Posted in Addiction, Depression, faith, happiness, inner peace, Life, Musings, People, random, Uncategorized

Kindness

kindness

Once upon a time, I was a very, very messed up young lady. Not messed up in the everyday, average, run-of-the-mill way I am now. I’m not talking about depression or anxiety this time, which I seem to suffer from in a very “normal” way, judging by the lives and comments from my friends. I don’t know many people who make it to this age in life without some baggage, vague mental illness, and/or flat out jadedness. I’m not saying this is a good or even acceptable thing, I’m just saying…it’s kind of part of the deal.

What I’m talking about here is my “former life”. The life I began at 19, the part where I wound up on drugs for such a long time. When I tell you that I was bad, I need you to believe me. There were no days off, not if I could help it. I lived, breathed and existed for my drugs. It was my life. I wish that it weren’t true, but facts are facts.

What I don’t often talk about is the kindness that was shown to me through those years. The people who saw something more in me, something good, and gave me chances, reached out a hand, tried to help. There are more kind and giving people in this world than you would ever imagine, if you have never needed help the way I used to.

I was homeless, periodically, many times throughout those years. And yet I never once had to sleep in my car- not ever. My friends would take me in for various lengths of time, never asking for for anything in return. I was always fed when I was hungry, I always managed to have a pack of cigarettes, I never remember feeling afraid or having nowhere to go. I was asked to house-sit, invited to stay over. My clothes got washed, I showered. I honestly don’t know how I got so lucky, but I always felt that I was. Even in the worst of times, I recognized that my life could be so much worse.

Did I disappoint people? Oh, yes. Regularly. The remorse I feel for the people I let down is almost a living thing, sometimes. It’s better now that I’ve made something of my life. I don’t feel it so acutely, with the passage of time. When I think about those years of my life, it honestly feels like I am viewing the memories of another person…someone I could never possibly have been, except that I was. I took advantage, overstayed my welcome, pilfered change from pockets, ate food that wasn’t meant for me. I was given jobs that I casually didn’t show up for, and borrowed money I could never pay back. In short, I was kind of a nightmare. Looked like a sweet kid, behaved like a monster.

And still…people helped me. My friend Debbie, who I’ve lost track of over the years, replaced my headlights when she was scraping by on a waitresses salary. The number of nights I spent in her apartment, blasting Aretha Franklin and driving her nuts, I couldn’t count. A lady named Suzi that I worked with asked me to “house-sit” for her every time she left town, knowing what a risk I was. People rolled the dice on me all the time, and I was not a safe bet. But I’ve never forgotten. I have never forgotten the kindnesses I’ve been shown.

One time, I was at the welfare office in Nevada, in a desperate situation. I needed money, I needed food- at this time I had a small daughter, and I had waited too long to look for help. There was no way I was making rent. I had called the Catholic charities, I had tried to figure it out,  but things were dire. It was winter time, I remember that, and things were not looking good in that welfare office. It was harder to get help in Nevada than it had been in California, and I knew things weren’t going to work in my favor for once.

There was a woman working there…she was probably the age I am now, mid forties, a heavy-set black woman. She had this beautiful necklace on- a simple chain with this big, shiny, single rhinestone hanging from it. In the midst of all the bullshit I was spewing, wired out of my mind, I said “I really love your necklace.” Because I did. I will never, ever forget what happened next. She said “You know, I never wear this thing. I felt called to wear it this morning, and now I know why.” And she took it off her neck and handed it to me. She GAVE it to me.

You know, that meant something to me. It might have just been a little piece of costume jewelry, but that wasn’t the point. The point was, she did something incredibly kind in that moment. She made me feel worthy and special and less like that desperate, messed up young woman I was. I don’t know how to explain it. But it gave me a boost that I needed so much right then. I will never forget it. I still have that necklace, and I wish I could find that lady and tell her I turned out okay after all. She might not remember me, but I will always remember her.

Another time, and this story is very strange, I was at the beach- a beach I frequent, even to this day. I was at the end of my last run, really strung out, really miserable, feeling like I had reached the end of my rope. I didn’t know what to do with myself anymore…I had realized that no one was going to come along to save me, that I was going to have to rely on myself, and that thought terrified me. I just remember feeling incredibly down that day. The beach was nearly deserted, and out of nowhere, this woman approached me. She had on a skirt, I remember, a longish skirt, and she seemed out of place. She had a bag of sea glass with her, and she showed me her finds. I would guess she was in her fifties or sixties, and she seemed a little odd, though friendly enough. All of the sudden she told me she felt called to pray over me and asked if it was okay. Normally, this would have been SO not okay with me. But that day…I really needed it. It was the strangest thing. She held my hands, and she prayed for me, right there in broad daylight on that deserted beach. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. I never saw her again.

I don’t know where I am going with this, except…I’m just really grateful for the kindness I’ve been on the receiving end of over the years. I have hurt people and let them down, ripped them off and fucked them over. Yet I never saw the end of that kindness. It always kept coming, and always when I needed it most. I forget that sometimes- how kind people are when it matters most. Having been self-sufficient for so long now, relying on the news and social media to tell me how the world is, I let myself forget. But that’s not the truth, the things you see online, or on your phone. The truth is, people are mostly good, they want to help. I bet you know this about yourself. I bet you see it in others.

I would not be here without the kindness of strangers, the giving hearts of my friends. I know that much is true. Never stop reaching out, even when you think it’s a lost cause. You just never know the impact you might have on someone.

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Posted in Blogging, funny, humor, Life, Mental Health, People

Is This My Life Now?

insomnia
Literally me

Something you may not know about me is that I am, like, a PRO sleeper. What I don’t mean is that I am someone who is for sleeping- I mean, of course I am, who isn’t? What I do mean is that I am very, very good at it. Or, at least, I always have been until recently. I’m still really good at falling asleep, but…staying asleep? That has become somewhat of an issue.

Last night, for instance, my eyes popped open, hoping it was time to get up. I looked at the clock and groaned in dismay- it was dead-on midnight. 12 on the dot. Nope, not yet. I closed my eyes and fell asleep again, only to repeat this scenario two and half hours later. This time, I turned on the TV (sleep timers are the best!) and let Bob’s Burgers lull me back to sleep. It worked. Well, for like an hour, anyway.

At 3:30, I waved the white flag of surrender, and just said FINE. For three out of the past four days, I have found myself up at what is, for all intents and purposes, the middle of the freaking night. I mean, I have always loved to be up early- my alarm is now set for 4:30, which is still pretty insane, but it gives me the time I need to write daily, and meditate. But 3 in the morning? Give me a break.

frog

I’m not sure what is happening. I’ve tried staying up later (well, nine is like super late for me) but that hasn’t helped. On Sunday, I passed out at 6:30 in the evening (this may have been related to a chimichanga overdose) and I know for sure that going to bed that early isn’t helpful. I drink way too much coffee, that is a fact- but so would you if you were up at three every morning! Also, I don’t drink regular coffee. The coffee I drink is more like espresso, but in very big cups. Maybe I need to look at that.

Sigh. I don’t know. It’s one thing when I am working from home, and I can slip into a zombie-like stupor from about noon onward. But today I have to go and dress up like a professional, and haul my ass into the office for the day. They really don’t appreciate my incessant yawning and heavy sighing for hours on end. Also, they frown on me putting my head down on my desk for a little rest. Picky, picky.

On the positive side, I am getting a lot of writing done. Some of it is even coherent, with a bit of work. I’m certainly caught up on reading my fellow bloggers’ blogs. So I guess that’s a benefit.

This is so weird. Sleeping has never, ever been a problem for me you guys. My sleeping has, at times, been a problem for other people. Friends and family have often expressed frustration over my inability to make plans for anything after eight p.m. “Can’t you just make an exception, this once?” they ask. The answer is always no. On the rare occasions I try staying up later than I want to, I’m not what you might call fun. The only thing I am thinking about is how tired I am, and how pissed off I am that I am being kept away from my bed. This much has not changed.

But why oh WHY am I waking up so early? Dear God, any tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated. I guess I better go find a grown-up costume to put on now, and maybe brush my…stuff. May you all have a better day than I’m about to.

Posted in family, Life, People

Voting With Your Pocketbook, Voting With Your Heart

These are two very different things.

Even though I really don’t have time to write this today, I am going to steal a little time from something else, because I think it is important.

I voted for Obama, let’s be clear about that. I did it last time, and I would do it again next time if I could. I have been supporting him since he popped up, because I believe in the things he stands for. Generally speaking, I am a Democrat. But, if the better man for the job was a Republican, I would certainly vote that way ( not that I ever see that happening, I’m just saying that I try to keep an open mind).

Really quickly, I just want to say that the reasons a lot of people I know are angry that Obama was reelected really bother me. They are angry because he hasn’t done “enough”. They are angry because they think it’s unfair that there are so many illegal immigrants in this country that we have to pay extra taxes for.  One, whose name I will not mention, is angry because his health care reform bill hurt her business.

I just want to address those things here.

  1. No one can argue that Obama inherited the biggest, foulest mess in my memory. The fact that he has done as much as he has done, kept as many promises as he has, especially with congress cock blocking him every step of the way (for NO f*****g reason, I might add) tells me something about his tenacity, and his sense of honor. I can still look at Obama with respect. I certainly couldn’t say that about Bush after four years- could you?
  2. There have been illegal immigrants since the time that the Europeans started coming over here with their diseases and guns. Unless you are a native american, you can’t really complain. Are you? I didn’t think so. Check it out, people- California, where I live, BELONGED to Mexico and Spain before it ever belonged  to us. I have great grandparents from Portugal, Ireland and England, Germany and who knows where else, and that was only three generations ago.  America is the land of opportunity for ALL.  Rather than being angry at the paltry few dollars you are “losing” to fund the new and terrifying lives of people who ESCAPE the hell of the place they live for a hope of something better, you ought to be happy that money isn’t going to line the pocket of some rich asshole living it up and getting tax breaks from it. Put yourself in the place of that young man or woman from wherever, and how scared they must be, how bad it must have been to leave everything you know behind to come to a country where you have no one, and everyone looks down their nose at you.
  3. Last but not least, I’m just going to say it- every human being on this planet deserves health care, period. I don’t think I deserve it more because I was lucky enough to be born here, and be white. I think my children and your children, people I hate, people who live lives I don’t agree with, all people, without exception, deserve access to health care. It should be a right and not a privilege.

Once upon a time, I was an irresponsible, drug addicted woman who couldn’t or wouldn’t work and I relied on the “system” for a lot of things that I shouldn’t have had to. But you know what? My daughter had access to healthcare and food that she wouldn’t have otherwise.  That was a long time ago, and I have paid my share back. Not once has that tiny sum of money missing from my check made a difference to me.  I believe with all my heart that everyone of us deserves a shot at a good life. Not all of us know how to get started without help.

That is all I have to say. Have a blessed and wonderful day.

-Court

Posted in family, kids, Life, love

Dear God

Dear God-

Hi! It’s me again. I’ll tell you up front that I don’t have anything really urgent to talk to you about, so if you are busy, you may want to get back to this later. Not that I doubt your multitasking skills for a minute, I’m sure you’re way better at it than your average human being, but…you know what I mean. I just wanted to check in, let you know I am still here, I haven’t checked out on you. I hope you don’t mind that I am putting you in my blog. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone, you know?

I’ve been a little down lately. Seems like no matter how hard I try, things around here stay about the same, if not worse. I know I don’t do everything right, not by a long shot, and I don’t pretend that I have a clue about how to create the family and the results I long to see. I can see the end result in my head, but I don’t know how to get there. Maybe I just don’t have the right personality for domestic stuff. Maybe I just don’t have enough help…it would be nice if all of us around here could pull it together and work as a unit for once. It seems like we all just live together and have totally separate lives. This just isn’t the way I thought it would be.

I know I should be grateful, and I AM! I know how lucky I am to have two healthy, beautiful daughters, a fantastic and well paying job that I like, and coworkers who are like an extension of my family. I know how lucky I am to have a house at all, let alone in a safe, pretty town half a mile from the beach. I’m SO lucky to be healthy, to be safe, to be loved. I’m not trying to downplay any of that stuff. I let you know all the time how thankful I am to be where I am in life…I think I know better than some how much worse it could have turned out for me. And I know I will NEVER know as well as others do what it means to really be without. Even at the worst times in my life, I could always count on a roof over my head, food when I was hungry. All in all, I’ve lived a pretty blessed life.

So you’ll have to forgive me for being so selfish and telling you that, still, I want more. Can we talk for a minute about this relationship I’m in, God? I know, I know- I can FEEL you rolling your eyes at me, up there. I know you have much more concerning issues on your hands, like global warming, the middle east in general, and the end of times right around the corner. I get that, in the big scheme of things, my love life is really a non-issue, but humor me. You, he, and I know the whole story of us…you know how hard I have tried, how many things I’ve worked through, looked past, compromised on. You know the doubts I’ve struggled with since the very start. All of that, to wind up here-ambivalent, stuck, distanced. My heart is just out of forgiveness, God, and I don’t know how to move forward from this place. I don’t even want to forgive anymore, and that has been the one thing I had that assured me there was still really love between us. Without it, it’s like my heart is completely closed. I know he feels it, my disconnect, and I don’t want to make it hard on him, but I can’t help it. I’ve got nothing left, and there’s no way I can pretend differently. I start to feel bad about it, then it occurs to me that he absolutely brought this on himself.

Obviously, I can’t go on like this for very long. So the big question is, what now? I know it’s really up to me, that I didn’t seem to ask for a lot of advice when I was making all the decisions that led me to here. I don’t expect a giant arrow in the clouds pointing me to my dream life, or an email with a power point slide show detailing my options and all possible outcomes. Although, come to think of it, I wouldn’t turn that down, either. I guess I would just like to ask for some clarity, soon. If you could please help me pay attention, so I don’t miss possible answers. If I could just have a head that is quiet enough to really think this through.  If you could maybe help me feel certain when I hit on the right idea, instead of doubting myself into inaction like I’ve done so often. God, if you could please  just help me not be afraid. I’m choosing to hold onto unhappiness because I am so afraid of messing everything up.

It seems so wasteful to work so hard for something you thought was possible, only to find that it could never have become that thing, no matter what you did to help it along. I want to be happy, God, and not because everything is perfect and I am so accomplished and polished and wonderful-I want to be happy the way you are when your heart is peaceful, and you aren’t constantly on your guard. I want to relax, God. I don’t care if that means I have to be alone…I will miss the familiarity and companionship, for sure. I will miss having someone that is pulling their share of the weight of this life. But I will not miss hunting for the true story underneath his words. I will not miss the loneliness that comes with loving a man you cannot risk trusting. I will not miss the fear of all of the things I don’t know yet. Every day of our life together, I have felt their presence, a constant undercurrent.

Please help me be strong, sure and kind- help me not let my mean nature complicate things. Help me to remember that he is a good father, a hard worker, that he probably did the best he could, too. He’s just working with a different set of tools than me. If there is a way to mend this, God, I am all ears- I’d like to tell you that I don’t see how, but you’re the big miracle guy, here, so it’s your call. I don’t want to hurt the baby, and she loves us both so much. I don’t want to complicate my life by changing everything, AGAIN, but I believe I am of no real use to anyone like this.

Other than that, God, I think all is well. I am always glad, at the end of a day like this, that things tend to look less impossible in the light of day. Thanks for this beautiful life.

Love,

Courtney