The Snowball Effect

It starts really small…just a thought even.  Then without even realizing it gets bigger and bigger.  You keep just pushing along making it larger and larger but what you don’t realize is the huge, steep hill just below you.  Everything is so white, so big, these little pushes can’t amount to anything – but then it drops and the snowball is accumulating more speed, more snow and debris and becomes huge, almost unstoppable.  You are left at the top of the hill screaming for everyone to get out of the way and for the snowball to just stop before it crushes everything in its path…everything that you love…every piece of who you are.

That for me is the easiest and most precise description of a “break down”.  Yes there is that “trigger” that may set the whole thing in motion…but I promise..there were little steps to get there…little flakes of “crazy” that were at the time easy to ignore.  Once it all hits that final hill, and no one is there to slow it down…it rolls down faster and faster getting crazier and crazier.

You see life choices, DNA, environment all played into my breakdown.  Yes, my family has a STRONG history of mental illness – but the choices I was making – i.e. the bad ones…didn’t help.  I didn’t have a healthy way to communicate pain, disappointment, sadness.  I bottled it up…then drank the bottle.  No I wasn’t an alcoholic – that would be way to easy to explain away.  I was just miserable and lonely.  Then add some major hormonal changes and BAM! Off to the races of hating myself and being too afraid of what was happening to get help.  I was afraid to be around my daughter – the one person in my life that I loved unconditionally.  Then instead of making better choices…I did everything I could to run away from it.  Hoping that if I did something daring enough that I could “shock” it away.

I didn’t talk about what was really in my head.  It was terrifying.  Thoughts that I didn’t want – they weren’t mine.  So on the outside it just looked like I was shirking my responsibilities as a mother and “partying”.  I can’t blame them…that is what I was doing, but only because I was scared and wanted to protect my little girl from me…or whatever was happening to me.  You see I didn’t realize it was a severe form of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) or that Zoloft would make it stop.  Nope…just kept wishing the snowball would melt.  They take a REALLY long time to melt…so what you need is something to stop it in its tracks and bust it open.

So before you judge someone just realize that there may be things they are going through that you don’t know.  Does it make it right that I wasn’t there for her like I needed to be for that 2 years?  No.  But I have asked for her forgiveness and explained it to her.  I have fought to get better and have fought to help others do the same.  I can’t get back those years…but damn it…I will do everything possible to make sure that every year that I have matter.  And I am so blessed that my baby girl and I have the best relationship that a mother could ever wish for. Just keep in mind…I had to FIGHT for it.  I love you Lydia!

Be Strong.  Be Beautiful.

Angela

Chris and us

Lydia, Me, Chris, Nina and Anna

What If?

Jacques Thillet – a friend and hospice nurse – wrote this on his Facebook today.  He was generous enough to allow me to post it here on my blog.  Jacques…you are such a great person and great nurse!!

What If? 

What if you could see your souls reflection? Would your mirror image reflect the intention or would your actions paint a different picture? When a friend is need do you assist without condition, do you need reciprocity or do you require no demands? 

What if We walk our journey alone? In our daily walk would we be joined at different parts of our trek by friends, family and lovers? Would we walk in tandem or would our path be Still be our own. Our actions solely ours to own and to embrace. 

Our journey of a million steps that for all begin with a single step, the single first step. Through our adventures our first steps unsteady, unsure and wobbly, those steps then becoming natural and a reflex with very little thought. Through our infancy our gait, at first challenging, but developing quickly into trot. Through our life then becoming a Run through the moments, running through the stages, running through from childhood to adulthood until our steps become unsure in our older years. Again the steps unsure and challenging. 

What if, ? with each step and each breath we in our life’s travels, breathed with intention, we lived each moment not in a hurry but rather in blissful surrender to the moment. What if we lived with Compassion, not only for others but also for ourselves. What If we could walk with softness, not in leaps to get to our future but rather with mindful observance of all those things we do pass by? What if we could walk hand in hand in spiritual observance of the wondrous love that is life. Accepting of our differences and embracing the gifts those differences truly are. 

What If ?

Pink Warrior Defined

I think that many may not understand why I have been using  “Pink Warrior” as my title, team name, or anything.  I assume most believe I just like pink and I consider myself a warrior.  Well both are true, but not the reason for the name.  In this name I find strength, understanding, patience, fierceness, compassion, hope, loyalty, honesty with some pink pizazz.

For a good part of my life I fought who I was..who I am.  There was a time that I hated being a girl in school – at least one that wasn’t the prettiest, the most popular, or well spoken.  I tried to cover my face with more makeup and hide my gapped teeth with my hand when I smiled.  I was so sensitive and shy.  My feelings would get hurt so easily and my heart ached for others in the same situation.  As I got older I started enjoying who I was a bit more – maybe too much.  Then a bad marriage with bad things made me once again hate being a sensitive woman so I decided to really toughen her up.  I started being “direct” and “emotionless”.  I became in a sense “one of the guys” but at the same time used my femininity to get what I thought I wanted but never showing my true self – so for a while – I hated pink.  It used to be my favorite color – then it just signified my weaknesses.

Now – I know that Pink is what made me strong.  Not the color – but actually embracing who I am.  It can be anything for anyone – but for me it was Pink.  I learned that being sensitive and caring doesn’t include being a pushover or a door mat.  That I am strong because I am a woman – not in spite of being a woman.  I also learned to accept people as who they show themselves to be.  I may know that inside someone is “good” but I realized if they choose to be the opposite – then I must take that as truth.  I have learned that I really do love others – a lot.  My empathy as a woman is a wonderful gift that allows me to “feel” other’s emotions and truly help them how I can.  My strength has helped me realize I don’t have to become their problem in order to help them.

So all of you – my friends, my Mary Kay Team, my awesome family….this is what I want you to know every time you say you are a part of the “Pink Warrior Team” and someone giggles a little…

A Pink Warrior is someone who…

…falls down and gets back up

…asks for help when they can’t get up on their own

…accepts others for who they are – regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc

…not only accepts others for who they are – but loves them for it

…who works everyday to accept themselves as who they are

…has compassion

…seeks wisdom

…stands up for what is right

…uses whatever he or she is doing for good

…is a leader in one way or another

…can follow without resentment

…cries when they need to

…laughs every chance they get

…allows themselves to become angry

…learns to let go of anger and then to forgive

…serves others even when a “thank you” is never received

…allows themselves to be served – and then thank them for it

…finds something beautiful in everyone they meet

…is bold but not pushy

…makes mistakes – then owns them, learns from them, and fix them when they can

…understand that others make mistakes too

…does everything worth doing – to the best of their ability

…kicks fear in the ass

…kicks self doubt, hate, shame and guilt in the ass

…I love

So remember – when you are part of the Pink Warrior Team – It means you are a part of a group who rises above and when we can’t – we have others to help lift us.  It isn’t just women – it is everyone that wants to be a part of this.   I am Pink and  I am a Warrior – and I am proud to be a part of it.

xoxo

Angela

Through Their Eyes

I have been fortunate enough to have experienced many different cultures and peoples while living in Hanau, Germany.   My ex-husband was in the military and  I had just turned 18 years old, had never been much out of North Carolina much less out of the country when we were stationed there!   It was a wonderful experience that I will relay more of in later posts, but for now I just needed to set the scene for one of the most profound experiences that I had ever had in my life.  One that I am still very blessed to have had and that changed me forever.

In Hanau, we lived in government apartments.  It wasn’t your typical base housing because it was still in the German city.  I met many different people on a daily basis – different states, different countries, different reasons for being in Germany with the military.   What was so funny is that the southerners there seemed few and far between so you can imagine that my southern accent was pointed out quite frequently by Americans, Germans, and anyone else I met. At times it predetermined how we viewed one another.  Northerners have certain ideas about southerners and of course we have ideas about northerners.  So most conversations were begun with talking about those differences – even if it was a German and myself or a Latino and myself.  It was by no means a bad thing – I love learning about what others see about me and the differences others may have.  But there was one group that allowed me into their world – a world so different that it felt like I had broken new ground – at least for myself.  They normally would have never allowed someone like me to come into their home with people like them.

I remember being a very little girl, sitting in my mom and dad’s car in a parking lot when a very tall, thin man came up to the window.  He didn’t speak a word but my parents didn’t seemed alarmed although I was a bit perplexed.  He was dressed in a nice black suit with a crisp, black hat and handed them a small booklet through the car window.  My dad took out his wallet and gave him what I thought was $1.  The stranger nodded his head and put is hand to his mouth and then lowered it.  Again..my parents understood – I was still puzzled.  My mom then showed me the book he gave to us.  It was for American Sign Language and he was raising money for other deaf people like himself.  I looked through the pages and started learning the ABC’s – and was quite proud of myself.  My mother was intrigued with sign language but had never gotten to learn it.  So we learned what we could together.  Flash forward 13 years…

There was a knock at the door one day while cleaning my apartment and caring for my 2 year old little girl.  As I opened the door I saw a small, Asian woman standing there holding a piece of paper and several rolled up canvases.  She didn’t speak – at first I thought because she didn’t know much English.    She smiled and gave me the paper.  As I read I became quite excited…she was deaf and was selling her paintings to help raise money for her family and other deaf people.  I invited her in and she rolled out the canvases on my floor.  What I saw was absolutely one of the most beautiful paintings I had ever seen and here is why…

If you don’t have the ability to hear a voice, a stream, a cricket or anything else  – especially from birth – you must realize that the person doesn’t concentrate on what they can’t hear.  They concentrate on what they see and feel.  We as hearing people imaging being deaf and it just seems so horrible, so isolating to us because we use our hearing along with all of our other senses.  But – if a person has never had that sense – he may not know what he is missing.  He will use everything else he has more, without even thinking about it.  That being said – the way she saw the world and how she recorded it was breathtaking.  Reds, greens,blues and  textures that brought to life everything that she painted. They seemed alive.  I bought the first painting I saw.  I wrote on a piece of paper to please come back the next day so I could look at more.  She smiled and bowed slightly and I remembered the sign for “thank you” which made her smile just a little brighter.

The next day I was ready – I found a sign language book that I had for quite awhile but hadn’t really taken out.  I heard the knock at the door and rushed to open it with book in hand.  I waved hello,  showed her the book and she became so excited!  I was very confused at the moment as to why she of all people would be excited about an elementary level sign language book, but soon realized it had nothing to do with the book at all – It was because I wanted to communicate with her and wanted to understand her world.  She didn’t even pull out the canvases but sat down in the floor with me for over an hour “talking” to me.  She would sign, I would flip through the pages, then I would sign back (as best I could!) and so on until I learned that she was there with several of her other family members who were also deaf.  She was married to an American Soldier and lived in another set of apartments close by.  If I didn’t understand exactly what she was signing, she would take the book and show me – it was so very intimate.  I felt like a little girl making a new best friend – and one that was not only Korean as I found out, but deaf.  When she left that day she told me she wanted me to come to her apartment to meet her family (this was after my father bought two of her paintings and I bought another!).

The next day she came back to my apartment and I was ready to go – book in hand.  Her smile was so big and bright while walked to her apartment.  I stepped in and realized that I was the only hearing person in the room surrounded by four other women and men just as excited that I was there.  All smiles, so warm and welcoming.  Her sister had a huge book that she brought to me of advanced sign language as she took the little book I had and sat it down on the table next to me.  Then the frenzy started.  Imagine teenage girls who get together in a room that haven’t gotten to talk to one another for a very long time.  They would drown out any other sounds with their quick chatter and laughter.  This was the same – but silent.

They were all signing – all wanting to talk to me, so excited that I wanted to learn – about sign language, about them and their lives and their talent.   They talked with a blurry of signs…so fast that I had to quickly learn how to say “slow down”!  I was there for over 3 hours flipping through pages just as fast as I could – laughing and talking with them.  Toward the end of the time there her husband came back home along with her son who could both hear.  They began translating everything for me but I would still search the book because I wanted to know their language. I learned more sign language in a few hours than I had ever learned on my own.  You see, most people would not have known how to try and communicate effectively – as not to offend them.  I’m the type of person that I don’t mind looking like an idiot if I want to know or understand something or someone.   I just wanted to meet them…connect with them.  They were kind enough to allow me into their life – one that most hearing people were never allowed into simply because the two worlds seemed so separate.  I was the different one there…the odd ball in a sense but they accepted me gladly.  A true honor.

I had the painting for years – rolled up – until my Chris, my most wonderful husband had it stretched and framed for me and hung it over our bed.  When I  saw it hanging there, it took my breath.  I remembered how honored and humbled I felt that day and could see all over again how beautifully they saw the world and how they shared that beauty with me.  Through their eyes the world was bright and bold and through their eyes I learned true acceptance and to celebrate our differences.

If you would like to learn a little sign language yourself check out Lifeprint that has an on-line American Sign Language Dictionary!

Beauty from my deaf friend in Germany
Beauty from my deaf friend in Germany

 

xoxo

me with glasses