Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Boy Wonder


Between tall shelves
Down the aisles you go
Eyes full of wonder
Pure curiosity  flows


Tales of dragons and kings
Super heroes' adventures
Poems and rhymes
And strange, scary creatures


All come to life
In your rich and eager mind
To rules and oppressive limits
Your playful spirit remains blind


How I envy this freedom
This joy of deep acceptance
And how grateful my being 
For receiving such sustenance 


You too are such a wonder
A magical tale I'll always behold
Be not afraid to live the mysteries
Allow your greatness to unfold.






*Image courtesy of http://brentwood-tn.org/index.aspx?page=668





Monday, April 23, 2012

Longing


Waiting in the corner, walls bathed in shadows,    
wide awake
I hear echoes of footsteps
signaling your long-awaited presence.
Though ambivalence drowns me
from within,
I go to you with my cup of offering.
Love and hunger, restrained by fear and uncertainty
I long for your arms,
your gentle affirmation.
In your eyes I see you want to reach out for me
but simultaneously,
you
            pull
                           back.
Your beating heart defeated,
silenced…
left to wither by broken hopes and dreams
unattended.
Back to my corner, my cocoon,
another night passes
thirst unquenched.
Maybe tomorrow the sun will
be warmer,
forcing open shut buds. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Me Ver.I.Don't.Kn0w


A good friend of mine recently said, “I need to find a way to go back to my old self”.  I’m sure at some point, many of us have also uttered similar words or thought along those lines…missing your ‘old self’, wanting to bring a part of ‘old me’ back to life, or something like that.  Or maybe it's the reverse, wanting to forget and rid your life of an older version of you.

My natural and almost instantaneous reaction to this is to ask, “Which version?”  This is then followed by another age-old question, “Can (and do) people really change?”  I imagine that psychologists / therapists would have to say that change is possible.  Their career, after all, hinges on this belief.  However, they also admit that a person’s ability to change is a function of the person’s motivation and sense of commitment.  Interestingly, these are personality factors that I think are not easily changed.  You can change if you are motivated to change, and become committed to that change, but if your personality dictates that you are naturally unmotivated or not easily motivated, or you are afraid of commitment, then change won’t come so easily, if at all possible. 

It’s also a scientific fact that our brains are more inclined to resist changes and prefer repetition.  It’s simply part of our nature to seek the familiar.  This is also why as we age, change becomes more difficult.

This has forced me to think of my own life and ask how much I’ve really changed through the years.  

I'm a bit less shy now than before....only a little bit.  But my natural tendency to avoid unplanned for, or unpredictable social situations, remains strong.

I am now more able to sift through things, to discriminate which ones are really worth worrying over.  But I think I'm still a worrier by nature.

I have learned to care less about what others think or say about me.  But I still care.  And when something affects me, I still do get sleepless nights thinking about it.

And as my blog site profile says, there are just certain things about me that I don't think will ever change, nor would I want them to.  I feel that I will perpetually be a dreamer, hopeless romantic and over-analyzer.  I'm also quite certain that I will always be intense, though I now choose more carefully how I appropriate such an intensity.

This thought of the 'old self' and one's capacity for self-change or transformation also got me thinking of those I’ve known for a long time and wonder if change has been possible for them.   

A guy I knew in college who was a conceited a**hole is, sadly, still a topnotch a**hole.  Not much changed there, although admittedly, I now choose to stay away from him so I can't claim to truly know him at this point.

I know someone who has had a long history of lying and that person is still the same, still making up stories about people in order to either elevate herself, or for sheer entertainment.  (Honestly, I think she seriously needs medical help.  Pathological lying can be treated after all.)

Then there are those 'bullies' from high school (not that I got bullied) who enjoyed torturing, alienating, and intimidating others and sadly, I still hear that they have not changed much.

As I've always said, "Never underestimate people's capacity to resist change."  Or maybe Change got tired of them and moved on.  Possibly.

What about you?  Do you sometimes find yourself wishing to be re-acquainted with your 'old self'?  And in what ways do you think have you changed through the years?






Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A 'First' I'd Rather Forget


It’s been a week since it happened but I still can’t stop thinking about it.  His image still keeps haunting me; his voice, his words echoing in my head.  Worst of all, the look on his face seemed to have burned a permanent mark on my memory that I just can’t shake it off. 

For the very first time since I started driving, I was pulled over by a cop for speeding.  The speed limit was 35m/hr.  By the time I got close to the police car, I was still at around 42m/hr.  Dang it!  I knew I was too late and as I drove past his car, I muttered a silent prayer, still hoping that he would either pretend that he did not see me or that I was just driving at an acceptable speed.  As soon as I drove past him, I checked my rear view mirror and there he was, following me with his lights on.  Dang it!...again!  I had no choice but to safely look for a spot where I can park and wait for the verdict.

It wasn’t my fault.  He should not have been there, parked inconscpicuously on the side of the road, right after the end of a very long downhill path, obviously waiting for people like me.  

It wasn’t my fault that I decided to let momentum and gravity do their thing, and that I did not apply the brakes soon enough and hard enough to try to keep to the speed limit.

After about 3 minutes of waiting, I saw him finally leave his car and walk towards mine.  He stood by my door and with all the courage I could muster, coupled with a controlled smile which is not to be misconstrued as arrogance or annoying naivete either, I said, "Was I going too fast, Officer?"  I was not trying to be cute.  I knew cuteness would not work in this situation.  Besides, I just came from a walk / jog from the park and knew that cuteness was definitely out of the picture at this point. 

The police man was an older gentleman and politely he said, yes, I was going too fast and that by the time I saw him it was too late.  At this point, I had to tell him, that actually I did not see him, which was partially true.  I did not see him early enough.  Dang it, strike 3!  Then once again, with as much humility and honesty I could afford, I told him, "Yeah, it's that downhill part, I know".  I guess it was my subtle way of saying, "Officer, I swear I was not speeding the whole time and I'm not some crazy driver / speed racer.....Please pardon me.  Blame this hilly terrain in TN!"  That was my secret thought bubble, but I knew that denial and smart-assedness would only be useful if I wanted to dig my own grave at that point.  I was clear that I needed to show accountability and deference to authority, which my 11 years of Catholic school education prepared me well for.  I had no problem with that.  After all, I was the one on the wheel, was I not?  I was the one that decided to ignore my gut instinct when I felt I was already going too fast and intuition told me there might be a cop car lurking somewhere.  




I don't know what it was, but I'm guessing it was because he knew (from checking out my records prior to speaking with me) that it was my very first offense ever, that he only gave me a Warning.  I was given a very gentle reprimand which really was just a reminder not to drive more than 2 miles over the speed limit.  (When he said that, I thought, "Whoa?...just 2miles over??  I thought 5 miles over was the norm??!!").  But I knew I had to shut up, just listen, apologize, thank him for his consideration and then drive away as carefully as I could, throwing all belligerence out the window.


It was nerve-racking to say the least but as with most first time experiences, I probably won't forget this one.  It has caused me way too many sleepless nights, I think because I'm punishing myself for it; still unable to forgive myself for the carelessness and stupidity...MY carelessness and stupidity.  But I admit that somehow, writing about this now helps with the cleansing, as if I had gone to the confessional and having you read this absolves me in a way.  If only absolution offered selective amnesia.  I guess it never works that way.  Events happen, good and bad, and the mind remembers with the hope that not only the events themselves stick, but the lessons as well.  


**********
Do you still remember your very first traffic violation for which you got caught?  Did your experience 'stick'?


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm Done.


I am surrounded by pregnant women.  It amazes me how many in my circle are currently pregnant.  My sister is pregnant with her second one, 14 years after her first.  We have a niece who’s pregnant with her first.  Then we have a friend who also just announced she’s pregnant, and she already has 3.  Oh, and one of my very good friends, who just gave birth 3 ½ months ago, is now again thinking of having another one.  This list does not even include a number of my Facebook friends who also recently gave birth.  So, is there anyone else who’d like to come forward at this point?  This would be the best time so you could spare me the multiple shock experience.   Let’s do this once and get it over with.

Is this the tone of jealousy you are hearing?  Perhaps, but not exactly.  I am extremely happy and excited for all of them.  I know they want it and all of them are (going to be) wonderful parents.  I suppose it’s just that I had forgotten that people do get pregnant naturally and that for some, it’s also easy.  As you all know, assuming you know me or have been following this blog, such is not the case for me.  I have been pregnant three times but only had success once.  The first was an ectopic pregnancy, the third was a miscarriage.  Now that my son is close to turning 5, I often find myself in situations where people somehow feel compelled to ask when the next one will come.  More often than not, these are from people who are unaware of my 2010 pregnancy and miscarriage, and therefore are just assuming that I have not tried again since I gave birth to Noah.  Well, actually, no.  Come to think of it, even those who are aware still ask sometimes and often they look at Noah with a hint of pity for being an only child for so long, and possibly for forever.

There was a time when I used to feel annoyed with those questions.  However, now I’ve learned to just either ignore them and resist the temptation to over explain, or face the question head on with not much emotional investment.  My standard answer these days would sound something like this:  “If I get pregnant, then so be it.  But if you’re asking if I’m willing to go through IVF again and do all the shots and tests that go with it in order to TRY to be pregnant again without any guarantee of success, then the answer is NO.”  This statement, coupled with a stern demeanor, normally ends the discussion.  I’m sure they appreciate my honesty, as well as the point I’m making which is to show them that pregnancy is no easy feat for me.  And to be honest, neither is motherhood. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE IT.  I feel blessed to be a parent and feel that this is one thing I was definitely born to do.  But it’s never easy for me and the truth is, most days I feel that I am not capable of having more than one child.  I’m simply not relaxed enough and frankly, am too highly-strung to handle a lot of the challenges of parenthood.  I know mothers who are obviously built for a lot of kids.  They are relaxed, far from being perfectionists; definitely not obsessive-compulsive; capable of multi-tasking and though mistakes happen, they are also forgiving of themselves and of people and situations.  I am antithetical to all those things.  Some people tell me that this will all change once I find myself with two kids; that I will learn to loosen up more, or that the second child is always easier than the first.  When I hear these statements, I sometimes think they’re joking.  I also sometimes feel offended because in a way I feel trivialized, as if the challenges I experience are either made-up or insignificant compared to what others have and that really, I have no right to complain and that I have it easy with just one child.  Then two steps away from being borderline offended, I get to remind myself that they just don’t know me well enough and are not privy to how I conduct my daily life.  The bottom line is, their opinions are just that…mere opinions and that I’m in no way obliged to accept them as my truth.

A lot of mothers ask the question, “When do you know when you are ready for another child?”  Countless answers have been given, litmus tests shared to inform you of your desire for another child or lack thereof.  I agree that a sense of preparedness (whatever that means) is not a good enough gauge because it’s true that you’re never fully prepared for a child.  But of course, commonsensically you have to be financially prepared somehow.  I also agree that you need to know why you want another child and that your answer needs to truly make sense, at least to you and your family.  


There is one tip, however, I’d like to share to mothers asking themselves the question above, and this is one gauge I find completely suitable for me, given my personality.  Here it is:  Do not make up your mind about wanting to have another child while you're in the middle of a happy, perfect, love-filled, ooey gooey moment with your current child/ren.  Instead, gauge yourself while you are in some form of crisis.  In my case, it's when Noah is sick.  That's when I know I'm probably better off with just one because during those times he is ill, I COMPLETELY lose my mind, get worried sick and for days find myself incapable of exhaling.  Sounds a bit much?  Yes, but it's true.  It's just how I am, given my intensity and propensity to worry.  When Noah's healthy and happy and I look at him with all the love in my heart, it's a no-brainer to want to have another one.  I'm flooded with only happy thoughts of the future and overcome with complete optimism.  However, it's when he is sick, which I consider a form of crisis, that it becomes crystal clear to me that I am not like other moms out there who can still maintain a reasonable amount of Zen within themselves and be certain that everything will....be....just.....FINE.


I am not proud of this and trust that I am constantly trying to change this.  But I have been trying for years to tone this intensity down but have not succeeded.  Though I'm not proud of it, I don't hate it either and I know this same tendency makes me function well in other situations.  In the meantime, my biological clock continues to tick which further lessens my already bleak chances for further reproduction.  


So the next time you meet someone who has only one child, please suspend all judgement.  Don't pity the only child, and don't blame the parent or label them selfish.  You have no idea what the full story is and for all you know, their set-up is what is best for them.  Remember that happiness comes in different shapes, and family sizes.