“Funny How Things Change”


 

marineland

I grew up in Palos Verdes, a small town South of Los Angeles. My bedroom window overlooked Marineland and the ocean. (Now a resort – so sad it is no longer there!) When I was younger I was a Mattel toy tester kid. Not officially, but my dad would bring home random tester toys for me. He was a Marketing VP in Sales there, in El Segundo. I wish I still had some of those toys, I bet they’d be worth gold now.

shrinking violet Shrinking Violet – one of my Tester Toys!

We were not rich, but I was blessed. My dad grew up with a single mom and they struggled. A lot. He had to sell magazines to buy his school shoes. I know that my dad worked hard to climb up the ladder. Always making it to Vice President in all his jobs. Transferring us all over the country as he climbed.

Street I grew up onvallon

My friend Terri once told me that she’d been jealous of me  when we were growing up. I had the dad who went on business trips and came home with surprises for me, while her dad was a Cal-Trans guy who stayed home. I kind of thought it might have been nice to have a dad that was home more. I guess everything is relative. “I used to get lost in your house, I thought it was so big.” she’d told me once. (It really wasn’t that big.) “Funny how things change.” she said.

daddy

My dad and me in the living room of the house we rented across the street from Terri’s in San Mateo. So funny, he doesn’t look real happy about having his picture taken.

My best friend was four when we met in San Mateo where we were renting a house across the street from hers. A few years later, we moved. And moved, and moved, until we settled in Palos Verdes.  Things got given away or lost in our moves, hence why I don’t have my first Barbie, or most of the tester toys any longer. Terri had all her firsts. She lived in the same house she always did until she got married and moved out. Her mom saved everything. Though Terri doesn’t have them any longer. She died last summer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that comment, she made so many years ago. “Funny how things change.” It kind of hurt. She was referring to her wealth. She’d made some good choices along the way. I did not. She worked hard and completed college. I went, I still have my units all in a nice little bundle. I know, because I checked a few years ago. (Imagine they still have my records all of these years later!) She became an Interior Designer and was very talented. She married a guy that  ended up grandfathering into his dad’s business and making it very successful. In the end, they probably had more money than both of our parents put together. And though it makes me a little sad to say it, I know that was important to her.

Terri fought cancer for the last twenty years. Not only that, she fought stage four cancer! Having money has its perks, you can design your own medical team as well as try alternatives and it may keep you alive longer than most. And that was truly a blessing. But the comment; “Funny how things change.” Always bothered me. What did she mean by that? I know exactly what she meant. She had a lot of money and I didn’t. I have to admit that I was surprised that she’d always harbored that competitive bone, and hadn’t realized it until she’d made that comment.

I didn’t not have money. I just didn’t have as much as she did. Between her right choices and hard work, and a little dumb luck, marrying a guy that would someday inherit a business that would be very successful, she never wanted nor worried about paying a bill in her adult life, like I have. Don’t get me wrong. I am blessed. I was just never motivated to need more. Maybe because I was a little privileged as a kid, and stupidly, a little embarrassed by it. Maybe the ones who feel they don’t have a lot at an early age seek for more later. I just know that Terri died with a closet full of clothes with price tags still on them and a drawer full of jewelry with some pieces, equaling a whole year of my salary. That being said, she was also one of the most generous people I know.

Losing my best friend and reflecting on our friendship of over a half a century has made me realize what is important and what is not.  That material things really are just so unimportant. But then, She probably knows that now.

I miss her terribly. I am glad that she is not suffering anymore. Her sister gave me one of her leather jackets. Though a material thing of hers, it makes me feel closer to her when I wear it. Losing Terri has taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life. Even if that windfall never comes for me. I don’t need fancy cars, or big houses, I am happy to just be able to pay my bills on time.  And I know that I am blessed. I have a husband that loves me in spite of myself. I have amazing kids and a great family and wonderful friends. And now I even have a job I like going to and a boss I love!

I will always miss Terri. But I am glad she is not suffering anymore. I know now that she is in a place that holds the kind of joy she was always seeking from her “things” here on this earth. She is free from pain and has a new body. I think a lot about her everyday. She has left a gaping hole in my life. I miss the places I would find her, an early morning email waiting for me to open,  a phone call on the way home from work, summer get aways, the way she loved my daughter so much, her quirky  sense of humor,  and laughing at the dumbest things. Sharing things you can only tell your best friend without being judged. (Well probably judged, but that’s okay. Smile.)  I guess now, I just think a lot more about what is important and what is not. And you know she was right It really is Funny how things change.

01p091 One more of me and my dad

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Why do we write?


I just watched a video of a Chiropractor healing a young man who was bent over for a very long time. In less than a month of treatments, he stood tall as he walked out the door with plans of becoming a Chiropractor, himself. It was so inspirational, it almost made me want to become one!

http://www.newslinq.com/back-pain-kyphosis/

In a way, I think that we write to heal.

Most of us who are writers, remember when we knew we “had to” write. Like those who sing or dance, paint or act. It is so hard to explain. Right? Even when we don’t do what we are supposed to do, we still really are who we are. Does that make any sense at all?!  If a dancer stops dancing, she is still a dancer. I know that as an artist, I am still an artist. I could still draw a new illustration for one of my greeting cards or make a doll and at times I miss the art shows and the long nights getting ready for the next one, or packing up my car to head for a holiday show, But from the begining, I really feel that if I had to choose, I was always meant to be a writer.

During my art show years, I wrote poems for my cards, I could probably publish a few volumes of what I’ve written. I’m talking hundreds. Some not great, some not so bad. But writing here at WordPress, the last few years has really made me want to write more. Though I go through spells. Really dry spells. Recently writing my story, really did me in. Going back in time, affected me more than I knew. Literally, mood changing, and it was hard for me to snap out of it. But it was also very healing. I know I have a message for women. If just one sees herself in my story and takes back her power, it will be worth it.

writer frustrated

I have realized that I need to go back and adjust parts, tear out others and be more brutally honest. I am glad that somewhere inside myself, I knew that it wasn’t good enough. Fictionally introduced to spare those that might not want “their” story told, I intend to pull out some of those muscles that have become mushy and push on, like an old dancer, who knows that they have not danced their last dance, and still have a few more great performances left.

ballerina sitting on floor

The age old question.  Does everyone have something? Why do some live their whole lives without ever sharing it or letting us know their gift? Why do those of us “have to” do what we do? And why do we sometimes stop? I think it is exhausting at times. To share daily, is like going to the gym, you have to be dedicated.

It is more about exercising our words. It heals us as we write. More often, I have been going back into my archives and having my own AHA moment when I need it the most. Pricking my own soul with a message I wrote years ago. And realize that I really am writing for myself. Trying to reach my center, not really being the expert for anyone else but me.

library shelves

Blogging is a funny thing.  There will be the handful that LIKE this before I can even re-read it myself. The ones who support you just to be nice… And then I have my two or three dozen very loyal readers, who really read because that is what they do. (I love you guys!) And then there are the writers who I have bonded with who read pretty regularly, even if I have been missing for a while, every so often, if I don’t write, I get comments from people reading random old posts of mine, which is amazingly inspiring. And then there are the writers, that support you as you support them. If you don’t work it, you lose them. Like anything, ya gotta work it to stay in shape! Lets just say, like my wedding diet (mother of the bride in June) I am back! Well, I am trying!

ballet

 

It’s A Circumstanial Thing. Right?


 

sad girl staring out window

It has taken me almost a half a century to understand that one of the greatest measuring sticks we have in our life is death. As I have lost friends and family members, recently  I have learned that our legacy is more important than the “things” we gather, here on this earth, because they are all left behind to be given away by someone else anyway. It is more about the things we give away while we are here that really matter most.

And it is not only about material things, even more so, it is about our self and our time. I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that I am selfish in giving away pieces of me. I give freely to the people I know love me. But even at times, I’d rather be alone. And if someone is difficult, even if I love them, I have learned to avoid rejection or dysfunction at all costs.

I spend time with a handful of people I choose to, that matter most to me, and don’t really go out of my way to make new friends. My husband is constantly wanting me to reach out to friends at church and I have always dug my heels in, except for a select few. I remember when we moved away from the place I literally grew up, away from all of my friends, to a brand new place and he’d said, “you’ll make new friends.” I told him, I have all the friends I need. Well, that would have been very sad if that was true, because some of those friends now, are the ones in that handful of friends I mentioned earlier, that I have grown to love and choose to hang out with most.

I do know that I tend to want to come home from work which is a “people” job, and retreat into my own little shell away from everyone, not answer too many questions, or have too many plans and just unwind. I know that I disappoint my very socially inclined husband, and I feel bad and then that makes me mad because I feel guilty and that is up there among the top four feelings I hate to feel… Frightened, Sad, Angry & Guilty!

Depression is something I have never bought into. I mean, I know it exists organically. I worked in a Psych Unit for almost six years. It is a very real condition. And there is treatment for that kind of Depression. I’ve witnessed the successes of those treatments. But what I am talking about is admitting that I have it or not. Which I was told that I do by our counselor. And have fought that diagnosis ever since. In fact I got mad and stopped going to counseling. Thinking of course you are going to have to label me. I’m not depressed! I’m mad and angry and exhausted!

I mean, crap happens and you are sad, or scared or angry because of it, right? It’s a circumstantial thing. Depression doesn’t happen to people like me. I go to work every day, I don’t sleep my life away. I laugh and joke and live! You work through the crap and it goes away. Right? Maybe not. Maybe you work through it, but the layers of fear from all the things that have happened in life pile up and you don’t know how to deal. For the first time since then, I have wondered. Maybe she was right?

Fighting a war inside your head is exhausting. Being expected to even know how to begin to talk about it, takes your breath away. Even people like me, who talk for a living. It is like caring too much about everything but being perceived as if you care about nothing. Always looking back, wanting to fix where you were, being afraid to believe in tomorrow. Sometimes faking a smile and saying you are fine, is so much easier than trying to describe your pain. I mean, don’t think that I can explain how I feel when I don’t even understand myself. Always wanting someone to just say “It’s going to all be okay” and  for me to really believe it. And wondering if you will ever feel like it’s really okay.

A lot has happened to a lot of people, horrific things that I can’t even imagine and they have turned around and made their journey into lessons for others. I know that some of my experiences can be an opportunity for a better testimony, that if I can get through it, others can too.

I guess that I’m beginning to realize that finding the courage to understand is our reward.  That it’s okay to cry for the ones that we miss, but so important to embrace the ones that are still here. That fighting for life is making us stronger and that stronger is a very good thing. And that I need to learn how to really and truly, genuinely love the person I have fought for all along… and that, that person is me.
To love God first, and then ourselves is one of the  hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn. For I can’t love anyone else until I understand who is loving you.

She builds people up because she knows what it’s like to be torn down.

praying woman's hands

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has known what God has prepared for those who love Him.                                                                                             1 Corinthians 2:9

Tomorrow IS the Answer!


We have a local site with someone who anonymously keeps us updated on all of the local emergency occurrences  happening in our area via his Facebook page, which I followed since I drive over 50 miles a day, to and from work, and his traffic information seems to be the most up to date. Sadly his recent reports have been on a few local accidents that have occurred on our local train tracks. Even sadder, they seem to not be accidents but suicides.

computer screen frustration

I try not to get sucked into the comment threads, because at times they are so frustrating and can make you look pathetic, wasting even one minute arguing with a stranger, though as a writer that some might describe as opinionated, I can never keep my mouth shut when it comes to the above subject.

When I was a young girl my boyfriend’s mom killed herself. She’d attempted it a few times before that, but succeeded when we were dating. It was one of the most horrific of experiences I’ve ever lived through. And I have never really been able to describe the pain she left behind.

tears

I sincerely believe that if she’d received the right kind of help she would still be here. She was vivacious and funny, smart and beautiful and one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. Everyone loved her. She was a mother, a wife, my boss, and one of my best friends. It happened around this time of year many decades ago, and it still affects me as if it were yesterday. Statistics say that this is a high suicide time of year. And our census was usually up during the holidays at the hospital where I worked many years ago.

I believe that her pain was real. I believe that she was chemically imbalanced and that her issues were organic. And I believe that she could have been helped. I also believe that I was far too young and inexperienced as was my boyfriend to be held responsible for not knowing how to help her. And yet I think that because we couldn’t, it affected us both in ways that we still are dealing with in our own separate lives today. So yeah, I do believe that when someone kills themselves it is no just about them. Having said that, I believe that this woman that I loved, that might have been my children’s grandmother, missed a whole half of her life, I know that she missed weddings, celebrations, births and probably deaths and sadness too. But her life was far from over.

Today I was very disturbed by the comments that a few particular people made defending suicide saying that some people just don’t want help and not condoning it, but making it almost okay and defending the act. It is not okay. The next comment was…. “It’s not about you.” You wanna bet? It’s about everyone involved. And it is something that lives with you forever after. Always asking what could we have done? Even over thirty years later.

My childhood best friend just died of cancer last year. She fought to save her life for twenty years. She did everything she could to fight. She finally didn’t have a choice. I understand that depression is a disease. I understand because I have it. But don’t tell me that it is okay not to fight for life! You do have a choice.

The way that conversation was going could make somebody feel that it was okay not to fight, that if your pain is so great, go ahead and jump in front of a train and maybe kill some people in your wake, don’t think about the people who will have to clean the blood off of the tracks or the conductor who couldn’t stop in time. Suicide is one of the most selfish acts anyone can do. And they may be fighting words for some, but I will never change my opinion. No matter how you do it, Somebody has to find you. And most likely it will be someone who loves you.

I was then told that I must not know  about mental illness. Hmmm, I guess working in an adolescent unit of a private Psych Ward in LA for almost six years does not count? I counseled a lot of kids and adults who were in excruciating pain and I must say that one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced was running into them later in life and being introduced to their families. A husband, they never would have met, and kids they never would have had, and living a life they chose to fight for. Meeting people they never would have met, experiencing celebrations and love and new babies, all that they never would have known if they’d stayed stuck in their hole. Telling me how grateful that they were that we didn’t give up on them!

And so Yeah, I still believe that… Suicide is not the answer and I won’t be a part of ever saying that sometimes the pain may be too great. Perhaps it is for that day, maybe even for several days. But it will get better. I am proof. I have been pretty wasted in the toxic wave of my own depression. To the point of not wanting to go on. But I believed in something greater than my own pain.

Don’t give up today because the sun really will come out again and though you will still have your happy and sad days, you won’t miss the happy ones when you finally decide that…  Tomorrow IS always the ANSWER!

kiss on stoop

 

The future is exciting. Always believe that something wonderful is going to happen.

Dear Past, Thanks for ALL The Lessons! New Future, I am Ready!!


happy smile

Happy New Year everyone! I am thankful for you all. For whatever reason I have been gifted your presence, as you share your valuable time with lil ole me, reading my thoughts and ramblings, I am humbled and honored. It has been so long since I have last posted that I had trouble getting here and accidentally posted a poem I’d written in the past and left in my to be edited pile. Still untitled. But it has gotten a little more activity than I expected, so I have decided to leave it be. Though my intention was to be positive today.

I did not intend this to be a post about resolutions but more of realizations… I wanted to wait until all of the New Year posts had been written, kind of like waiting to go to the gym in February, after all of the New dieters have dwindled to the serious resolution keepers!

But in my reflections I’ve been trying to figure out how to put my thoughts so that you’d GET what I wanted to say…

I guess it’s like this… We all have a story. And we are the authors of our own pages. I think that the quote: Today is the first day of your life! Has been so over done that we have discounted it. But in reality, it is a pretty powerful statement. I know people who wake up everyday with new hope. They just are happy. Or appear to be. Whatever it is… it is inspiring. I am blessed to be married to one of those people. It has defintely been a challenge for him I am sure being married to me. I think sometimes we speak totally different languages in the morning!

Speaking of which, I think that learning new languages is amazing. I wish I had that talent. It is one of the things that has always impressed me. But I think even more than that, learning to be quiet inside our own language is even more impressive. To not say anything at all when I reeeeally want to… is a talent that I am trying to master daily.

I think that this year my intention is to grow, to listen more, to stop judging, to catch myself and ask, what is it that I am seeing that annoys me so much about that person that I might see in myself. And to always wonder why that angry person is angry, it most likely has nothing to do with me.

To ignore the wrongs done to me, to forgive more frequently, but to understand that ultimately in the end, I am doing it for me. For I have wasted so much time in the past being stuck somewhere else – hanging on too long & not letting go.

For…. You can’t push a rope you know!
rope

God bless everyone in the coming year! May it be our BEST one yet!

xoxo

Diane

 

 

This New Version Of Me


rainey window and butterfly

I think that as we grow, no matter what our age, we learn to embrace who we are in a less selfish way. For several decades of my life, I needed everyone else’s approval. And as I look out the window today, I kind of feel like the seasons. A couple of weeks into the “time change” it seems as if the weather has taken a kind of dramatic turn. From sweltering hot to now, checking whether to bring an umbrella or not and layering clothes.

As I sit here before jumping in the shower I look out my window, as fog greets me. Funny how a certain time of day, and type of weather can just snap you back to times of long ago. And so I sit here, enjoying the view, feeling warm and safe and embracing the moment. Such is life. We struggle all of our lives to be our authentic selves and sometimes things change inside of us as quickly as the seasons. While some epiphanies take a little longer, it is life changing when it happens. How I wish it wouldn’t have taken so long. To feel comfortable in my own skin.

I am beginning to like who I am becoming, to see that there is no need to constantly seek out other’s opinions for my life, nor to judge others so much. To talk to a friend or coworker rather than about them, if need be. For after all, we tend to gossip to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. You know? Slowly, I’ve made a committment to stop the negativity. It’s been a long time coming and yet, I’ve grown to realize that the person constantly puffing themselves up in regard to their own accomplishments, transparently feels inadequate in some way, the coworker that is short with you one day, may feel under the weather or have had bad news but still had to come to work to pay the bills. The one gossiping about someone, has the need to bring information to you because they feel they have nothing else to offer. And I’ve realized that I’ve been a version of each of those people throughout my life. While really trying to get to know where someone else has come from. What they have endured in their lives, what might be going on now and to stop judging so much! It really feels great to finally feel as if I am beginning to understand me and who I want to be. I kind of feel like Dorothy when Glinda told her: “You’ve always had the power my dear you just had to learn it for yourself.”

red slippers

Below is a post* that I wrote a few years ago. It was the beginning of my AHA moment and this new version of me. Someone recently LIKED it and it made me go back and reread it and realize how life changing things happening in our lives, may seem like a valley but how eventually God takes us up to the mountain top again. Just you wait and see!

*>>>    https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/getting-over-it/