Fear, My Greatest Nemesis

Scared child

Scared child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I felt the tears well up in my eyes before I typed one word. I’m not shocked, I know myself, most of the time. I was given the gift of an unexpected compliment and I broke out into a wide grin.  I wear my heart not only on my sleeve but like a red neon sign on a black night in Broadway, flashing, off and on, non-stop.

Fear is my biggest nemesis. Fear has held me back from so MANY things too many to list. But, I know It has shaped my life. I lied for fear, I changed plans, directions, walked away because of fear, stayed home because of fear. I only hid fear for my children, my gift to them.I didn’t want them to have the same life I had. I’m proud to say they are fearless. An Academy Award please. Thank you. Now, it’s time for me to work on me but it is a little more complex.

Those of us who are called “Empath Intuitives” are sensitive, very sensitive people. Sensitive to others’ emotions but also sensitive in the world we live in. It can be more of a burden than a blessing. You need to grow into it, I’ve learned. As noted earlier, a word of kindness from a stranger means so much to someone like me, it happens so rarely, but when it does you feel it all the more.

My soul sniffs out secrets that I don’t want to know but I feel them like chips of ice starting at the base of my neck and roller-skating slowly down the middle of my spine. They cannot be undone. It will be very hurtful but it will be truthful. I feel much more pain than pleasure in this sad world. Does everybody? Or does it become level at a certain age? I’d say over 50-55 your view on luck starts to change in a downward spiral or maybe the rough patches are more consistent, last so much longer and connect.

I feel someone’s pain before they know it themselves, I can’t read their minds but I can sense what is on them, what they are feeling. I’ve had this quality since I was a child. In many ways, when I was young it only served to hurt me. My family always told me that everything was my fault because “I was too sensitive.” It took many years to figure out that I wasn’t too sensitive but they were not sensitive enough. We just didn’t see things from the same lens.

I believe the answer to fear is to do what you are fearful of. What other way is there? Stare it in the face, you are the boss, not fear. I’m totally guessing here. You control it, don’t let it control you and whatever you do, don’t stop. Face fear and do it and do it until you are not fearful. Is that the only way to go? I’m assuming. Feel free to live other suggestions.

Fear, change, sensitivity, joy, kindness: we are who we are.

Be kind to one another. Take a minute to try to understand not judge.

Celebrate that.

 

 

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I Choose Angelina Jolie

English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film fes...

English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have always played silly games in our family, especially when our children were young. It started out of necessity because every day we would hear the same monotone replies from both kids: ‘How was your day? Good. What did you do? Nothin’ (and the missing g is not a typo) This wasn’t working well so I thought about it and figured if we worked it into a game, with the family playing, maybe we would be able to get a little information from our children. It was worth a shot. We started replacing “how was your day?” with “What was the high of your day? What was the low of your day? and What was the funny of your day? We went around the table and all four of us answered. It’s amazing what you can learn when you just change the words around. The kids loved it and they got to choose the order of who would go first, it worked!

Call me old-fashioned but we tried to eat dinner as a family every night. I stayed home with the kids, made dinner and when “Daddy” came home we ate together. If he was late I’d either give the kids a snack or feed them first. I’d have to say that 99 percent of the time the four of us ate together, with no television on in the background and thank goodness, this was before cell phones. Now, our children take some of our old games and play them with  their college friends( which I find totally amusing.)

You can play many of these games by yourself. Surely you could think of the high, low, and funny of your day? This next game is one I thought of tonight,  (I haven’t yet brought it up to the children and don’t know if I will.)

If I could choose to be anyone in the world who would I pick to be?(This is a GAME people) Easy. Angeline Jolie. Didn’t have to hesitate. I didn’t have to think about it, that is rather sad isn’t it? That lovely, gorgeous woman has everything and more of everything else too. Look at those perfect teeth and that warm smile.

I think she is absolutely stunning, beautiful and striking. She has charisma, she seems comfortable with herself (that might be an understatement) and with an audience. ( I’m going to pretend to have amnesia with the kissing -her -brother episode) She seems to have a lovely husband and they have such chemistry between them; they sizzle, even after all these years. Sigh. They each have careers they love and they can limit how many movies they want to do or not want to do. That, my friends, is power. They have a beautiful family and as many children as they want. They want more, they get more or make more. They have enough money to buy houses and boats, probably small countries maybe even big countries. More importantly, they give of themselves and do wonderful work for those who are less fortunate than they are. (I know that’s pretty much everyone) but they do great things for the world and the environment. What’s NOT to like?

After all these years, Brad and Angelina seem like they are good friends, great lovers (I’m sorry Jennifer) and that they have a wonderful family and they keep their family as a priority. They keep the kids away from the press as much as they can and they know how to deal with the paparazzi. “You want to see the twins? Sure, we’ll pose for People and give the 5 million dollars to charity. Nice!

Angelina is my pick. All mine. You get to play the game but just remember you can’t copy my answer. Who would you choose to be in the fantasy game? You don’t have to answer here on the blog if you don’t want to though we don’t judge anybody on this blog site. We listen, sometimes we laugh. But, just a little and it’s truly all in good fun.

The Moment ( HS Graduation 2011)

Cap Toss

Image by Herkie via Flickr

I never knew how high and wide the big white High School graduation tent was until I stood under it. I didn’t realize how massive it was until I wandered through it.  I walked through the aisles under the tent saying “Hi” and “Congratulations” to people I hadn’t seen in years.

I didn’t know how I would react when my son’s name was read over the microphone yet instinctively we stood and clapped and cheered and roared. I saw a young man walk back to his seat in slow motion; I didn’t realize it was my son; his face  looked so grown up. Teenagers age, I think,  once they put on their High School graduation caps and gowns; he looked six inches taller and six years older too.

It’s all a blur, the speeches and the people you smile at, familiar faces that you have seen in elementary school recitals or a middle-school play. The friends that you hug warmly are the best, closest friends that you have, that you have talked to all year, day in and day out, wondering anxiously if you and your child would ever make it to this grand day. We hold on to each other for an extra minute, sharing this surreal moment, not believing we are actually, finally, here.

They officials on the podium made an announcement to please refrain from clapping until all the students names have been read. Yeah, right. I felt sorry for the first few kids whose last name started with “A.” Those parents were very well-behaved; it just took one family to start…  There were further instructions from the podium to NOT clap for each student so I felt perfectly justified playing my silly game of selection. I did NOT clap for the kids that had ever been especially mean to my son (starting with kindergarten through 12th) and for the mean-spirited moms, dads and kids that everyone knew, were the culprits of spreading ill-will. It was like a silent victory lap for moms and dads; besides we all did the same thing.

I was proud of my self-control, all my sadness, tears, and sobbing began months before the actual event. On the day of graduation I smiled and laughed and was so proud of my son and the amazing young man he has turned out to be.  I was also filled with pride when his three best friends names were called, we shouted and clapped for each one. I will, undoubtedly, miss my son when he leaves for college but also, I will miss his friends, “the posse” as I called them or “The Entourage.” I have no doubt that they will see each other when they come home from college, but this long, lovely chapter of best friends and video games, parties, dinners, dates and diners has ended. I will miss that and my special group of “The Moms.”

Just when I thought the ceremony was over, the President of the High School, told the students that they had officially  graduated. The blue caps were flung in the air with unbridled joy and excitement. There was a deafening roar from the students and all my self-control evaporated in that moment; I burst out crying. It was so emotionally intense; it was captured in my mind and heart forever.

The graduates beamed so much that it looked like they were lit up from inside with joy and pride.  They were shining, like new copper pots or brand new pennies, excitement dancing in their eyes. Congratulations to my son and to all his friends and classmates; Congratulations to the Class of 2011!

Happy Birthday Daddy

Wiener Schnitzel

Image via Wikipedia

November 13th is my dad’s birthday, he would have been 88. He passed away almost 9 years ago but the pain on holidays, birthdays, Father’s Day, is the same raw pain as the day he died.  It’s a pain that is hard to describe for people who have never lost a parent. Believe me, I know.

Instead of wallowing in depression this year I am going to try to remember and honor the man I loved so dearly. His blue-gray eyes, child-like qualities, generosity, pep-talks and his warmth. I miss the soft yet sturdy hugs as if a limb of my own had been amputated. I miss the familiar smell of his after-shave cologne that he sprayed with enthusiasm. My dad and I were very similar; he and I had an amazing connection and a strong emotional bond. We thought alike and we completely understood each other. The day he died, my heart was gauged with intense pain, my heart missing an essential beat.

My dad and I had so much fun together when I was younger. We traveled to  Vienna, Austria, where my grandparents lived. We ate sugary-sweet meringues that were shaped like delicate white swans and sipped hot chocolate with “schlag”  (whipped cream). We ate exploding red-berry sweet and sour tarts in Viennese cafes. My grandmother would fry up her famous wiener schnitzel,  served with plump lemon wedges every single night.

I was in first grade when my mom couldn’t come to open school day but my dad came. I think he was the only father in the class and I was so proud, so happy that he was there. I remember sharing my milk and cookies with him and I felt so important. At a shared birthday party with a friend he surprised me by coming home from work early, sneaking into the party like a secret surprise. It was a joy so innocent and so intense that I remember the feeling to this day. I was shocked and delighted as I wrapped my arms around his tall legs like a clinging, furry animal. Back then dads’ weren’t as involved in their children’s’ lives as they are today but he always had time for me; his little one, his mouse, his baby.

We had adventures, the two of us. My mother worked a great deal, she traveled the world being a tour director and translator. One night my father and I went out to a Spanish restaurant and sipped sangria, with glistening, beaming chunks of bright oranges and green apples bobbing in the rich, red wine. We toasted people we knew with every sip we took. The more we sipped the stranger the toasts were. I remember we toasted a wall -paper hanger guy that never showed up to our house, people we barely knew and random people from the past.

We went to the bagel store together, early on a Sunday morning and the store was closed. However, the fresh, warm, doughy bagels had already been delivered to the store in huge paper sacks. My dad happily took some and we left, an experience a teenager doesn’t forget! We would go grocery shopping at a huge Pathmark store with my mom and he and I would find the biggest size jars of silly things: three-pound troughs of peanut butter and dill pickles, tubs of mandarin oranges and hide them in the cart as a joke. My mother would roll her eyes and shake her head, clearly not amused, but my dad and I would laugh hysterically. Often, there would be open boxes of cookies or candy and we would help ourselves to free samples. Back then, we weren’t worried about poison or germs or anthrax.

My father spent his entire life working for TWA,  getting free airline tickets for our family.  My father, mother, older sister and I flew to: France, Greece, Portugal, Israel, Switzerland and Germany. First class seats were a mere eight dollars extra but that was a lot of money years ago and a very special treat.

This Saturday on my dad’s birthday my husband and I are going to visit my mom and take her out for lunch, we don’t want her to be alone. I know that spending the day with my mom would make my dad very happy.  He loved my mom more than anyone else in the world. Later, that night, my kids and I will remember him with his own, signature and messy concoction, “Papa’s game”: a “mixture” containing  little bits of everything that is leftover on our plates and in our glasses, swirled together with a spoon and a smile. This year, I will toast to his memory.

When Old Friends Become New

"Golden girl" – Horses (unknown bree...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve known my friend Meryl for as long as I can remember. We lived in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools starting with elementary school; we had what is now known as “playdates.” We had mutual friends but we grew apart over time, there was never any fighting, we just drifted apart.   That was over 30 years ago; just recently we reconnected.

Meryl, is my history and I am hers. How wonderful for her to remember that my dad, now deceased, had a telescope and would let us look through it; how heart-warming to hear her say ” your dad was so kind.” We talked about horseback riding (which terrifies me) and I suddenly flashed back to a strong image of pictures that she drew. I hadn’t remembered it or thought of it in at least thirty  years. The memory came back to me like a flash:”You drew horses, didn’t you?”  She smiled widely “Yes I did.”

I  remembered a cold winter day, in third grade, wearing a gray parka and walking from my apartment building to her beautiful white house. Her house definitely had better snacks than my house did, and that is something that you don’t forget! Her room was huge and I remember sitting on her bed and us talking.

Now, my husband and I are now very good friends with Meryl and her husband, Paul. It’s very hard sometimes to make new friends, especially close friends that like each other equally. We’ve all had friends where one or two people don’t get along; it’s very awkward. We feel so lucky, so blessed to have another couple where each one likes the other equally, not to mention that we all like to eat good food….together.

There’s a comfort level with an old friend, history, school pictures, adventures we had together. There is history with having a sibling (and we each have a sister) but there is no fighting, resentment, emotional baggage that comes along with it.  Meryl has become my sister without being a sibling. It is both incredibly comforting  and exciting to have a new, old friend: someone to confide in, someone who supports you, someone who really knows the adult and the child within.

*Dedicated to Meryl and Paul