I had the most disturbing dream.
I woke with an overwhelming sadness. I’ve been there before not so long ago and to revisit it was a little hard to bear, even though I knew it wasn’t real once I opened my eyes. Our dreams are very real at least on the emotional level.
And even though I have been struggling with these emotions since 5 o’clock this morning, I just can’t seem to shake them.
What is even more disturbing is what the dream may have meant. And if interpretations are correct, I have not dealt with some emotions like I thought I have. This is a major blow to me. I have been trying hard to change the way I think; change how I think of myself specifically.
I can let this dream do one of two things: I can let it bother me and perhaps even get depressed about it. After all, I’ve put so much effort into building myself up and finding true love for myself only to find maybe I havent been doing such a good job? Or I can continue working on the change regardless.
For now Im going to work on the change, because I want to do the hard stuff.
I had the most disturbing dream.
I watched an interesting movie last night. It’s not an old film though the setting dates back to the early 1940’s. It is the story of Anne Frank. BBC produced the film in 2009. It was a great rendition of the book, A Diary of Anne Frank. I remember reading this book as a young girl in Junior High School. We read it in a play format during our class time. Don’t rightly remember the class subject, but we took a few weeks to read it. I got to play the part of Anne Frank. It made a tremendous impression on me, as I had never heard of her prior to the class.
The movie last night sure brought the character of Anne Frank to light in the most exciting way. She was so full of life; she lacked temperament but she certainly was smarter than most her age. She experienced every thing in her life with such enthusiasm. She was often stubborn and some what of a spoiled brat, but it didn’t shadow the good qualities about her. What is so sad is the fact that all eight people who hid in that house for two years were captured and killed, save one. They did not survive more than a year from the day of their capture.
When I read or see stories like this, I often wonder how I would react in those same situations. Would I be strong enough to survive? Would I sacrifice my life and well-being for another? Or would I turn animal like most to preserve my own life. One can never truly know until one is placed in those situations.
I have had fears that I lacked certain fortitude in perilous situations. I imagined Amanda (my daughter) and I standing in the street (back was Amanda was still little), and this big angry dog came running toward us and jumped on Amanda and began biting on her face. And all I could do was stand there. In my conscience day dream, I hated myself for just standing there, frozen at the sight before me, knowing that my daughters face was mangled beyond recognition. I questioned my ability to mother effectively. Do I chose my own well-being over hers? Was I frozen for fear? I believed I was a horrible mother. That vision was the manifestation of my lack of confidence in my own abilities, not only to be a good mother but a good person. Now, years later, I believe that I very much could beat that dog off my little girl. Youth possesses an element of insecurities; is my conclusion to this lack of action in my day mare . In real life, I think I very well could of fought off the dog, even as much as killing it. But, I didn’t know it then. I was afraid I was this terrible person.
So, to put myself in the shoes of another, during a time of great trial, would I be able to put others’ needs before my own, or would I do anything to survive, much like those did during that horrific period of persecution during World War II? Is it possible to subdue the beast that lives within each of us, or is it during the most desperate times, we turn to natural instincts and take from others? I think we all would like to think we can be the hero and always do the right thing. But, even those whom have been surrounded by the most honorable of men, failed to be the hero. To whom I speak of in particular; Peter, otherwise known as Simon, one of the twelve disciples.
Human nature is wild, relentless, selfish, and uncaring at times. And the only thing I have found to combat the nature of man (flesh), is the nature of spirit. Through the years I have felt and experienced the blessings and spiritual growth of being close to God. Through the power of prayer and submission, feeding the spirit and depriving the flesh gave me the power to overcome human instinct. But, then again, that is my personal experience and I believe not everyone feels or believes the same things.
But, one thing I learned very quickly is the fight between the flesh and the spirit is on-going; it never ends. So, I ask myself, where am I now? I feed the flesh more than the spirit. I know deep inside that I shouldn’t. But religion has left a horrible taste in my mouth, and submission to anyone or anything is a little difficult. Yes, trust is an issue. I feel let down; even though I know the wiles of man and his battle to do what is good; I’ve been used and abused almost to the point of no return. To even think about submitting myself to any other person, save my husband, automatically causes a bucking in my spirit; it’s like choosing to be placed in a cage; as if shackles would immediately appear on my hands and feet, zapping the life right out of me, and the joy of being alive. I have contemplated the notion of some kind of happy medium between the ultimate freedom I know and experience, and the bondage of servitude; however, I am not sure that one exists. I know I should freely give my life for the greater good of man, but the resentment is overwhelming. Is it my flesh and my selfishness that causes me to step away? or is it the way I should really go; serving men for God’s sake? I don’t even know. Some part of me believes that the hurt and pain is still too near for me to make those changes within myself, and that perhaps time will allow me to pick up the reins of serving God and man. Much like the men of old whom traveled weary paths before coming to the place of reckoning. I shall wait and see what is to come for my life.
It’s not as if I have totally abandoned the notion of lending a hand to others, or offering help to those who need it, whether it be monetary or otherwise, it is just not with reckless abandon with which I do them. I am cautious and choosy. Is it possible to be Godly without the dictation of the church? These are the questions that plague me. It’s the traditions and blind obedience the church requires that repulses me and repels me from all out servitude. If I am doing something solely out of duty, does it have no affect? In other words, is it doing anyone any good? But, build resentment? Am I not an adult to make my own decisions and choices? Am I to forever be required to act as a child and give up all freedoms of choice, to be saved? As adults, we have the intellect to make choices and decisions without the guide of another, unless for some strange reason we have stepped out of reality. Are men in leadership positions within the church incapable of giving up control of it’s people? I think so. It has been proven throughout history. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But, then, who knows how I will feel in the future…*
Time; a concept we understand fully, yet at the same time, we lose sight of it, and in the same turn it is our enemy. And I don’t think we realize until we get older what time really means. Most of us ignore the factor of time outside of our daily lives. Time is a clock, where we set appointments, arrive at work, leave work, set schedules, wedding dates, blah, blah, blah. But to sit down and contemplate the true meaning of time, it scares the hell out of most of us, so we choose not to engage in the thought. I do the opposite. I think about time and how little I have. But, I dare mention, I wish it away at the same time, knowing that I am wishing away time that I cannot retrieve.
We sure waste a lot of time doing a bunch of stuff that makes no difference. Cleaning, playing online games. Even my quest for further education is a big waste of time, but then, what isnt a waste of time? What should we be spending our time on? What in the world makes a difference? The lines are blurred for me. I know time is precious and yet I dont know what I should be spending it on. I know I should be spending it with my family, but what does that accomplish exactly?
How do I make a difference? I feel like I am annoying to most people so I dont feel I have the knowledge base to really affect other peoples lives. I think I know a lot, but in the grand scheme of things, world wide, I know very little.
I see the world as a place crowded with people, trying to survive, trying to find love, trying to find answers to all the little questions that come up. Trying to raise a family and make ends meet, trying to keep up with the Jones’; but, what do people really know? and what should we do with what we know? Most people are right in their own eyes, so they arent going to believe you anyway, ifyou tell them something profound, especially if you have no degree to back it up, and even if you do, they still dont believe you. What are we here for exactly? Are we running a race? And if we are, what are we racing to? the guy who acquires the biggest wallet? the most property? The most fans? Of how about the people who race to eat more? (as you look around and see all the fat people in the world, its quite astonishing.)
Nothing makes sense. Nothing.
Nothing lasts in the world, and nothing stays the same. What can we possibly do for ourselves and each other that can make a difference and what would it a make a difference to?
What is honor?
What is courage?
What is hope?
And what are we honoring?
what are we couragous for?
and what do we hope for? A new car, a better job?
We work, we converse, we play, and none of it means anything.
And dont ask me why I am even thinking this way, the words just started flowing. I for once am writing what I am thinking. Crazy, huh? Yeah, I dont understand myself either. lol!
The idea of moving in with Uncle Rhoda seemed ok, or so I thought. She looked like a guy but we never called her Uncle to her face. She was a rough looking woman who could beat the shit out of most men, and she slept with women.
I really don’t remember the day I moved in. It seems to be that way every time I transitioned to a new home. Maybe it is a mental block, or it wasn’t that significant to remember.
I was in eighth grade and here I was in a different school, in a different house and with different people… again. We lived quite a ways from the school, too far in fact for a school bus. Sometimes I could get a ride from the guy downstairs. He had a son my age so we would ride together. A lot of times I would go downstairs and knock on the door and no one would be home, so I would be stuck walking. It was a long way; about five miles. Sometimes I would take the city bus home. That was scary. There was always weird and dangerous people on the bus, but it cost money to ride the bus and money was scarce so I walked a lot of the time.
I had to share a room with Michelle, Aunt Rhoda’s five year old daughter, in this dinky little ghetto two bedroom apartment. Actually, it was hardly sharing a room at all. I got to sleep on the floor with a blanket and a pillow. I wouldn’t have shared the bed with her anyway, Michelle would always pee in it, in the middle of the night.
One night Michelle asked me if she could sleep next to me on the floor. I quickly responded, “no.”
She ran and told her mother I was being mean to her and wouldn’t let her sleep next to me.
Her mom came in and said, “Why did you tell Michelle she couldn’t sleep next to you?” Like she was offended I didn’t think her daughter was as precious as she thought she was.
I quickly and carefully explained, “I am afraid she will pee on me and my blanket.”
And as quickly as I responded, she turned to Michelle and said, “Michelle, you can sleep next to Lori tonight.”
I can’t tell you how furious I was. I knew what was going to happen and yet Auntie didn’t care. Sure enough, Michelle peed and it was all over my blanket, the floor, and me.
I was so mad, but there was nothing I could do, I was afraid of Aunt Rhoda. So, for many nights I didn’t even have a blanket.
I’m not sure but I think Michelle did it just to get at me. I know she was only five but I couldn’t stand her. She whined all the time and got everything her way and this was just the sort of thing she would do because for some reason she was vindictive that way.
We lived in the bad part of town. The apartment complex was filled with welfare moms and dads or low income families. There was a pool that sat in front of the complex that was filled with sand. It was the kitty liter box for the whole neighborhood. It reeked of cat shit and piss. There were short concrete walls around the pool and no one ventured inside. The complex sat along the 91 freeway. Behind the complex and to the north was a very large field full of weeds and trash. There was a wall between the field and the back of the building and many days I would sit back there on top of the wall as I found solace there.
We were all poor as I said, most were on dope or worse. And worse happened to be the exact apartment that I lived in. Aunt Rhoda was always high, whether on dope cocaine, crystal meth, or all the above.
I already had a smoking habit since the age of twelve but I never desired to doing any kind of drugs. That was soon to change. I’m sure I had only been there may a week or two before she started putting pressure on me to try some marijuana.
“Come on, it’s not bad for you, its fun.” She insisted.
I shook my head, “Nope.” I said with conviction.
“Chicken…” she laughed
“Bawk bawk bawk.” Laughing almost maniacally.
I felt shame. I had always felt shame. I was 13 and had already been through so much, and my family always had a way of making me feel stupid, and this was another one of those times.
I had to be cool, you know, act like I was smart like I knew what I was doing. So after several days of berating me, I gave in.
“OK, I will try it.” I balked.
You would have thought she won the lottery she was so giddy. She handed me the tight rolled joint.
“Draw it in like a cigarette but then just hold your breath and dont let it out until you can’t hold it anymore, then let it out.”
I put it in my mouth, took a drag and held it as long as I could. Meanwhile, my lungs started to burn like fire and I had to fight to keep from coughing it all out. When I let it out it, immediately I started to feel the effects. The room started to feel smaller, my head felt heavy, and I had to lie down. I sprawled out on the living room floor, limbs out, and closed my eyes. The world began to turn slowly at first and then faster and faster. I only took one hit and I was done.
To my shame, I did smoked it again, and then again. The effects changed the more I smoked it. The spinning stopped and all I felt was relaxed.
Before long my days consisted of getting up in the morning and smoking a joint, going to school and at lunch smoking another joint. When school was over I would be smoking another joint when I got home. Of course this was when Auntie was supplied with drugs. There were many times when there was nothing. Auntie did buy my cigarettes when we had the money. Other times we would walk to the gas station half a mile down the street and she would have me distract the convenient store clerk while she stole cigarettes from the counter. We had all kinds, but I hated the menthols and those were the ones I would get stuck smoking.
Meals consisted of generic cereal with powdered milk, spaghetti or Ramen Noodles for dinner. I didn’t eat much then. It seemed to be a pattern for me after my parents split up. I did get lunch provided which was the best meal of the day. Because I was on Welfare (which was the sole reason my Auntie wanted me to live with her in the first place) so I got free lunch.
My Aunt always had her “friends” over. Most of them were lovers (other women). I stayed to myself when these people would come around. Her friends were just as crazy and scary as she was. They sat around and smoked dope and did lines, then they would talk crazy to each other.
One “friend” was a former lover, a guy no doubt. I think she just used him for money which makes me laugh because he was a drunken dirt bag, but he had to have had money or dope because Auntie wouldn’t have let him come around. He showed up one night drunk off his ass. He came in the apartment and plopped himself on the couch, his speech was so slurred you couldn’t understand him, and the smell of alcohol from his pores permeated the entire apartment.
I immediately did not like this guy even more so than the rest of her friends. Maybe it was his constant drunken state that made me ill toward him.
When Aunt Rhoda’s friends would come over, I would just hole myself up in the bedroom, sit on the floor and listen to music cassette tapes. I had three of them; Cindy Lauper (She’s So Unusual), Rod Stuart (Camouflage), and Elvis Presley (Greatest Hits). I played these over and over again on a small tape recorder.
Well, this particular night this “friend”, I’ll call him Jim, decided to see what I was up to. He came into my room and tried to have a conversation with me. It was rather presumptuous on his part; I wanted nothing to do with him, plus I couldn’t tell what he was saying.
Now, I didn’t have much. No bed, no clothes to really speak of, like maybe two or three pairs of pants and a few shirts some socks and one pair of shoes. I also had a small suitcase purchased from my mom. I got to visit her sometimes and I would use that to carry my clothes in. The suitcase was canvas with cardboard guides in the corners to hold its shape. Well, Jim decided that he wanted to sit down and my suitcase happened to be sitting on the floor against the outside wall, so he sat down and when he did it crushed the suitcase causing him to fall straight to the floor. The good part was after he crushed the thing; he got up, struggling to get to his feet after falling flat on his ass, and wobbled out of the room. I was so upset that he destroyed my suitcase. I didn’t have much and it seemed what I did have was always getting ruined. I hated him and my Aunt for even letting this type of person around me.
Another time Jim showed up drunk (when wasn’t he?); Aunt Rhoda let him in and he started talking crazy to her, arguing about spending time with him or something.
My Aunt didn’t take kindly to being bitched at by anyone, she took his boots, which he had taken off shortly after arriving, opened the front door and threw them over the balcony. He went out the door to retrieve them, which took him a while because he could hardly walk, he was so intoxicated. Pretty soon we heard a knock on the door. She yelled through the door and told him to go home. He pounded on that door for an hour. Finally he got the hint and left. We watched through the living room window get on his motorcycle and leave. I don’t know how that man ever lived any longer than eight seconds being drunk and riding a bike.
The house stayed relatively clean because, yep, you guessed it, I was mandated to clean it every weekend. Yeah, me! Another reason Auntie wanted me there besides being a live in babysitter for her precious little one.
Auntie partied all night most times until she landed a new lover. Her name was Pepsi, or at least that is what everyone called her. Pepsi looked and dressed like a man, but her voice was deep and soft. I liked Pepsi and I think she was fond of me as well. She wouldn’t let Auntie kiss her in front of me. I still am not sure why she did that.
Pepsi would actually enquire about how I was doing in school. She encouraged me to get involved with school and offer to help with any homework.
One thing I remember vividly was she had a very pretty singing voice and when she would sing it would remind you that she was actually a woman. She lived with us for a few months and the activity in the house quieted down. I was thankful that we actually started living somewhat normal. Until…
I remember the day I came home from school and Pepsi wasn’t there. I asked Auntie where Pepsi was and she told me she had kicked her out.
An hour or so went by and Pepsi showed up asking to come in and get her stuff. This is when things got fun.
Pepsi was pleading and trying to be as civil as possible. Auntie on the other hand wanted to be the opposite. She would not let her in their bedroom or get passed her. The things Auntie said to her would make the hair stand up on your neck. The tone in her voice began to change and she sounded psychotic saying things like she was going to kill her and described the things she was going to do with her body. Next thing I know Michelle comes out and stands behind her mom, looking around her and smiling at Pepsi. It was like a demon laughing at the infliction of human suffering. All I could do was stand there and watch. At that moment Auntie pulled out a knife. I got scared. She told Pepsi she was going to cut her if she didn’t leave. Pepsi pleaded again and again that she would leave and never return if she could just grab her things. To no avail, the skirmish ended with Pepsi leaving with nothing.
This was not the first display of threat of violence. I had been victim of a gun drawing myself, but not from Auntie but from her drug dealer friend.
I got home from school one day and Auntie informed me that a friend of hers was going to stop by and that he was coming to pick up some money from her. Then she told me that I was going to lie to the man and tell him that I had some friends over (I didn’t have any friends) and that they stole money from an envelope that was sitting on the table. All that was supposedly left was $50.
Well, I did everything I was told don’t you know. If you could see my Auntie you would understand; she was a large woman, hefty and she looked like a serial killer in my opinion; rough and crazy. The bad part about this whole arrangement was Auntie told me she was going to hide in the closet when he showed up and to tell the man she wasn’t home.
He showed up and I opened the door. This guy was this wiry man with hardly any teeth and what he had was rotten. He looked like death on steroids. He asked about my Auntie and I told him she wasn’t home. Right away he didn’t believe me and pulled out a gun and demanded to know where she was. I told him about the money and he became furious, pushed his way passed me and started searching the apartment. Auntie came popping out of her closet in her bedroom and into the main room. The yelling match began. Honestly I think Auntie could have taken him if it weren’t for the gun.
She calmed him down and reiterated the story I told him about the money being stolen except 50 of it. She swore she would get him the rest as soon as she could. When he left, she laughed and said she would get someone to take care of him. And you know what? I believed her.
What is truth?
It is everything you think its not.
It’s an illusion of freedom.
It’s power, greed, and money.
The truth is cold and hard and fast.
It’s the reality of things that are painful and hard to bear.
The pursuit of truth drove me and as I approached it, it didn’t give me the freedom I thought it would. It didn’t provide peace, but more questions. The pursuit of truth and its ultimate knowledge is destitute of redemption to its elements; to the things surrounding it, that make it what it is.
Its strong, it’s unrelenting, it’s void of hope.
But there is another kind of truth, yet not in any particular circumstance or event, but in an ongoing thought or feeling. This truth is the truth of the ages, it’s timeless, ever foreboding, beyond generations or trends or fashions or faiths.
The truth is what you see in the morning, in the night, in your dreams. The truth of the ever present hope of good versus evil, and good prevails. It’s the victory of overcoming great odds and personal tragedies. Because, the truth is, the odds are against you. The truth is beating those odds.
The truth is who you are and what you believe in; the values you set and the standards you live by.
The truth is learning your humanity, learning yourself.
The truth is taking steps towards true happiness for you; within.
The truth is you.
This may sound odd, as one might assume, coming from a woman and a single mother who raised her child alone, that I would be in favor of child support. I am not. In fact, divorce has become more about money than the welfare and best interest of the child.
If we look back and consider the initial establishment of child support, we can understand the necessity of it during that time period.
According to www.child-support-laws-state-by-state.com, “This financial dependency theme recurred almost in every children support case decided by the courts of America during the nineteenth century, primarily because newly divorced American mothers in nineteenth-century were almost always forced to live in poverty.”
Child support was created for women because they didn’t work outside of the home. When divorce or separation from the father occurred, the mother was left with the financial burden of caring for children without the monetary means to do so. If a woman was lucky enough to find employment, she was paid pennies on the dollar for her labor that was not enough to support a family, much less place food on the table, forcing women to lean on family and other members of society for support.
But, if we look at the way things are today it is easy to see this isn’t the case anymore, for most Americans.
The statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate for men 20 years and older in June 2011 to be 9.1%, but for women 20 years and older showed less, with a rate of only 8.0%.
This clearly shows the need for child support is not like it was in its inception. This indicates to me a reform of the initial purpose of child support.
I have never received child support for my now grown daughter. I knew that I was far more capable of providing for my daughter than her father was. The only thing I wanted for my daughter was for her to have a relationship with her father.
As a girl, I came from a home where I did not know my mother and I lived only shortly amounts of time with my father. I did not have both parents in a way that was beneficial to my development. This is by far the more important thing and is grossly overlooked in the concern of parents who are getting a divorce.
Men who have regular visitation still have to provide for their child/children when they are in their custody. They have to provide a room and board, purchase clothing, shoes, toys,and other necessities just as if the child lives with them. When they pay child support on top of these expenses, they are supporting the child twice. I feel this is an issue not only for men, but for women as well who are not the custodial parent.
I believe if you do away with child support in the case of joint custody, neither parent should pay child support, and the non-custodial parent should only assist for medical, day care, and school expenses. The responsiblity of support of a child falls to both parents, period!
This will do a lot for the family court system:
1. The courts will find out who really wants to have full custody of the children because this alleviates the anticipation of getting free money once a month.
2. The only thing parents will have to fight about is decisions made on the welfare of the child/children, which is where the attention should be placed to begin with.
3. All monies given by the non-custodial parent will actually go the doctors, schools, and daycare facilities instead of the ex-wife/significant other. Doing away with tension and resentment by the non-custodial parent to “create a better life” for the ex.
I feel strongly about this issue and think that America needs to revise out-dated laws that no longer make any sense.