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Archive for January, 2017

… and fortitude

Last night, I went to bed crying. I felt like every bit of hope I’ve had these last few months was delusional.

I still feel that, but I did find a little spark in something that happened yesterday.

Midway through the afternoon yesterday, an old work friend texted me. “Are you at LAX right now?”

He was there with his wife. When we met up, he said they’d invited all their friends. None had shown up. They’d been there for hours when he went, “Wait! There’s no way Deb’s not here!”

Thinking of that today made me smile. I might not have hope right now, but you know what? 

Agree, disagree, hope, don’t hope, like me, don’t like me, I’ll show up for you.

I might not have hope right now, but I have love … and fortitude.

LAX 7 p.m. Saturday v. LAX 3 p.m. Sunday

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Me, speaking instead of writing

I recorded a video a couple of nights ago. I wasn’t planning on linking it here, but I just listened to it and changed my mind. It reveals so much about where I’ve been, where I want to go, and why I want to go there.

It did originate with politics, so you might want to skip it. Basically, some folks expressed concern with my supporting Brand New Congress, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that could legally accept dark money. It’s so personal that sitting down and writing it out didn’t feel right. So … I recorded a (respectful!) video, and I’m glad I did.

Just be forewarned: my husband might work in show biz, but you’ll see none of that glitz watching the video here!

maslow

 

Hey, friend.

Hey, friend,

I see you. I see some of the hundred difficult situations you’re juggling. I see how you berate yourself when you drop any one ball for even a second.

In case it helps lighten your load, I want to share a little of what I see.

Faced with some challenging parental situations, you are facing them right back. You’re not minimizing or deflecting them, but doing everything you can, despite exhaustion, to usher your kids into a future that will be good to them. 

You work hard, smart, and kind. You understand when you need to adapt and you do the work, undaunted by complexity or hurdles.

Your enormous heart finds ways to give and share every day. I mean this: every day. You are always looking out for the people around you, sometimes to your own detriment. You deserve your own compassion at least as much as the people around you do.

You make people laugh. You have great insights and perspectives, which brighten conversations and, heck, entire days.

You’re candid. You show what’s good and what’s bad, making it less lonely to be human in a world so full of illusions of perfection.

This isn’t an exhaustive list. Think of it as a (lunch break) start!

Please step out into the sunshine, lift your face to the sun, and take a second to marvel at everything beautiful you do and are. It’s a lot.

I see you, and you are magnificent. 

I hope you see it, too.

Love,

Deb

P.S. Think of the ponies!

Categories: Friends Tags: ,

Because I am lucky

One of my sons is sick today. Because I am lucky, his grandma is watching him while his dad and I work.

The other son’s school didn’t open on time. Someone on the staff either missed an alarm or had an accident, and so my little one and I stood outside the school for 45 minutes before it opened. Because I am lucky, my manager laughed when I explained I’d be late. “What, you don’t want to leave him to fend for himself in the parking lot!?” he replied.

My son shrieked with glee when he saw his teacher, which made me smile.

Every day, I am able to either be with my sons or leave them with people who care. Because I have been unlucky, I am grateful to be so lucky today.

Categories: Family, Parenting Tags:

Learning from Suffering

Christmas was even more special with a black eye

Christmas was even more special with a black eye

I grew up with both violence and denial. Denial aggravated me far more than violence.

Violence came and went. It happened because it happened. Parents were sometimes cruel, and then the kids they violated often learned to be cruel, too.

Denial, on the other hand, screamed, “I have the luxury of pretending what happened to you could not happen to me! Therefore, it happened because there was something uniquely terrible and deserving about you!”

Yeah. Sure.

The violence I endured as a child taught me to trust my instincts.

When a “charming” acquaintance made my skin crawl, I told my friends. They said I didn’t give him enough credit.

They were shocked when he committed murder-suicide. I was shocked, but not surprised. I’d lived with violence long enough to identify the subtle indicators others could simply choose to ignore. The little red flags he displayed didn’t even register for 99% of the people around me, none of whom–otherwise–themselves presented a single red flag.

When one of my sisters was at risk, I knew it because of how her communication changed. She didn’t have to tell me much for some part of me to cry out, “Alert! Alert! Alert!” even before she first told me he’d attacked her. I identified the risk before I could express it well.

When she called me about a later attack, I’d just finished reading security expert Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. I had vocabulary to show her the risk I saw. From the book, I read her a list of danger signs displayed by a partner. She told me her boyfriend had “done at least 25 of those things” and, thank God, packed up and drove more than a thousand miles south to begin a new life here in SoCal.

Had she stayed, she might not have survived.

When a neighbor told my son what to do, speaking over me to command Li’l D against my wishes, I trusted my instincts … and Gavin de Becker’s Protecting the Gift. I said no and ended the conversation. My neighbor’s aggressive reaction to this affirmed how right I am not only to trust my instincts, but to teach my sons to trust theirs.

Many times before now, I’ve told you I will not perpetuate violence by my denial.

All the same, I wanted to shove my intuition aside in 2016 when it screamed, “Your representatives don’t represent you!” Instead, because I committed to never perpetuate denial at others’ expense, I researched. Once again, I discovered my instincts had guided me well. They uncovered truths logic alone would’ve kept concealed.

Despite everything I’d learned in youth, I’d been taken. I’d had no idea that the predatory tactics of pedophiles could be adopted en masse by politicians. I’d never have even had cause to suspect, had I not grown up in such mayhem.

Read more…

We Grew Up in Violence

My happy scarers

My two-year-old hides behind his hands, then throws his arms out wide while shouting, “Boo!”

I shriek as if startled, which makes him scream in delight before devolving into giggle-fits.

We repeat this over and over. Sometimes, we’ll do it a hundred times in one sitting.

My seven-year-old recently asked, exasperated, why I pretend to be afraid.

I replied, already wistful, “Your brother will understand soon enough that he’s not actually scaring me. So while he still believes it, I’ll keep on shrieking. I’ll keep on cherishing the sweet sound of him laughing, knowing he’ll soon enough be on to other joys.”

“Oh. Will you scream if I do it, too?”

“Sure, if your brother’s around.”

So he tried, too, and I shouted in mock horror.

Now, for at least a little while, both my little boys take turns scaring me, and I’m happy.

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