Monthly Archives: January 2014

Battle Scars and Warrior Cries

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Yesterday I mentioned a bit about my issues with a need for control and how I am in the process of letting things go, letting it all just BE.
Which is SO much easier to say than to actually DO.
But, what about when the things you are trying to let Be, are attached to hurt caused by other people?
The problem with forgiveness is so often it feels like if we say we forgive a person, we are making what they did okay and acceptable, even when it isn’t.
It’s not about the action though. It’s not about the person who did it either.
It’s about us. Our growth. Our ability to move forward. Our desire to be whole. Our want for healing.
Forgiveness is about releasing ourselves. Too often, we think by remaining bitter or angry we are holding the person who did the wrong to us in some imaginary prison. It’s so strange to finally let it go and realize it was WE ourselves who were in that prison.
Healing is a process. It takes time. And the proper steps. If you get a major wound from say, a car wreck, you cannot just expect for the wound to magically vanish with no treatment. You know you need to clean the wound, pick out any debris, apply some sort of antibacterial ointment or oil and bandage it. And you need to keep it dry. Change the bandage daily. It is a PROCESS. And sometimes it gets uglier before it gets better. the new raw skin that begins to grow over. The oozing of STUFF. And then the scar.
Scars always come with stories, don’t they? Ask any person where they got any scar at any time and they’ll have a story at the ready. No matter how small or silly or huge and dramatic. Our scars are a part of our journey. we must learn to accept them, embrace them. There is no shame in scars. they are simply tangible reminders of a history.
So, you learn to let things go, move on. Onward and upward. Leave toxic people in your dust. Claim your history as yours alone. Even the ugly parts. let the scars remind you of who you were and who it helped you become and where you were and where you are now and where you are headed.
And then find your voice.
Your own personal warrior cry.

Your warrior cry is yours alone. It’s what reminds our very souls that we are ready to charge ahead. That we are alive and awake and aware and strong.
It’s what we make known to those around us. To inform the ones who have been trying to tear us down (or keep us down) that we won’t stand for anything less than what we know we deserve.
It’s our cry of triumph. Of READY FOR BATTLE. Of being whole and healed and prepared for the battle.
This is your day. Your life. Your journey.
No one has even a teensy sliver of power against you or in you unless you yourself give them that power. No person can break you unless you allow it.
So, stop allowing it.
Fling out your arms and show the world your battle scars.

And then climb up on that mountain, weary as you may be, and scream out your warrior cry.
On the mountain top
Preparing for battle can be daunting and scary and intimidating at times. It can look almost impossible to us as we face that mountain, that wall, that sea, those storms.
But this time, THIS TIME, you will win.
You always had that much power and strength within you.
You just never believed it.
Start walking out your faith.

Dreadlocks: Living Life With A “Let It Be” Philosophy

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As a teenager, I had a tendency to pull my hair back in a ponytail and then hairspray the life out of my head. I mean, seriously, I’d layer on the Aqua net to keep any potential stray hairs locked into place for all eternity. My head actually felt like a helmet. It was insane. But between my little sensory issues and my OCD tendencies (aka: need to CONTROL) it served its purpose.
It LOOKED stupid. But I wasn’t aware of that back then.
It has always been my tendency to want to control things. Probably because so very much of my life has been out of my control. So, whatever I CAN control brings me comfort. That’s where my OCD comes in to play. When the big stuff is spiralling crazily all around me I can draw in some sense of security and safety by rearranging my pantry shelves or lining up all of the books perfectly on the shelves. Its some semblance of power. It makes me feel better.
My hair, for many years, was an outer expression of my inner need to keep everythinginitsplacesohelpmegod.
In 2009 I fell in love with a man who had the same issue. With his hair as well as other parts of his life. He had a lot of insecurity issues and whenever he felt threatened in his security or if we were having an arguement he would walk away into the bathroom and fix his hair. Sometimes he would do it a half dozen times within a half hour. The water would blast on, he would grab his comb or brush and slick his hair down, sometimes adding a dab of gel. He wasn’t conceited. In fact, it was the exact opopsite. But it still drove me nuts.
Two years later he passed away. And I saw his body in the casket for the first time and I couldn’t stop focusing on the fact that his hair looked sloppy, not at all like he preferred it. It bothered me in a really irrational way. I went outside and called my mom to tell her how much it was upsetting me and how I wanted to go to the closest store and buy gel and a brush and fix it. I understood his insecurities all too well and even though he wasn’t even THERE anymore….I still could relate.
What his death taught me more than anything else, is the power that truly comes from letting go. That desperate clinging to control over things or people really just magnifies our weaknesses and worries.
Dreadlocks are all about letting go. Throwing out the products. Stopping the conditioning and chemicals and sprays and mousses and gels and straightners. Stopping the damage. Just ceasing. Just….LET IT BE.
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Man, that’s a tough one.
It almost feels like admitting defeat at first. To wash my hair, dry it and …….do nothing else. To let it be. Literally.
But the more freedom I find that comes from letting go of the things that cause me anxiety or anger deep within, the easier it becomes to allow my hair to do what it wants to. Because I see now how my hair is simply an outer expression of my own spirit.
And what an amazing spirit it is. Wild, untamed, creative, curvy, sexy, silly, spontaneous. I have heard it said that dreadlocks are like tree roots. All that crookedness lends such strength to the tree.
Dreadlocks are not meant for the impatient ones. They take time. They go through this phase that is utterly primal. Where really, you just look like a cave woman who just awoke from a slumber on a cavern floor. Then they begin to form. And THAT is pretty frickin cool. The individual, unique shapes they each take. The forms they blend into. I love decorating them. Adding color, wraps, beads, etc… Suddenly my hair is a scrapbook of my soul. There on my head is my crown. Purple hued with wooden beads and rainbow wraps and squiggles of joy right there in the strands. There is no perfection in it. No tidiness or proper placement. Because frankly, that is exactly what I am. A bit of chaos blended with happy and beauty and wonder and hopefulness. This crown I wear shows my journey. Where I’ve been, where I’m headed, who I was and who I am.
Dreadlocks are not merely a fashion statement or choice.
They epitomize a lifestyle, a mindset, an outer showing of the journey.
These beautiful, crazy dreadies are simply my heart song. My spirits calling. My very soul.
They are me, and I am them.
A beautiful chaos. ❤

Sunday Confession: Insecurities

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That’s a clip from a recent episode of my favorite show. It’s so incredibly relateable to me because that’s pretty much how I came to realize I had Aspergers. I was on a website reading about the syndrome because a dear friend of mine and her husband both have it and I was wanting to learn more and understand it better. It’s what I do. I try to educate myself so I can empathize better. Facts matter a lot to me. I obsessivly research stuff. While reading through the symptom criteria checklist I realized how many of them really described me. It was eerie. And a sense of relief came with it as well. Maybe just maybe I wasnt difficult or over dramatic or a bitch…..maybe this was a real THING.

So I found a more detailed list describing specifically women with aspergers. And there I was. In black and white. It blew me away. It’s a long list but if you scan it you get a general idea of what Aspergers is.
http://taniaannmarshall.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/moving-towards-a-female-profile-the-unique-characteristics-abilities-and-talents-of-asperwomen-adult-women-with-asperger-syndrome/

Most people would never know it. I can chat online with folks with ease. I even own a page with around 1,500 followers on FaceBook. A social media site. Oh the irony.
It’s real life that trips me up, stresses me out and makes me want to seclude myself like a hermit in the woods. a simple trip to the grocery store can unravel me. Ask my kids. I get all army-mode on it, with my elaborate, detailed list and my calculator and I go at it alone, head down, focus on prices, make no eye contact, pretend I’m alone in the store. I hate it when I end up in the line with a cashier who wants to chat. I hate trying to keep an upbeat swing on casual small talk with people I don’t know. Its always so awkward. Hell, even with people I DO know. I’m talking friends I’ve known for years. I can only last so long before I feel so incredibly awkward and pressured inside of my own mind to carry on a conversation. I know eye contact is expected but eye contact is not a strong point of mine. It feels wrong. And then I’m always questioning myself. Is it too much? Have I even BLINKED in the past 5 minutes? Are they noticing I keep looking away? Does that make me look shifty or dishonest? How much is too much or not enough? Social cues others seem to just GET are so confusing to me.
People read me wrong all of the time. I tend to internalize stuff a lot. I remember when I was 9 years old my beloved cat died of leukemia. My mom came to me and woke me up after it happened. She was crying and she asked me why wasn’t I crying? wasn’t i sad? I had zero external reaction. I’m sure she thought I was a cold child with no heart in that moment. I WAS sad. I just didnt know how to SHOW it. The death of that cat affected me so hard that for years after I would dream about her, would dream about going back into the woods where we buried her and digging her up and finding her alive and well. I missed her. But that was all internal. My mom reminds me often how I was a very hard child to love. Not because of HER but because of ME. I didn’t do hugs. I wouldn’t hug back if she hugged me. I’m still like that. I LIKE hugs and snuggles now. partly because I have a very hippie-esque extended “family” and they all hug a lot so Im getting used to it. But the general rule for me is not to hug or show physical affection unless I am the one who initiates it.
I prefer the company of children. They are far more honest and easier to read. They don’t do sarcasm. They’re more honest in their social interactions.
Meeting new people sends me into a tailspin. The stress of remembering all of the rules of social etiquette triggers my anxiety. My way of dealing with this used to be to default to hermit-status. Agoraphobia is a bitch, but she provides security and comfort in her seclusion. When I became a single parent though, Agoraphobia was not an option. SOMEONE had to do the shopping and talk to the landlord and make the phone calls.So I learned to do it all. But it never really got an easier. I amp myself up to make a phone call the way a football player amps himself up before a big game. It takes a whole lot of inner pep talk.
Aspergers often ties in with other disorders. Which explains my ADHD and OCD and SPD. I’m a hodge podge of dysfunction that I have managed to create into a surprisingly functional person with coping mechanisms mostly brought into play through my OCD. A lot of making our way in this world as Aspies is learning the rules and following them, even though they might feel forced or awkward.
Which often leads to meltdowns.
Oh the meltdowns.
All that sense of not feeling comfortable in my own skin, combined with an intruding outside world that insists on pushing its way IN, combined with sensory issues and OCD stressors and ADHD distractions, and eventually I snap. I’ve done it often enough my kids don’t even react so much anymore. I yell. I cover my ears and sing. Somtimes it’s just “la la la la la” loudly. Just like I did as a kid. I throw things. Not AT people. At walls. I slam doors. I cry. I literally melt down. dissolve. Lose hold of all I have clung so tightly to. I have heard it explained to people that a child with Aspergers has a melt down not a tantrum. Tantrums are far more controlled. A melt down is beyond their control. Same goes for adults. Am I proud of myself for this? Hell no. Its my biggest shame. It doesn’t happen often. Major transitions usually trigger it. And often, if I can get alone and breathe through it I can keep one from happening. But life is inconvenient at times and I don’t always have that option.
There are pluses to being an Aspie. My obsession is research. Specifically anything parenting and alternative living related. I can spend hours on end on line scouring websites, memorizing data and statistics, comparing facts, taking notes on cross references. I’d like to think my seeking of knowledge and information is a positive. Its why i am thankful for the internet. I can find pages to chat on with other people who are just as interested in what ever I am researching that day. I’ve learned that that glossy-glazed-over look in most folks eyes when I ramble on and on about whatever new information has me all excited is not neccesarily a good thing. So, I try to avoid that.
There is a misperception that all folks with Aspergers have no emotion, no empathy. Some struggle with it, but others of us are HIGHLY emotional, sensitive, and empathetic. So much so that I make it a rule not to watch the news. I can’t. i’ll cry for days over a story I see about a child dying. Those god awful posts on FaceBook of the abused animals slam through me like a knife. I google images of a fetus at whatever eek pregnant I am at that point and photos of aborted fetus’s are mixed in and they become seared into my brain for weeks after and I have nightmares about them. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so damn sensitive. That I could be as desensitized as most folks seem to be. That life was a little easier to manuever and figure out. That I didn’t have to question myself so much. That I could be just as comfortable in the real world around people as I am on line.
But then again, I LIKE who I am. Struggles, awkwardness and all. I’d rather be me than anyone else. Insecurities, awkwardness, melt downs, coping mechanisms and all.
I’m a wonderful, glorious, beautiful, perfect awkward mess.
And I think that’s okay.
MoreThanCheeseandBeer

My Experience With Domestic Violence

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*Picks up mic. Lifts head up high. Speak loud and clear.* 

“Hi. My name is Tonia, and I am a domestic abuse survivor.” 

 

THAT is a hard sentence to type. To admit to. To claim. To speak aloud. It has taken me a solid two hours to pep talk myself into writing this. And it’ s going to be even harder to publish this. Because the fact is, there is A LOT of shame in admitting you have been a part of that sort of violence. And rationally, the shame should belong only to the one acting out the violence. But there is noting rational in abuse. All of those who can say so casually “Why the hell doesn’t she just LEAVE?” and “Obviously she LIKES it, she gets off on it…if she didn’t, she wouldnt stay!”….well, you just don’t KNOW, you don’t understand. Its a tangled web. Its never that simple. Well, it is, but it isn’t. 

Warning, this blog is going to contain triggers for those who are still dealing with the healing process. But i am going to be 100% real because all I can keep thinking is the years I spent believing I deserved nothing but the abuse and no one ever told me differently. So, maybe just maybe there is one woman out there who will read this and realize she deserves a safe place to fall, that she is a beautiful amazing person, that love and hurt do NOT go hand in hand and never should. Maybe you will recognize some familear themes between my story and yours. And if I can reach one single person and make some sort of difference…than the fear and shame in myself can be damned. 

I have actually been in 2 abusive relationships. Both of them were physical, sexual, emotional abuse. i can sit here and recall so very clearly the first time…the night that set the pebble rolling down the hill that set off the avalanche. I wasn’t hit. I was yelled at. By this man who I had always felt safe around. He was angry in a volatile way and it scared me. I kept backing up from him and he kept stepping up to me and eventually I was pinned against a wall in the laundry room cowering as he stood an inch from my face and screamed at me. The next week he got angry and flipped our coffee table over in a fit of rage. Within a month was the night my friend and downstairs neighbor came upstairs, opened my front door and yelled “HEY! Get off of her!” as she found him straddling me on the living room floor. I was crying and he was blowing the blood from his nose all over my face in anger. I had tried to defend myself, had thrown a hand out to protect myself and had made contact with his face while he punched me repeatedly. He ran out the front door when my friend yelled at him. And I sat there apologizing to her for seeing what she saw, for being so loud that she had heard me downstairs, for the fact I had tried to stop him and had gotten blood all over that was now getting on her shirt as she held me. 

Thats the first thing I started to do. Apologize. A lot. For everything. For his bad days. For pissing him off. For being a shit starter. For making him get so mad he had to hit me. For looking at another man as we walked down the street. For wearing the wrong clothes. For everything. he’d hit me in front of the kids and I wouldnt even FEEL his hits because Id be too busy calling over my shoulder to my children “Im sorry, Mommys ok. Please go in your room.” 

Because oh god, my kids saw it. saw too much. THAT right there is so much more guilt than anyone can understand. To know the hell I lived through my kids lived through with me. I cannot rewind time and fix that. I would if I could. I would take a million beatings alone in a room without them if I could erase the ones they saw or heard. It reached a point where they had a routine. the minute he started to yell, the oldest children  would take the youngest into the bathroom to hide behind a locked door. I’d be ducking blows and out of the corner of my eye I would see my 8 year old carrying my infant son into the bathroom and I would just be thankful they were safe. Only one time did he raise a fist to one of my children. i stepped between them and spoke up and received one of my worst beatings. I was 9 months pregnant at the time;. I ended up with a black eye and multiple cuts and bruises. One week after I gave birth he kneed me repeatedly, 4 or 5 times in my abdomen, almost broke my nose, and blackened my other eye. 

Why didnt I leave? Why didnt I call the cops? 

Because abusers are not stupid. He started out making me feel it was all me, all my fault. I MADE him that angry. I MADE him hit me. I was crazy. I was a bitch. No one else would want to be with me. I was luck y to have him. He got me to quit my job so he could control the finances. He told me if I ever tried to leave him he would take the money and get me evicted. He would call CPS and get my kids taken away. He would have me killed. He would have people watch me. He woudl come back after hurting me and he would apologize, tell me he loved me, cry, slip it in there that I had MADE him so mad and it was somehow MY fault. 

In other words, abuse is an emotional mindfuck. excuse the language, but it is. 

And then a few male friends woudl speak up and say “We can stop him, we will kick his ass, you will be safe.” And you think “They just don’t GET it. They cannot stop him. Because you knwo how truly crazy and capable he is. And because he has grown in such proportions with his monstrosity that you cannot fathom anyone being able to stop him. Because at that point you are so very small. Even when you DO try to fight back or protect yourself. Your biggest efforts are NOTHING. Your nails in his face are just marks he can use to show others “Look how crazy she is. look what she did.” Because he goes to work every day and can gather those witnesses to pity him, to hear his stories and see those marks and you stay home all day. So, you get a voice mail from an ex girlfriend of his calling you  every name in the book when you finally have him arrested, telling you she just KNOWS he wouldnt have hit you unless you hit him first and its all your fault. and the people at church tell you how God hates divorce and that you need to just pray and love him. 

So you try. You really TRY. When he is raging you try to reach out and put a hand softly on his shoulder to calm him, thinking if you stay calm he will calm down. But he is faster than you expect and bites your hand and you actually HEAR the skin pop and break between his teeth before you feel it. And it gts infected and hurts like fire everytime you bend your finger or wash dishes for a solid month. A month with a physical reminder of how you deserve nothing better. Just like the time he wouldnt stop yelling and you just curled in on yourself on the bed crying and he stood on the bed over you and kicked you in your ribs with his boots on and cracked a rib. Or maybe two. You don’t know because you never went to a hospital. It just hurt every time you lifted your baby or even breathed deep. For a long time. Or the time he choked you, had you pinned down on the floor in the hallway and your preschool age son was standing right there watching and you tried so damn hard to gasp out ‘My baby, my baby”, wanting him to stop doing it in front of your son and he wouldnt stop and all you could think was “Oh my god Im going to die. Hes going to kill me” and you werent even afraid, you just didnt want your kids to see it. And then you came to, after he choked you unconsious, and he was just standing in the kitchen pouring himself a drink. And he use dto call you “Mutt” because thats all you were. Nothing more. 

And you would wake up, feeling like you couldnt move, your brain all fuzzy and slow and he would be on top of you doing what he wanted and he would just say “Shh. I’ll be done soon”and you cant stop him or tell him no because you keep drifting back to sleep in the middle of it. (He told his brother, who told me years later, he used to slip some sort of pill into my drink. I never understood WHY, because I never withheld sex from him. I knew better. 

You stay through it all because you truly really 100% BELIEVE you deserve it all. Every bit. Close friend start to realize what is going on in your life and tell you to lave and all you can think is “You dont know how bad I am, how much I make him angry so he HAS to hit me. ” They dont understand. he is SUCH a good man. Youve sen him cry. He has gotten down on his knees and begged you to forgive him. He cant help it. He didnt mean to do it. It wont ever happen again. 

Except it dos. it always does. Thats just the honeymoon phase. Thats what they call it. The part where he is apologetic and sweet and wonderful. The man you fell in love with. And you both are so happy for a short time. Like newlyweds. 

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But it always happens again. Always. And it brings so much shame. Because no girl grows up thinking ” I want to find a man who hurts me and makes me cry.” I had this ideal in my head of getting married and having babies and living happily ever after. When it all went to hell, I blamed myself. He already blamed me, and the evidence was pretty clear that he was right. 

i’d take showers and wince in pain as my hand hit a bump on my head under my hair as I washed my hair. I would have to pick out clothes that would hide bruises and bite marks and scrapes. I figured out the perfect blend of foundation and powder to hide facial bruises. I kept my phone near m at all times just in case. Not that it mattered. The first time i tried calling 911 he snapped my phone in half and tried to choke me. I screamed for help and two men in a neighboring motel room chased after him. I sat there feeling so ashamed as police officers came to question me and fellow motel residents looked on in pity and the clerk who worked the desk stood her tiny barely 5 foot tall petite frame in my motel room doorway until the cops came, just in case he came back. I was grateful. For the men who tried to catch him. For the kind officers. For the clerk. But I was also very ashamed. Because this isnt what I wanted. I wanted love and tenderness and happily ever after. Now I was just a statistic. That was shame. 

And the time I tried calling 911 and he pulled me half through an open window in my home to where he stood on the porch to stop me, to wrench the phone from my hand. But I HAD dialed it and they heard my screams and they came anyway. And this time they caught him. and I freaked out when the officer on my porch told me they got a call in that they had him and they were going to have him park the van at the bottom of our driveway and I freaked out and told them not to let him do that. Because I thought if he came back towards this direction he would  come here and kill me. And then the officer had a camera and after I wrote a statement with shaky hands he told me to stand under the porch light so he could photograph my bruises and scraps. the long black and blue bloody scrape that went from my wrist to my upper arm where he pulled me through the window. The huge bump on the nape of my neck. I turned my back to that officer, lifted my hair to reveal the bump so he could take a couple pictures, and felt so very ashamed of who i was and where I was. 

I felt I failed these men. Hows that for irony? 

Because I knew their demons. i knew what had first created that rage in them when they were young boys. I saw them at their best as well as their worst. i wanted so badly to be good enough, pretty enough, whatever enough to be able to heal them and change them and help them and save them. 

The first guy got arrested one night. In the midst of a rage that left my livingroom , my newborn son and myself covered in blood. He’s been locked up for almost 5 years now. He gets out in another 4 years. That thought terrifies me. He keeps tabs on me. That is the curse of  a small town. He has people watching me. He still writes me and he words things as if we are still together and I will be waiting for him when he is released. I believe 100% that he WILL come looking for me when he gets out and if things dont work out the way he has them twisted in his mind…I do truly believe he could snap and kill me. I worry a lot about that. 

The other man lives only a few miles away. I still have nightmares about him. the night I finally got up the nerve to tell him to leave was the most terrifying night ever. I shook like a leaf and clutched my cell phone in my hand that as in my pocket, ready at any moment to call 911. I had friends right across the street waiting for my call for help. Now that I look back I cannot understand WHY I didnt just have them there WITH me that night. I think in my heart I knew I had to do that alone, finally stand up to him. And I did. He didnt rage like I expected. instead, he begged me not to do it, cried, made me falter in my self doubt. After he drove away I just cried. Cried for  a failed marriage. cried for my son who would never know his father. Cried for my failure. 

I don’t blame myself anymore. 

The beauty of getting out of  a storm is that the sun can come back out and help you see reality. Not that twisted mess he has you believing in your own brain. But REALITY. 

Reality is, I never deserved a bit of it. We are all humans and at times we might be annoying or grumpy or stupid. But we dont deserve to be made to feel small for it. We dont deserve to be hurt physically. Maybe there ARE plenty of pretttier or smarter women out there. But i am me and if you dont like it, you LEAVE, you dont stay and pummel and batter and beat down. 

Thats not a real man. Its NOT. there is nothing manly about a man who hurts a person smaller and weaker than them. There is nothing brave about intimidation tactics. The shame is not ever in being a victim. the shame is in choosing to hurt another person when what you SHOULD do is walk away. 

Their demons were never mine to battle in the first place. 

If you are with a man who makes you feel like you deserve those tears you cry, those marks you hide….please dont believe it. Not for one more single second. You have so much potential and beauty and marvelous wonder and awesome abilities and talents and thoughts that are all your own. Dont you ever forget that,. It is HE who doesn’t deserve you. You just have it all a little mixed up in your brain right now, how it really is. And thats okay. Because I was there myself. I understand. I really do. Im just begging you now, to do what you need to. For your kids, if you have any. For yourself. Because that is NOT love. THAT IS NOT LOVE. 

that first step is scary as hell and harder than you think. 

But once youre over that hump…..i cannot even begin to describe to you how free it feels to laugh out loud. To dance. To not flinch. To not base the potential outcome of your entire day on what sort of mood a man wakes up in that morning. Last night I took a shower and while washing my hair it suddenly popped into my mind out of the blue how long its been since I’ve felt a lump on my had while washing my hair. Now I wash my hair and its just hair….no reminders of pain. I havent had to cover up bruises or lie about marks on my body in a long time. I cannot put into words how GOOD that feels. My body is my body and no one touches it unless I let them. And no one hurts me. 

If you are in the middle of a domestic violence situation right now, please seek help. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24-7 at 1-800-799-7233. Their website is: http://www.thehotline.org/. Check it out if you need help or if you are interested in helping in some way. 

We all have a voice. 

Don’t let yours be silent. 

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Things I Do In The Shower

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Here it is. My very first Sunday Confession blog post. I’ve been peer pressured into doing this awesomness by a whole buncha fellow bloggers who just happen to be very groovy chickas. So, truth serum in the style of the written word. Here goes it.
Hi. My name is Tonia and I am the mother of six boys. Ages 1-almost 13. What this means in a nutshell is I live in the midst of controlled chaos (thus the name of my blog.) and I never ever not ever get any time to my self. Ever.

Except when I shower. Late at night. After the housework is finished and they are all thankgodalmighty ASLEEP.
Sure, I can do the power-shower while they are all semi-occupied watching a movie or playing. But what this means is I shave one leg (if Im lucky) and rush my way through the rest while hollering “Quit RUNNING!” or whatever the moment calls for. And every eleven seconds someone has to come in to poop. Because nothing beats the relaxing atmosphere of a nice hot shower with organic lavender soap blended with the lovely aroma of poop. Or the four year old comes in to peer around the shower curtain and chat with me about absolutely nothing.
Sigh.

But a couple nights a week I ignore the fact I am so tired I could literally curl up in a ball on the floor and sleep hardcore and I take full advantage of some heavenly shower time. All. By. Mahself.
And it’s glorious. It’s a vacation right there in my own home. I pull out all my girly homemade organic shower stuff. the lemon body scrub, the brown sugar exfoliators, the coconut oil and baking soda and all that jazz. I run that water so hot it could boil a lobster. And I do absolutly nothing for the first 5 minutes but just BE. Just stand under the steaming water and let it relax all of my muscles. Just breathe deep and not be interrupted.

It’s wonderful.

I do all the typical girl stuff. Wash and shave and such. Until I smell less like a buncha boys (peanut butter and dirt and frogs and sweat and cookies) and more like a flower or someplace tropical. Whatevs.

Then I perform for a bit.
BECAUSE. I. CAN.
I sing my heart out. Accapella style or to a cd. Whatevs. I rock that stadium….uh, I mean shower. I belt it out top volume. Because I used to dream of being a singer but I had kids instead so I traded in one dream for another and now my performances are for the soap and water. Singing is my therapy. It soothes me, releases tension, relaxes my soul.

Eventually the water gets cool and I turn it off and get out.

And there sits on the bath mat, my chihuahua-pug dog ziggy, who oh-so-helpfully licks the drops of water off of my feet and ankles no matter how many times I tell him that that is WEIRD. And there is always at least 2 cats chilling out on the counter by the sink leering at me in a sorta creepy way, like furry little perverts. And there’s my other dog peering through the crack in the door as if he and I had some crucial appointment I had forgotten about.

So, apparently, I am NEVER truly alone.

That’s life.

MoreThanCheeseandBeer

Adios 2013…….With a Big Fat Hug and a Big Ol’ Kick In The Arse

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Holy cow, this year has piled on a whole shit ton of stress on my shoulders. I cried a lot. Hard. Felt defeated. Pulled myself back up to my feet after getting slammed down only to get knocked immediatly back down on my face. Succeeded in saying farewell to two men in one year. (Go ahead, judge that shit. I don’t really give a rats ass. I call it BEST DECISION EVER that after two years of being almost daily verbally and physically abused I finally got the balls to kick #1 out and when #2 informed me loud and clear in words and actions that he was nothing but useless, I got rid of him. Im already raising 6 boys, I dont need grown-up versions thankyouverymuch.) But still….pregnant and alone sucks ass. Hard. Seeing one of my dearest friends in a coma in the hospital after an attempted suicide. Tore my heart out. Lost a close friend this past spring. Buried my sons dog. Stood on my front porch while an officer took photos of my bruises and blood to file charges on my ex with. Had some so-called “friends” betray me and threaten my family. Had folks judge me and talk shit because its “not very christian” to kick your husband out…even when that man hits you. (I’m sorry, i must have missed that part of the bible that says “Thou shalt be a punching bag.” I think J.C. and I are a-okay on THAT choice.) Lost my van. Tossed and turned away many nights.

But then I got over it. No, not all at once. But as the punches were thrown I shrugged that shit off. Sometimes I ducked and other times I took the blow and breathed in deep and nursed the ache a minute or two. But always I got my ass back up. Because life is too damn short to lay down and give up. And because sonofabitchgoodlordalmighty I have these amazing beautiful wonderful marvelous young men who are watching me and maybe I’ve taught them a thing or two about mistakes because mama is a human and sometimes shes a sucker who trusts in people too much and sometimes she is really naive, but eventually she figures it out and shes no quitter.
Because at the end of it all, when my sons scatter my ashes into the wind or whatever the heck they do with me, I want them to recall my fire. My passion. My tenacity. My laugh. My silliness. My wit. My love.
Oh man, my LOVE.
I love those six boys more than I love the very air I breath. Sometimes I just look at them and think “Holy shit I MADE that!” and Im humbled and proud all at the same time and I just want to squish them in my arms until they grunt.
So, nevermind the bad shit. Screw it. Shake it off. Like dust on an old book. Wipe that shit clean and open up the cover and check out whats inside.
Its mother effing BEAUTIFUL.
This year rocked.
This year my youngest son learned how to walk.
My Snarky hippie page on Face Book took off like a freaking bullet and expanded like crazy glue and I started getting all of these amazing private messages from fans that truly made my day or week. And started getting these adorably awesome care packages from fans. And that shit always makes me cry. Because I can tell the thoughtand love that goes into those packages and it touches my heart. that total strangers really CARE about my journey and these littles and are all a part of my life now.
I started blogging again. regularly. I started singing again. Just in the shower and the kitchen. But still. I started writing my poetry again. First one I wrote was on Mothers Day when I went out hiking. There in the shade of a tree I sat and wrote. I had missed it.
I felt this belly baby move for the first time. And though I was a little sad to not have anyone to share the moment with, I was also so very deeply aware of the amazing miracle that was stirring and twirling within me and I was so very humbled by the honor of it all.
I made a lot of homemade bread with the Littles. Because kneading dough is wonderful therapy.
I tye dyed curtains for the entire house. I made pillows. I made duct tape wallets. I sewed arms back on stuffed animals. I made pies and donuts and stir fries and homemade cleaners and fixed a toilet and fixed a dryer and basically kicked ass at the whole home keeper role. And loved it.
I taught my Littles school at home. And they learned about the band Queen and concentration camps and the true history of Thanksgiving and how to make a fire in the wilderness without matches and whatever the hell else they wanted to learn about. And we read Jonathan Livingston Seagull and The BFG by Roald Dahl and The Phantom Tollbooth and The Little Prince and half of the Yearling. We had an ice cream fight outside one day. We threw water balloons. We got a slip and slide. we had an epic mud fight one day in the midst of a summer storm. We all snuggled together in my bedroom and had movie marathons and ate deliciousness on blankets like an indoor picnic. We got glow in the dark chalk and drew all over the walls and ourselves and then turned off all of the lights and danced. We built a dam at the creek. We made sculptures with the mud that we brought home and dried in the sun on our deck. We went to the chinese buffet lots. They made swords out of wooden fence spikes, decorated with paint and tape and leather and anything else they found. They cooked over our firepit. They caught fireflies in jars and kept them as night lights in mason jars by their beds. They picked me flowers. They picked all of the apples and pears off of our trees and helped me make pies and cobblers and applesauce.
I found out how incredibly free it feels to laugh out loud in my own home. Laugh until I cry. Throw my head back and laugh from my gut. and not be afraid. I quit flinching. I dance a lot now. While I clean. With my kids. Whenever. Wherever. I sing. I sing goofy songs to my kids about them cleaning their rooms or how I wish they would learn to share better and stop running through the house with muddy shoes. I let them go crazy sometimes because they CAN, they should, theyre boys. And theres no man here now to say “Im leaving because I cant handle this shit.”
I read a lot of great books.
I made some truly kick ass friends.
I stumbled over something one day and looked down and it was Happy. Just laying there like ‘Hey, I missed ya! how the hell are ya, girl?” And I was all “Holy hell its YOU! I almost forgot what you looked like.”
Adn I picked that shit up and shook her off and realized it still mother effin FIT me even though it felt like AGES since I’d been happy. And Im wearing that shit well these days.
Im not saying my life is perfect. Im just saying when you weigh the pros and cons, well, holy crappola I am pretty freakin BLESSED.
I’m sending out a special shout out to all of my readers who have touched my life this past year. You cannot even begin to understand how much your support, your words, your love, your encouragment, have truly meant to this girl. You are such a major light along my pathway and I just want to say THANK YOU. For being awesome.
Onward and upward. I have a hunch 2014 is gonna rock. Completely and totally. Because I’ve got the reigns now and Im wearing Happy and Ive got my Littles here and I cant even imagine it getting any better than this….but I’m ready if it does. Oh man, am I ready…..
Come at me 2014. Mamas got her ass-kicker boots on.