Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

New Directions

For the past few days, I’ve been contemplating my life and the choices I’ve made that have led me to the place I’m at right now.  My personal life, my identity as a Mother, my status as someone’s friend, my career, (or should I say, lack thereof).  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t change a thing about my life.  All of the choices I’ve made and things that I’ve went through have made me the woman that I am today and I’m proud to be that woman!  That’s not to say that things are perfect.  Far from it.  But, I decided a while back that things don’t have to be perfect for me to be happy and live in the moment instead of worrying about the future and all the pitfalls and doom and gloom that it might hold.  That doesn’t mean I still don’t worry.  Quite the contrary.

My mind sometimes takes hold of me and tries desperately to drag me down into the depths of the darkest, murkiest, most dismal ruins of my soul.  At times, I’ve found myself in this no man’s land and couldn’t even remember how I got there.  Other times, I’ve felt the descent coming on for days and tried to fight it with every fiber of my being.  But in the end, the darkness and sadness won.  It never lasts for very long.  After everything I’ve been through, I’m not willing to remain in that closed off space where despair and hopelessness lurk around every corner, waiting like a thief in the night to steal my joy and prove not only to myself, but also to the world around me, that my worst fears are now reality.  I’m way too upbeat and optimistic to remain in that horrid state of mind for long.

And so, this thought has led me to my current crossroads in life.  (I seem to have a lot of those!)  I’m at an age where most women are settling into a career, married, and beginning their families.  An age where most women are frantically trying to juggle motherhood, work, taking care of their house, carpools, PTA meetings, their kids sports, being a good wife, lover, and friend, and finally finding time for themselves.  I’m at an age where all of those things should be new and exciting for me, but they’re not.

My life is different than most women my age.  I had my children at a young age.  A very young age.  Too young.  And I got married at a young age.  A very young age.  Too young.  I’ve already done the juggling act.  I’ve already balanced home, kids, work, sports, and all that other jazz, plus college!  I’ve already been at that frazzled state where you’re just ready to run away from home to find a measly few little minutes of peace.  I’ve been to the depths of insanity and exhaustion that comes with the territory when you’re a working mother and wife.  And I wouldn’t trade a single second of it!  Like I said, my past is what has made me the woman that I am today.  But there is certainly a trade off when you make choices such as mine so early in life.

Long story short, after a little more than a decade in a loveless, hopeless, huge mistake of a marriage, I’m now divorced and my kids don’t live with me anymore.  One’s grown and the other decided on a much different path than I ever could have imagined for him.  One that lies with his father.  And, as many of you already know, I found what I believe to be truly and without a doubt, my soul mate in this world.  My Mountain Man.  My other half.  And with him, life has had new meaning and promise and hope eternal for my happily ever after.  There are still pieces missing, but none that one look from him, one touch of his hands on mine, can’t fix.  Even with him by my side, I still have things left in this world that I want to do before I die.  Like find a job, at this point!  Not just a job, but a career.  A way of life, if you will.

My life now looks more like that of the middle aged woman (not that I’m middle aged) whose children have left the nest and she’s now trying to create a new identity in this big old world.  It’s funny.  I used to think I would enjoy this time so much when I was younger.  I used to think of all the things I’d get to do when my kids were grown.  (And I am getting to do quite a bit of them!)  Don’t get me wrong, tho.  I love being a Mother.  My whole, entire adult life, that’s how I’ve most strongly identified myself.  As a Mother.  However, any of you out there who have survived a day, alone in a house with two small kids, knows exactly what I’m talking about.  We love our kids, and we cherish every moment we have with them, but we secretly, (or in my case, openly), dream about the day when we can sit down and read a book, have an uninterrupted thought, have an adult conversation, or (insert your “guilty indulgence here”), without having to change a diaper, or clean up spilled milk, or referee a fight between two brothers hell bent on killing each other over who took the last cookie from the jar.  We want to feel like a woman again, an intelligent human being, capable of anything she sets her mind to!

And so, here I am.  Looking for a new direction, yet again.  I’m not veering too far from the path I’m already on in life, but I’m looking for a detour that will lead me to a career that’s fulfilling, meaningful, and satisfying on an intellectual and emotional level.  I want to matter.  I want my work to mean something.  I want to make a difference in people’s lives and I want the end result to be a life well lived and full of promise and hope for every single person whom I’ve come in contact with throughout my years on this earth.  Even if it’s only through a smile to a stranger on the street.  I want to make a difference.

And I’m going to!!!

Right after I finish frosting those cupcakes I baked this morning!

 

 

Hello Again…

Well, it’s been ten months, almost a year, since I last blogged and I’ve missed it so! I have no one to blame for my hiatus but myself. I mean, sure, I’d started a new job and didn’t really have the time to devote to writing that I’d had in the past, but really, that was just a lame excuse. I could have made the time, couldn’t I? Somewhere between my late night reading or Saturday/Sunday morning internet browsing time? Or perhaps, while Mountain Man was cooking dinner? What about in the car on the ride home from work? (I think I just heard some of you gasp. Don’t worry! Mountain Man and I rode together to work and he drove everyday!) Maybe, instead of lounging on the deck and wasting an afternoon or evening away, daydreaming and watching stars, I could have knocked out a few lines? Oh, who knows? The point is, I didn’t write anything! Nothing. And for that, I really think my soul has suffered just a little. After all, writing is a big part of what keeps me sane. It helps me to process my world around me in ways that nothing else ever has.

I don’t know how often I’ll be writing, but I think this little break has definitely shown me that being able to put into words all the thoughts, ideas, mental images, songs, feelings, and crazy little quirks that make me who I am is not only good for me, but for everyone else in this world who is either blessed beyond measure to know me or cursed to have won some lottery in hell to have to endure me.

Either way, it ought to be interesting…

Rainy Days

I do not like rainy days.  Never have.  Never will.  At times, rainy days have been just enough to send me right on over the edge to deep, dark depressions that have involved massive amounts of self-loathing, embarrassing thoughts of woe-is-me, and endless tears that seem to erupt from a  fount of pure, salty relief somewhere deep inside.  No, I’ve never been clinically diagnosed with depression, and I’m not now, nor have I ever been, on any kind of antidepressants.  I just really don’t like rainy days.

That being said, for whatever reason, today’s not been too bad.  It’s been soupy, cloudy, foggy, and misty all morning long here at the cabin, but I’ve not been overcome with that God-awful sensation that creeps up on me at the first sign of a rain cloud.  I’ve not wanted to crawl back under my covers and hide from the world.  I’ve not felt that all too familiar tightening in my throat, that at times, threatens to consume me and results in an eruption of tears that come on so suddenly that they sometimes completely take me by surprise.

Today has been different.  Today, for the first time in a very long time, I’ve felt a little like myself again.  Rainy days used to mean pj’s, long naps, veggin’ out on the couch, and taking a minute to just be.  Well today, I’m daring to dream that I might be able to enjoy this entire rainy day without shedding a single tear.  I’ll let y’all know how it goes.

Time Heals All Wounds

They say that time heals all wounds.  I’ve lived on this earth long enough to know that there’s some truth to this statement.  Does that mean that I’ve developed the patience required to wait out this healing period without griping, moaning, crying, lashing out, and feeling, at times, utterly alone on this sometimes arduous journey?  No.  Of course not.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m a very vocal person.  I don’t internalize emotions and I’m pretty lousy at trying to conceal them, especially from the people closest to me.  One look, and pretty much anyone who knows me knows when something’s not right.  One look, and they can see the sadness, or happiness, or fear, or delight in the world dancing in my eyes.  One look, and they can tell if everything is right in my world, or if it’s all off balance and dangling just on the precipice of disaster and gloom and doom.  One look.

So if time truly does heal all wounds, as they say it does, then in time, I should be as right as rain one day, hopefully in the near future.  Until then, I apologize for the lapse in blogging to the handful of people out there who enjoy reading my thoughts.  It’s Spring up here on the mountain and we’ve got all kinds of things going on to write about and photograph.  I’ll hopefully be sharing more very soon.

Until then, I’ll be waiting on time….

Lesson Learned

Have you ever thought about what it really means to be a parent?  More specifically, a Mother?  A Mama?  I must say that my definition of this term was pretty standard for most of my life.  When I was a child, I knew what my Mama meant to me.  I knew the emotions and feelings associated with that word.  I knew that even though me and my Mama didn’t always see eye to eye that she loved me and she knew best and I’d better do as she said if I wanted to succeed in this life.  Yeah, right!  Of course I can write that now.  At the time, I would have vehemently denied agreeing with a lot of what Mama told me.  Turns out, she was right about almost every single thing she ever told me.

Fast forward to me embarking upon my journey through Motherhood.  All the rules that once applied went out the window.  All the truths that I once held near and dear are, as it turns out, no longer valid.

I thought I had it all figured out.  I thought I knew exactly what to do.  Well, not all the time, but most of the time.  And I felt like the choices I was making regarding my kids were the right ones, and the very best ones I could make for them at the time.  I sometimes looked at other Mother’s and wondered what in the world was wrong with them?  How could they let their kids do this?  How could they just ignore that behavior?  Or worse yet, I’d look at the kids and think to myself, what is wrong with your Mama that you’ve turned out the way you are?   If I were being honest right now, I’d tell you that not only did I think these things, but I also voiced these opinions, quite a bit.

I’m sure there are a whole lot of people out there saying the same thing about me at this point.  I’m sure there have been people who haven’t always agreed with all the choices I’ve made regarding my kids.  I’m also sure that deep down, I really knew that I didn’t know exactly what to do in every situation, but I did the very best that I could possibly do.  Like all the other endeavors in my life, I’ve given 110%, and beyond.  Especially where my boys have been concerned.

But ya know what?  I’ve learned a very important lesson in this journey.  One that I probably never would have been able to grasp if I hadn’t been in the situation I’ve been placed in by time and circumstance.  And this lesson is so earth shattering and soul-shaking, and yet so simple and so real and so humbling.  A lesson that I’m sure lots of Mothers before me have had to learn the hard way, including mine, bless her heart.

Are you ready for it?

Ok.

Here it is.

No matter how you raise your kids, they’re eventually gonna do things you don’t agree with on their journey to becoming whoever it is they’re meant to be in this life.

That’s it.

There is absolutely no one on the face of this earth who can prepare you for this little truth in life.  No one can tell you this is going to happen.  No one can warn you that this might happen.  There is no book you can read that will alert you to this fact.  There are no seminars you can attend to learn about this phenomenon.  There’s no television show that’s gonna get this message across.  There’s no guru you can visit who will enlighten you to this fact.

Nothing.

No one.

This epiphany only happens once you’re in the midst of your own kids stumbling off the path, or in some cases, jumping straight off the flippin’ cliff that’s just to the west of the path.  Sure, other’s might warn you about these things happening, but your kids would never do any of those things.  After all, you raised them better than that.  You taught them right from wrong.  You showed them the right way to be.  You talked to them about all the dangers they might face out there in the world.  You tried to have an open relationship with them where they felt safe to talk to you about anything.  You did the very best that you could possibly do and your kids will never turn out that way.

Never say never.

That still remains one of the most honest and real things my Mama used to tell me.  It was true back then, it’s true today, and it’ll be true tomorrow.  My journey through Motherhood is far from over, but it sure isn’t turning out to be the trip I always envisioned when my boys were little.

My one and only piece of advice for any parent out there, but especially to all you Mama’s…

Never say never.

Quality vs Quantity

As y’all have probably already noticed, I’ve broken my promise to myself.  The one promise I made to myself to write something, anything, every single day for a year.  I’ve kept it up for a little over a month, and had I not started working outside the home, I probably could’ve stuck with it for the full 365 days.  Well, 366 since this is a leap year.  But, you know you’ve got a problem once something you love becomes a chore and you find yourself saying things like, “I haven’t written today”, or, “Ugggghhhh, I’ve gotta write before I go to bed”.

Truth  be told, the content and subject matter were suffering, too.  Some of them were only a couple of sentences strewn together simply to fulfill this promise to myself and they really weren’t the things that my soul wants to write about.  Sure, I was writing, but honestly, some of it was just flat and boring and looking back on some of it, I can’t believe I lowered my standards so much just to fill a self-imposed quota.  Needless to say, I’m still disappointed in myself.  I’m better than that.  I may not be the world’s greatest writer, but I know I’m better than some of the garbage that I posted last month.

So, the promise to write something, anything, every single day is out.  Just like most of the New Year’s resolutions that were made around the same time, I’m abandoning an original, extremely good, wildly optimistic idea and I’m embracing a new way of thinking when it comes to my one true creative outlet.  I’m gonna write when the mood strikes me and only when it’s something I feel passionately about, or something that interests me, or something that makes me smile, or makes my heart sing, or touches my soul in such a profound way that my very existence will be forever altered due to my soul-stirring.

Sadly, for some of you, that could be the color I decide to paint my toes on a particular day.  BUT, it’ll still be good because I’ll be giving 110% instead of the bare minimum.

Samuel Johnson said it best…

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”

I couldn’t agree more.

The Snow Queen

Please allow me to properly introduce myself.  I am known around these parts as The Snow Queen.  Some love me, most hate me, but everyone knows who I am and they know who to blame, or thank, when the fluffy white stuff starts flying up here in the mountains.  I love snow and all things related to Winter.

To me, there are very few things in life quite as lovely as watching tiny little ice sculptures fall gracefully from the sky and land peacefully on the earth to form a bright, white blanket over everything as far as the eye can see.  Day or night, this spectacle never ceases to arouse great joy and happiness somewhere deep in my soul that somehow manifests itself into a giddy little giggle, followed closely by some sort of jumping for joy and clapping my hands together, while smiling the widest of smiles that my mouth can create.

I’m told this is quite a sight to see.  A grown woman exuding the happiness of a child.  What can I say?  I’m just a big kid at heart.  Especially when it comes to snow!  Allow me to share what my eyes saw today here at the cabin.

Snow covered woods

The ridge up behind the cabin

The red, white and blue

The pièce de résistance

And I just happened to see this a few minutes ago.  Talk about purple mountain’s majesty!

Nature at its finest!

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