painting her hallway, and on and on. She quit almost every project after starting enthusiastically.

Unfinished projects. Why? Her answer was, “I’m going to get back to them someday, maybe.” She had such a wonderful creative mind, yet had no confidence in herself. I think the answer was – if she was the one who chose to stop, then it wasn’t because she had failed. She could always begin it again, but seldom did. It was her choice.  She also told me one day, “I wish nothing changed.  I wish I could stay in my house and nothing changed. I don’t want friends, because you have to maintain friendships. If I have no friends no one will expect anything of me.” (and I don’t have to be there for them, either?) 

I thought I could show her something different – that she had value. I encouraged her to believe in herself. The end result – she believed a lie someone told her (I won’t get into that) and wouldn’t talk to me about it. It gave her the excuse to kick me out of her life, ( for the second time, and the first time lasted 35 years)  and she no longer speaks to me anymore. It’s been about 4 years now, I can’t “remember” exactly when. I’ve tried to unsuccessfully squash it down. 

Some people want to disappear. I will have no more memories of her to think about and that makes me sad. I don’t know how she is doing. Some people won’t stand up for their own life. She didn’t want to have a life beyond what appeared in front of her without any effort on her part. If you choose to believe things without finding out the truth you are taking the path of least resistance. Sadly, I’m not the only person she did this to. 

At the end of her life what will she remember? And she is my sister. 

I know my style of living is not for everyone. But I realize life is short and I’m going to die at the end of it. I have wanted to fill it up with memories so when I’m decrepit I can relive my memories. My memories of her are mostly of our childhood. 

My successes, my failures, my friends – many of them are all over the world. They live in my tablet and I can visit with them whenever I want. Except for limited family and neighbors, how many people are good friends who care about you, and you see them face to face? The internet opened up the world. 

Right now I’m making plans to meet up with a young Russian man in his 20’s during a visit to America in June, when I take the train from Harrisburg to Miami on down to the Keys. I make this trek quite often and have met some very interesting people. A man traveling who makes a living betting on sports – older woman who traveled the states when she was young, picking fruits and vegetables and loved it!

My Russian friend and I have been writing and sending pictures since he was about 15 and needed advice on how to talk to a girl in school. He was also learning to play the guitar so we talked about learning music. Such fun. He was just learning English and now speaks it proficiently. He had a goal and is making his goal come true. No, I don’t equate his being Russian with the politics of Russia with the United States. 

I started this post today because I read a quote and it started me thinking about my own life. These were the thoughts that came to mind. What do you think? How do you live your life? What do you think about taking chances and doing something new? Let’s talk about it.

As an afterthought here is music I recorded about Time:

Music, videos  and photos found here at my website

Sign up to my mailing list at that website to hear about new music and videos. Many thanks to you!

 

Fear… 

———I read this today and felt as though this person, who doesn’t know me – knew me. When do we stop pretending everything is okay with someone when it is not. When you have to “keep it light” because someone can’t handle a conversation any deeper than the weather so you can tell them what is really in your head. What kind of relationship is that when you can only put on a face and pretend everything is okay – when it isn’t.

crashingstone


Not to express

What you think is right

Not to say

What you think is wrong

Shadowed under the dark cloud

You live but as dead

Worried what your words might bring

Terrified at the though of thoughtfulness

You stay quiet with a storm within

Rashness all around

Fear in the air

Terror filled in minds

But fake peace on the face

Idiots running the show

And clever hiding behind

Saneness gone in the bin

Insanity gone rogue

Fights on amongst ourselves

And wounds inflicted on us

When will us speak up

And when will we fight back

When will be break the shackles

And undo all the wrongs

When will the cloud go

And the fear disappear

When will we live free

Out of this constant fear?
-RS

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Nothing is Impossible

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Today I was reading about the paralympics for those with disabilities. How inspiring! So often we hear people around us complaining about how hard life is for them and why they don’t accomplish doing things for themselves. My mother is recovering from a stroke that rendered her right side almost useless. She went from a highly active 83 year old woman who has been a leader in her community, always inspirational. Overnight she became totally dependent on others for some of the simplest things we take for granted. How do you use the toilet and stand up and pull your pants up with one good leg and one good arm and keep your dignity?

My mother has been my inspiration my entire life. I am who I am because of her. She taught me my worth doesn’t come from an hourly wage, it comes from developing who I am to the best of my abilities so when I look back on my own life I will know I did my absolute best to be the best I could be. She never judged me. She encouraged me. Value isn’t created by money. We know our own value by how we continue to understand to ourselves, the way we learn that, and if we are being true to ourselves instead of uding what other people think we should be as our guide.

My mother and I are carbon copies in many ways and are able to talk about even the smallest details in our lives.

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She has worked like an Olympian to regain use of her body. Because she has ways lived this way, people look to her for inspiration. She is finally coming home in 2 weeks after 5 1/2 months in the hospital and nursing home. You could paper all the walls in her room with the cards she has received. People come from out of town and out of state to tell her how much she means to them and talk about all of the things she did for them along with caring and telling them they can overcome whatever problem they have. She always made people know how special they are.

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Her Nichiren Buddhist practice of 26 years has given her the strength that no matter what the outcome, she did the best she could. Most of us could do more than we do. Many people don’t tell others what their dreams are because then they might be expected to follow through with it, and what if they fail? But the biggest failing is excepting mediocrity and thinking that is good enough.

This video is awesome. It is what made me think of my mother. The legacy we each leave behind when it’s time to depart this earth is the effect we have had on others that has changed their life for the better. That change allows them to pass their legacy on. I hope this inspires you to do something you’ve always wanted to do but was afraid to try. Good luck! Amaze yourself. Do something you never thought you could.

Up Late by Alonza Thomas

einstein quote

UP LATE

I remember being young, young and care free.
A simple little boy, that loved simple things.
Loyal to a flaw with no one to love me.
I’m kinda nervous…. but please, let me explain me.

I never felt so alone in all of my existence.
No joke, my emotions came second like scottie pippen
My life a whirlwind, I’m along for the ride.
Bury My Face In Pillows So They Wouldn’t See Me cry.
If I had it my way they would have to watch me die.
The pain is deep inside, Lord knows I wanna survive.
My mental state of mind is numb I feel defeated.
Wasn’t hard, I was a puzzle that would never be completed.
13 wasn’t hard for manipulation to mislead me.
I wake up from a sleep. So nervous that he near me.
anxious like student in class taking finals.
and my eyes never focus on much. They run wild.
Right now I feel naked. Exposing all of my wounds.
And I swear I feel like a fool.

One piece to the puzzle…

by Alonza Thomas

Stop Believing Family is Supposed to Love You, When They Don’t

Older sister on the left and me on the right, and younger sister in front.  I remember this day at Wildwood NJ
Older sister on the left and me on the right, and younger sister in front. I remember this day at Wildwood NJ

When I wake in the morning I always grab my Nook, swallow 10 mg of methadone and start my daily routine on the web, while waiting for some of the pain to subside, so I can get on with my day, which usually includes 12 hrs or more in front of my laptop on my other website http://mynameisjamie.net or writing my book “InsideOut” There are three of ten chapters written so far that can be found on the opening page of that site. The weather isn’t nice outside, so I have a reason to hole up inside. I absolutely hate cold weather and won’t go out in it if I don’t have it.

I’m beating about the bush. I happened on some posts at https://drkottaway.wordpress.com/ about how childhood trauma can affect you.  There are quite a few great posts here and is a worthwhile blog going to.   I have some deep issues dealing with my family and they came to a head recently and dealing with them has not been easy. I decided to just write and get it out.

I am inserting a piece of music I recorded. My music is all improvisational, never to be played again.  A wrong note here and there. Keep that in mind and listen while you read.

———————————————–Sonni Quick   copyright 2015 -Watching and Waiting

When we are children, we have no way to process the things that happen to us, so we end up thinking it is our fault and most of the time it affects who we are to this very day. It’s not so easy to just say, “I won’t think about it any more.  It won’t affect my life any more”, because the damage has already been done and all we can do is pick up the pieces and try to use what we have learned in a positive way somehow. Easier said than done.  I don’t think any child escapes trauma of some kind and even though it may even seem like such a small thing today, back then it affected everything – which then affects your existence today.

Me, my father, my older sister and younger sister. Happy family time.
Me, my father, my older sister and younger sister. Happy family time.

I went through a molestation with a visiting uncle who took his penis out and wanted me to touch it. I did. He did it one of my sisters, too. I didn’t find that out, though for 45 years. I never told anyone. Neither did she. He didn’t visit for long, so he had no other opportunities to do anything else. I don’t know why I never said anything, but I knew it was wrong.  What do you say, “Uncle took his thingy out” – when I don’t even think I knew then what it was called? I never told anyone until I was in my 50’s. 

Negative family relationships

I have a sister a year older than me who, when I was 5, when we were walking to school, wouldn’t let me walk with her, and this 6 year old told me, “I don’t want anyone to know you are my sister.” Until we graduated, if she saw me in the school hall she turned her face away. If my own sister didn’t want me around why would anyone? I hated to go to the lunch room in fear I’d have no one to sit with.  Gym class petrified me and I thought of every excuse I could to not have to play games where people picked other people for their team. Since I had no friends, of course I was usually picked last or close to it. Until I graduated I had very few friends. Until I was 34 I had very few friends. I scared people off by not being friendly first, so I didn’t have to worry if I was going to be rejected. I had such a fear of rejection I rejected them first. Why would someone want to be friends with me?

It wasn’t until I started practicing Buddhism and this woman I didn’t know called me and asked if I wanted to come to a discussion meeting.  I stood there with my hand on the phone in total amazement. A woman called me like she was my friend?  She wanted me around? I remember this so clearly.

Aside from this, I hustled pool, changed my name and reinvented myself several timees.  spent many years working as a professional musician, on stage many, many times. Confident, strong and an air of being so sure of myself and my goals.  I needed no one.   My wall was very high. My confidence alone pushed people away.  I could walk into a club and pick what man I wanted to spend time with and walk out with him.  I made myself believe I needed no one.

It’s easy to see why my family didn’t quite know how to deal with me, but did they need to be quite so hurtful? We’re in our 60’s.  Okay, I led a very diverse life. It sure wasn’t boring. This truth telling has only been the tip of the iceberg? Could I have led their lives doing the same thing over and over for decades?

I have a younger sister, but we were never “sisters”. She has recently made it clear that she doesn’t know ” how”.  A few weeks ago at the age of 61 my older sister had quadruple heart bypass surgery. I have a fairly large family. Mom, and also a variety of neices and nephews and their families.  Everyone was at the hospital to support her – except me, because I knew if I went it would cause a big problem. So I stayed home and kicked the walls for a few days. I sent her a card, said nice things in about wanting to see her, wrote her an email asking her to please call. She won’t answer her phone because she sees it’s me. No response.

Four years ago I had to move home to Pa from Key West. I lost my home and my business, a retail store of ten years at the Weston Hotel where the cruise ships docked.  I lost everything. My husband and I moved to my mothers into a 10×10 room.  My whole life was in storage or in that room.  I think my family expected me to be a whole person, but I wasn’t.  I was shattered into tiny pieces that were unable to process thought very well any more. I was very sick and was put on the liver transplant list, because 40 years ago, when I left home to go to college, I turned to drugs.

Drugs took the place of friends. people don’t do drugs because it makes them feel bad. It fills a hole. It puts good feelings in a place there is none. I had no self worth and when I was high I could come out of myself and play and dance and sing and be the person I wanted to be. It gave me fortitude the same way a drink gives fortitude to an alcoholic.

I was raped once when I was about 20. The only person I told was this man’s girlfriend. I ended that relationship. All I did was run away and spent 3 days shooting heroin, but stopped the first time I felt sick and knew it would make me feel better. I made a sign on a piece of cardboard and hitchhiked home, although home was not where I grew up.

Except occasionally,when I went to Pa every couple years to visit, I had no communication with my sisters. Why?

I had a problem with drugs off and on until age 34.  Once and addict always an addict, just like someone never really recovers from alcohol.  One drink can set them back.  I never turned down any drug if it was put in front of my face. But at 34, I found Nichiren Buddhism, which I’ve written about many times. Even my mother changed from Christianity to Buddhism after she took an honest look at what it taught. But it was at age 34, when I realized my life really did have value and I didn’t need to be afraid any more. That was 27 years ago.

That day I stopped doing street drugs. But within months the ugly head of hep C reared with unexplained illnesses.  Since very few doctors knew abou Hepatitis C they gave an addict pain pills for the nerve pain or wanted to give me anti depressants because, since they couldn’t diagnose it, it was all in my head. It was another ten years before I got a diagnoses. I stayed on my feet for 12 more years until my liver was a complete mess and a transplant was necessary. It had turned to liver cancer. I was out of time. I had to move home where there was a good transplant hospital.

Shooting drugs from ages 19-22, hiding from myself and pretending to be someone else was a massive cause and effect.

My mother has always asked me why I did drugs. If I hadn’t left the state to go to college, which I screwed up doing drugs, and stayed home, maybe I wouldn’t have done them? Karma is karma. There are drugs everywhere.  Staying home wouldn’t have changed that, but being away my family also meant they couldn’t see what I was doing.

When I moved back to Pa I thought I would have a family who cared about me.  It was a very big shock, although I don’t know why, to find out that I didn’t.  They didn’t care a whit about what happened to me and proved it over and over and over.  I thought, “Stupid me”

I had that transplant 2 1/2 years ago.  Not one member of my family was there for me that day, except my husband. The rest of my  family went to the beach on vacation. Not one phone call to even see if I was dead. My mother did stop by the ICU on her way out of town. My Dr said my transplant was in the nick of time. My husband was scared to death and there was no one there to support him. My family didn’t like him, either, and they made no bones about saying so. The negative gossip was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  They didn’t know him, but being married to me was all that was needed. I was told I had maybe a couple weeks of life left at the most, if they hadn’t been able to find a liver in time. I’d been bed ridden for about a year by then. My husband had to do everything for me, even wipe my ass and help me on and off the toilet. I was on a massive amount of drugs to keep protein from building up in my brain and going into a coma.  My body swelled up so big with fluid it was leaking out through sores on my legs. Thinking was hard.  All I could was lay in bed and watch movies on my DVD player.  We don’t own a TV.  He would help me walk to the living room to sit or out to the garden and sit. Not one get well card. No one called.  Recently, when talking to my neice she told me how bad I looked before my surgery.  I bit my tongue and kept my mouth shut because I wanted to say, “How would you know?  I didn’t see you once the year before my surgery. . . .  They have no clue.  I was bedridden for a year after the surgery because I had to relearn how to walk and feed myself. After the surgery my back fractured along with 7 ribs, one at a time. The wall of solid pain didn’t even begin to diminish for six weeks. If anyone would have asked me if I wanted to die, I would have gladly gone. Hopefully I will be having spine surgery in the next couple months so they can place sensors in my spine to try and cut off the pain before it reaches my brain. I hate taking these goddamn painkillers. But when I stopped ‘using’ my life made me continue. what would my life be like with no pills, even though half of them are so I don’t reject my new liver.

Now, as I try to bring this sob story to an end, as I try to figure out what all of this means, I know, as we go through painful events in our lives, we want to see them as being separate . We want to see them as things that were done “to” us, and we carry these pains, stuff them down, and try to make ourselves think it doesn’t matter. Sometimes we let it ruin our lives.  I can honestly say that this hateful family of mine is not ruining my life. I seek to understand and change the karma I brought into my life of having a family such as this one.

It hurts me greatly when I think of it, but I have had my practice of Buddhism to help me understand that happiness comes from within.  I can’t ask anything else to change it for me.  That change has to come from within.  Without this practice of Buddhism I would have been dead a long time ago.  It was the direction I was going in.  But winter always turns to spring.  Every single year.  Every year is a new opportunity I have to live a life of value, and to pass that value on, because the only legacy we can every really leave behind is the effect we have had on other people, that has helped their life in turn.  If my family sees no value in me, then that is a cause they make for themselves. I let this consume me for the past four years out of my 60, but no more.  I try to think, what value would they bring into my life?  I have tried, though, because I see how much it pains my mother to see her daughters at such odds.  All 3 of us – none of us are friends.  She thinks she did something wrong.  She didn’t.  I so love and appreciate my mother and if this illness brought me home to live a block away from her, then that is a wonderful benefit. If anything changed with my sisters  it would take all three of us to want it to be better, and two out of three don’t.

I tried for so long to “make” my family see me as a real person – to want to include me in their lives. I’ve pleaded, wrote letters and even screamed and yelled in frustration, “Why? What have I done that is so terrible? Why are you being such a lousy sister?” I wanted to have even one person say they were sorry for letting me go through a traumatic illness, surgery alone, but my younger sister insists, “I have nothing to be sorry about”.  You have nothing to be sorry about??   She doesn’t get it.  Not at all. I wanted an apology for what she did to me. She’s says she didn’t do anything to me.  She’s right. It’s what she didn’t do. 

According to my family I am toxic. I am the scapegoat for all the problems in the family even though they haven’t been around me. This year, for Christmas, my mother and I cooked dinner and invited family to come.  They did, but there was also a Christmas party planned at my nephew’s house.  Everyone was invited but me so there wouldn’t be any problems. There will be no more Christmas dinners, or birthdays or fourth of July picnics.   I won’t be where I am truly not wanted.  What did they think I was going to do?  Christmas presents I had for one sister are still in my closet.  The birthday card I had for my other sister on March 15th was never sent. For awhile one sister did pretend to care – the one who just had heart surgery, but due to urgings from the family passing gossip, she, too, cut off communication. If I could think of what I did to cause this unforgivable animosity I could deal with it better, but I can’t.  I just don’t understand people who can be so hurtful andso selfish

So I ask myself, why do I want them in my life? What is the purpose of family? Do I judge myself by the way I am judged? Am I the person they judge me to be? No.

I know that what happened when I was five, when my sister made it clear she wanted no part of being my sister – she meant it, even though she didn’t think it at the time, and I’m sure doesn’t even remember saying it. I know the way I felt about myself helped lead me to drugs. I also know, through my study of life through Buddhism these past 27 years that this was karma I caused for myself, somewhere, somehow. It is what I do with this understanding that will either change it or perpetuate it.

For my own sanity I have to let my family go. Stop trying to make them love me, because they don’t. They really, really don’t. They are a group of people that kisses and hugs at holidays and talks about the weather and their jobs and kids, and then doesn’t speak to each other again until the next holiday. So shallow. That holds no value for me. I wanted a sister to be my friend. What is an adult sister but a friend. Someone you talk to about your life. Who you are. I wanted too much from my family. I see that now. I have no value to them. How could we possibly be friends? So how could their children or their children want me as their aunt. So here I am at age 60, finally realizing with utter completeness, I – Have – No – Family. I do still have my mother who loves me and shakes her head at the lack of compassion her family shows me. When she passes, I doubt I will ever be a reason to hear from any member of my family again.  I have my own children and grandchildren, but my immediate family no longer exists.

Now I’m going to go blow my nose and wash my face and take this pile of garbage out to the trash for the last time.

September 2015. Labor Day. I just went back re-read this and thought I’d write a catch up. My entire family and friends are at my older sisters camper at Raystown Lake, so nothing has changed there. Even if they decided I was worthwhile to be around I don’t think it would mean anything to me. Such is life. I also had the surgery on my spine a month ago but it caused complications I’m still healing from. AND 3 weeks ago I started on the new Hepatitis C drug so my fingers are crossed!! And lastly, I bought myself a present. A new keyboard I’m excited. I can record 6 tracks.

MY FREEDOM – MY INDEPENDENCE

This is very powerful. The intensity of the writing in all of the posts will show you that this is not just random words put together because they sound good. Go to her blog. https://readtati.wordpress.com

Tatiana

you left me behind closed doors

neglecting the voice of pain that crawled through the walls

you kept my hands tied to my legs

freedom was not an option, my option was to dry my eyes after every cry

dreaming of swaying my hands in the sky marching in the freedom of independence again

I was beaten mentally, they tried to erase the ego of who i am, what my name is…

they tried to take away my Africanity…

the four corners of a dark, creepy, scary room was i caved in, my heart feared and fear was an enemy of the black man

bravery, is our hallmark but yet they ignored the ego of who we are…

who was there that cared, who was there that cared for the freedom of the black men caved in the four-cornered dark creepy scary room, who was there that had affection for…

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George Lucas

This is the name of the game if you want to accomplish what you want to do. How do we get things done and then tell ourselves that we did a good job? How many things have you started and didn’t finish and then gave yourself all kinds of justifications why you let it go? Were you afraid of the end result? That it wouldn’t be good? Did you let other peoples opinion make you decide you couldn’t do it? That you were crazy, nuts, not talented enough, stupid, unrealistic our just crinkle up their noise like saying “ooew”? Get rid of them and go do it!!