At 9 years old I was happy . It was a great age. At that point in my life things were ok . not great but manageable. My role models were my dad and my grandfather.
I looked up to my day because he represented STRONG. He was an athlete, gymnast, weight lifter ,a logger, my coach and was always working hard. My grandfather because he was patient , kind, a teacher and a hard worker. I always wanted to prove to my dad that I was good enough, strong enough that I could be just like one of the boys. Body image was a big deal to him . I can remember my dad making comments to my mom about her weight and the way she looked. Funny thing was my mom was never big. She was never bigger than a size 10. She always carried herself with pride and looked beautiful. I felt loved by my mother, I can see that now as I look back. And I was definitely loved by my maternal grandparents but my dad was different. I knew he loved me but I was just never good enough. We were always conscious about being healthy because my dad had high blood pressure and my mom was always on a diet. She was always working out in the kitchen with her canned goods as weights. The Jane Fonda VHS tapes were always play. Celebrities at that time in my life at the time were Pippi long-stocking and Punky brewster. They were independent, always smiling . They seemed to never let anything get them down. Each one seemed to always be on a great adventure and we lived on 100 plus acres of land at the time and I loved to think of my life as an adventure too. Gender roles were definitely a strong influence in my life. My father thought women should be barefoot and pregnant. I just wanted to be one of the boys. Hell I dont think I could have gotten much more tom boy if I tried. If my father said no or that I could not do something or that it was meant for boys. I did it. I mastered it. I was better than any boy doing the sport at the time, from hunting to baseball.
Wow I did not realize how much this effected me until I wrote this today. I never wanted my kids to feel that way, not good enough. I wanted them to be loved for what was inside of their hearts, not what they could achieve or what their bodies looked like. Do you know that my daughter actually thought she should have been a boy because she was a tom boy. Because I taught her everything I know. It was horrible. She even thought I was gay because I do a lot of man stuff. Who decides what is man stuff and what is women stuff? How sad it that ? Because that is what society is making her think now a days. I told her no, it makes me a strong independent women who can take care of herself no matter the situation. LIFE OR DEATH. Now when her and I go to our mountain home she has a whole new outlook on things. I am so proud that my daughter can use a woodspliter, generator, chainsaw, Ax, lawnmower, and any other power tool. She is 14 and can already drive my car. She rides a dirtbike and fourwheeler. I love that she can shoot my riffle. I am proud of her.
At the end of this, I have no idea why my dad was my role model growing up it should have been my mom. She had the strength to over come and get out of all the horrible things my father put me and my 3 sisters through. All the abuses, physical and emotional. My mom and I may still have some issues but I am proud to be her Daughter
Your life is what you make it!
We are having a challenge for the the next four weeks in the group that I belong too. I love our challenges. We work on our mind, body, and soul. I forgot how competitive that I am.. At first I was competitive with others, now I just love competing with myself. Challenging myself to a higher level each time. It is so amazing to keep digging deeper into myself. It helps me grow into the person that I have yet to become. Everyone in our group is simply amazing. No one person is on the same journey but yet we all have something in common. My tribe of people has begun to grow and its up lifting to watch other people flourish. I love helping people.
Today is my birthday and I’m turning 40. 40 is the new 20. A year ago if you asked me how I felt about turning 40 I would have said sad, down, and depressed One more year goes by that I’m full pain.This year I feel healthy, yes the pain is still there, but its not all that I focus on anymore. I’m focusing on creating a new me. Its like I’ve become a whole new person. Every time I look in the mirror I see someone new staring back at me. I sometimes can’t believe that it is really me. I’ve lost 70 pounds .I’ve gained some muscle mass and I look healthy. I know its been hard on my family having the new me because now I’m full of energy. Where before I lived my life basically on the couch. I feel like my brain was in a fog and I was just getting by day to day. I was not really living. When I think back I realized how much I do not remember. I don’t remember a lot of my daughter growing up even though she lived in the same house. She’s 14 now and I don’t remember a lot of things. I have the pictures to prove that I was there. That I did the best that I could but its sad how the pain blocked on my memories. So this year I’m going to make new memories with her and they will be in printed on my brain for the rest of my life. I’m going to make sure of that. Its been a rough journey. I’ve lost a lot of friends over the last year but then again where they really friends or just acquaintances. My old friends are still they’re the ones I’ve had for like 20 plus years just the new ones I gained while i was sick have started to do dwindle off. We are just not that close anymore. Its okay they are just not meant to be in my new life.
So Happy Birthday to me. I am going to treat myself to a spa day. I deserve that.
“I’m on the hunt for who I’ve not yet become”
STRONG…. What does that word mean to me? This was a question that I was asked over the weekend by an amazing talented women named Stacie Venagro. When I look at what I wrote down at the time I was asked this question I feel like my definition of what strong means has changed…. I first wrote, STRONG was the last 35 years of my life getting here to this very moment sitting on this floor answering this question. STRONG means getting thru and over coming anything put in my path. When the odds are stacked against me that I can come out on top. Strong is raising my kids with great values. To be kind, caring, respectful and to stand up for others when they are week. My whole life has been a struggle. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. STRONG MEANS- giving my strength to others when they need it. Never give up. There is always a way and a solution, you just have to find it. Find the positive in every situation. My cup is always half full. Life is mind over matter… Before today this was my definition of strong. After some deep down soul searching with some incredible inspirational women I realized that my definition of strong may have changed.
STRONG means being vulnerable is okay… It is okay to let others see you cry and to show your emotions. That I can be weak sometimes. Lean on me….. And in the words of Bill Withers ,
“Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow.
But if we are wise,
We know that there’s always tomorrow.
Lean on me when you’re not strong
I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.
Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show.
You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on.
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand,
We all need somebody to lean on.”
It was very difficult for me to open up and trust a strange group of women. It was an awkward experience for me because I do not trust others. As uncomfortable as it was, it felt so rewarding. Uplifting and empowering. I let my brick wall down and the positive energy of the universe came flooding in, I felt like I was on top of the world. This is what every women should feel like.. We all need our tribe, some one to lean on.
I took you with me little bird!!! Your wings were clipped to soon. Don’t worry I carried on my back and held on to you with all my might. I thought of you every step of the way. You smile, your laughter your tears your never ending pain don’t worry little bird I have your back. I did not let you down my friend. I did what you could not but would have.. Don’t worry I will make him proud. I have your back little bird, I will take away his frown. I will make sure he knows how hard you fought but that you had to go. Just know you are always with me little bird I will never let you down.
I LOVE YOU JESS!!!!
I wrote this on Jan 23, 2015. I really wish I could just send it to him.
Yesterday at 6:08 p.m. I sat with your father, my grandfather and held his hand while he passed on to another life. I am pretty honored to have been there with him and your sister , my aunt when passed on peacefully. After you left all kinds of thought went running through my head. It’s been along time dad. Not really sure why we do not talk and why you do not know the strong daughter you have or the incredible grandchildren. I get it raising kids is so hard. Probably the hardest thing that any person will ever do. The greatest accomplishment in life. Things do not always go as planned , we make mistakes, we fuck up. That is why there is this thing called forgiveness and second chances. I do not and will never regret anything that has happened in my life. It has made me the women that I have become today and I am pretty fucking proud of her. You might want to know what makes up this women, how did she become the person she is? Well I had a great set of parents when I was younger. You guys were so not perfect but relationship and child manuals have yet to be made, so you struggle along. Dad, if nothing else, if you never read this I just want you to know that I remember everything you ever taught me. The love for nature, your passion for sports, hardworking ethic, never to give up just keep on trucking. I think of when you first taught me how to play baseball, I use to break dance in the outfield. I couldn’t even hit the ball off the tee. I can still here you yelling at me to pay attention , hands on your knees. Did you know that if I had stayed in high school I would have had a full ride to college for softball. I pitched the fasted, threw the hardest and hit the longest. All because of you dad. I remember following you in the woods, like a little minion. Learning every tree, every leave, all the nuts. What to eat and what was poisonous . How to make a shelter out of nature and keep it rain tight. Teaching me how to track, stay down wind of your prey. Because of you teaching me how not to get lost in the woods , I have never been lost in life. I can always find my way back to the path. I know that things were tough when your daughters started growing up. I know that you secretly wished we were boys and I am sorry we are not. I can completely understand how and why my parents got divorced. Relationships are hard work, you need lots of communication. people need to be a united front when raising children. You learn from ones parents, they were your example. Your parents fucked up too. Each generation has to break the cycle ,take the good from their elders and add their own. My sisters and I were just kids, we looked to you for guidance and understanding. It was not our fault that mom and you did not make it. One makes their own decisions decides ones own fate. For along time I blamed myself for your problems and your faults. I had to justify why all of the sudden I was your little minion and then when things got tough you guys just gave up. I do not blame myself anymore for I was just a child. I forgave you both a long time ago. I gave up my anger and hatred. Do you know that it has been over 20 years since I have had my dad in my life. That is a long time but it is never too late. I wish I knew why you don’t love me anymore , deep inside I am still your little girl. It was so hard to see you and not know what went wrong. Why you talk to my younger sisters but not me. I have no clue how to fix it. I have reached out several times and never had anything back. I can’t reach out anymore, I am tired and have an illness that is just tearing me up inside. I have to focus my attention on my family because who knows how long I am destined for this earth. If nothing else Dad, if we never have a relationship again I want you to know how much I love you. I remember everything.
With all my love,
My son wrote me this letter for mothers day in 2015, he is 18 . When I am feeling down this is what helps pick me up.
“Dear Carie Ann,
Whenever the kids at school talk about their parents I always feel bad for them because I know they will never experience a great mother like you. I know that their mothers would dread the idea of spending a week in the hospital with their children and would dread it ever more if it happened to fall around a holiday. But you, you wouldn’t, sure you wouldn’t like the fact, but you would tough it out. You would go above and beyond to make sure that your children are safe and happy. You make a conscious effort to make our home a welcoming place for anyone steps in it no matter what is going in our life. You are always there when we need someone to talk to and you always will be. You keep your chin up even when the odds are against and I praise you for that. With all the stuff that happens in your life you would think that by now you would’ve given or something. Nope, you keep trucking on through and I think that is what make you not only a great mother, but a great person. I guess what I am trying to say is that I am thankful to have you in my life and I am even more thankful that I get to call you mom. So next time you are feeling like you aren’t doing the best for us or for yourself I want you to this and say to yourself, “I’m the best mother out there” because you really are . I’ll wrap this up because by know you probably have crocodile tears running down your face.
Love Your First Born Son
Happy Mother’s Day”