So, this is how I see it..

I am a mom.

I have two kids whom I adore and would jump in front of a hurtling asteroid to save.

Giving birth twice was absolutely the greatest actualization of my innermost dreams.

I can honestly say with complete certainty that my life is whole with these amazing souls choosing me for their mom.

That being said and understood…

I, also, clearly don’t think you have to have given birth to be a mom. In some ways, that can be simply the mechanics of delivery. Children can be delivered to their families in many, many blessed ways.

Let me extend that further to include that I don’t think you have to have children to be considered a mother or motherly.

We are a very small village in the immeasurable expanse of everything that is or ever has been. From where we view life, the village is vast, populated with abundant beings of light, color, mass and ideals. As a whole, our design is to continue being. In order to do that, it takes everyone fulfilling roles and responsibilities to each other and the greater family.

It is my belief that women are all of the same fabric generated from our earth and universe. We are women for more reasons than our uterus. We are women beyond nurturing and caring for our offspring. We are women in addition to the sum of two halves of a human union.

As women, we need some to bear our children, some to rear them and all of us to live lives of significance in order to propagate a species worthy of existence.

So, on this day which should be celebrated every day, I salute all women and hope today was a Happy, Happy Day for without all of us, our family is not whole.

Being a Mother
Being a Mother
Transcends life, love and children
Sisters all are we

Peace y’all…

Fine print: this post was not intended to exclude men. Men are also part of our earth’s fabric and a necessity to building our extensive family. However, that is a post for another day. Today was designated for women and the men will get their celebration in June…stay tuned for what I have to say about that! ;o)

Clearing Out Clutter

Okay – let’s start at the blog ending revelation which is I hold on to stuff –

and by stuff, I mean fabric I envisioned making quilts or curtains from, baby jars to decoupage into cool candle holders, letters from old boyfriends, scraps of paper with partial poems on them, grief, fat clothes, skinny clothes, curling irons and hot rollers from the eighties, ideas of how relationships should work, beliefs on where I should be in  my life, misconceptions on what I should weigh, fear of a punishing god or universe, t-shirts to start a tye-dye business, broken clocks, piggy banks, or vases I vow to fix,  fliers from a show I don’t perform in anymore, henna hair dye I haven’t ever used, pills and otc meds that are expired, emails, my tongue during times when I should actually speak up for myself, glasses from two or three prescriptions ago and various other items or beliefs that could fill a black hole –

out of my fear of being expendable. I don’t want to be tossed aside because I might be broken. Or left in a garbage heap because I am no longer in fashion. Or overlooked because I am not the cutest puppy in the bin. Or accidentally sold in a garage sale mish-mash box labeled junk because no one saw me there. Or even worse – intentionally given away because I was no longer loved or needed.

Yeah, I know – sucks to be me, huh? How do you think it must be for those that live with me? Or truly do love me?

Everyone has their own things that scare them and for some reason, mine is the oh-so-fun combo of fear of abandonment mixed with unworthiness to be loved topped off with a good old fashioned dollop of never-enough. Throw in a splash of survivor guilt and cannot quit until it’s perfect and you have quite the supersized unhappy meal deal from a rat invested hole in the wall that only serves entrees pressure cooked to diamond-like crispness.

Wait. Before you call Oprah to add me to one of her hoarder shows, I am actually a moderate case. I can still walk around my home and my car stays relatively empty of crap (on occasion). The unworthiness helps in this area because it is hard for me to believe it is okay to buy myself that used five dollar pair of pants big enough to hide my ass with the stuck zipper, therefore, I don’t acquire a lot of physical stuff to keep, but usually once I do – it will take years to get rid of it.

Which is where I am today.

Getting rid of it.

I have finally said “Fuck it! I am cramped and tired and need some space.” So, instead of getting rid of my family and friends, or changing my name to Toni Fredericks and moving to Kotzebue, Alaska to start completely over, I have been slowly, in tiny increments, clearing away some clutter from my life.

I have given away clothes I no longer wear because they don’t fit or that I plain didn’t like in the first place. I sold off all of my stacks of fabric that I never got around to making the most perfectly sentimental quit to keep me warm when everyone has left me. I got rid of discount handbags I never use anymore and decorative knick knacks I never displayed. I am tossing out what I think everyone else thinks I should weigh and am working towards my very own happy weight. I have chipped away at the granite around my punishing god and am molding it into a pliably unconditional love of the universe. I have purged emails clogging up my memory. If something upsets me or scares me, I try to vocalize it in the moment instead of holding on to it for ten years and then nearly getting divorced or losing someone I love.

I have a long way to go and many, many more things to purge. I am trying not to look at what I have left to expunge but rejoice in my new found free space. I have allowed myself not one, but two handbag purchases over $100. I bought some new pants that actually fit and flatter the junk in my trunk. I have conversations with the people I love instead of fights. I try to let my emotion naturally flow through me until it has abated without stuffing it deep down like an undercooked turkey. I continue to write, write and write some more about these truths and other revelations I may discover for well or ill because this is just who I am.

Most importantly, I am (hopefully) teaching myself and my children that I can love, be loved and let go – all at the same time.

Will the end result be a zen-garden style home with only a pallet on the floor to sleep and one organic cotton frock that keeps me both warm and cool? I don’t know but I am willing to slip-n-slide, make progress and fall backward and cut myself some slack to find out.

Yippe kay-aye

Letter to My Heart

Dear Heart of Mine,

As I begin this letter, I honestly wonder what I will say. I have attempted to make amends to you before and upon reflection wonder if they can really count as amends if I don’t change my behavior?

When you were a young heart, freshly beating inside this new body of mine, I am sure I loved you, protected you. Even without memory of those days, I can still feel your connection to my soul – our soul.

As we grew and our journey took many paths, some of my own making, some not. Through all of the winding roads, terrifying back alleys and sunlit streets, you kept up your end of our commitment without hesitation or skipping a beat.

I, however, have taken far too many risks with you, with us. Fortunately, the majority of those chances have turned out well and we are living a relatively happy, content existence today. It hasn’t always been that way and I fear there are still some danger zones I am not able to overcome that may end up harming you.

I’m sure you remember the number of failed relationships both in love and friendship. Today we know those were never meant to last anyway, yet at the time they were extremely painful when they did not need to be. We have the loves and friendship of our life now that make us the most joyous, most complete. It all seems like I should be totally comfortable in the skin of this body, with the air we breathe, or the songs we sing.

The thing is, I think I am getting signals that I am not, that something is missing and the most troubling aspect is that I am unclear as to whether these electrifying pulsations are coming from you wherein the truth lay, or from my brain which we all know can be a battlefield of confusion and treachery.

For example, I have this friend. Her name is Vivian. She has it in her brain that she is disappearing little by little each day, literally. She doesn’t drink or take drugs but she has convinced herself that she is not far from fading out of this universe into some other realm. I love her. She is my friend and I want to help her, but I don’t know what to do.

She has told me how fulfilling her career has become after years of searching and yet she doesn’t think anyone really notices her. She is madly in love with her husband and believes he is with her, but she never hears him say the words. I have been around her kids – they are totally awesome, loving and funny creatures and still Vivian thinks she is somehow totally screwing them up. She spends hours on end confiding in me how she longs for concrete evidence that she is doing a good job, has the love of her husband and that her children are all right despite her varying and sometimes quite explosive temperament.

The more I listen to her, the more confused I become. I begin to think that she is talking about my life and not hers. I constantly remind her that she need not seek love and validation outside of herself. She has that naturally from within and simply misplaced it temporarily. I have told her at least a gazillion times to talk to her own heart in order to find the truth of how much she is loved and will never simply disappear. I cannot seem to get through to her. She still doubts, still worries that one day pieces of her will start to disintegrate until there is nothing left.

She’ll have strong stretches of time where she is okay, where it really feels like she believes she is all right and nothing has left her. Then something small will happen, like a forgotten lunch or a misunderstood comment or a challenge with her kids, and it’s as if she and I have never, ever spoken! I know it’s selfish because these are Vivian’s problems, but it is so frustrating for me! I give her my time, your time and she repays me with depression and arguments and yelling? Why won’t she listen to me, to us? It makes me want to cut her out of my life completely, to not listen to her long drawn out protestations of insanity anymore.

And here, dear heart, is where I fear I am failing you. I don’t cut her off. I am incapable of not listening to her and getting mixed up about whatever she believes is wrong in her life. I want so very much to “fix” her and her thinking, I lose track of our life, our love.

And for this, I am truly sorry. I owe you more than that. I owe our life and loves more than that. With the marking of this day, this beautiful sunny day where all things are possible, I begin anew – again. I will protect you from the confusion that my brain brings and not allow Vivian’s invisibility complex – whether real or imagined – effect our connection.

Together, sweet heart, we will beat strong and in unison for our well-being, happiness and peace.

Love,

Your Body and Soul

(For more letters to hearts, visit http://www.blogher.com/)

Hot shame and cross blogging

In this new world of blogging and having blogging friends and commenting acquaintances, I, too, felt some flashes of hot shame while reading others comments.

One in particular caught me as I read a friends blog that referred to my blog and the comments posted on it.  It triggered that flash of hot flaming shame I know only too well and struggle daily to keep under wraps.

There buried in the numerous comments from her fans was a remark that flushed me with that same flash of red over my head and down to my toes as if the person screamed it in my face hoping to get me to move.

“..so carefully constructed it was clear the author was taking few risks…”

Had she read my blog entries?  Was she writing about me?  Why does it bother me?  Of course I edit and change and exaggerate to bring my warped sensibilities to the small world I call mine.  From there cascaded a shame attack and run of what I’d written through my head.

I’ll show them, I thought, I’ll just write – unedited for 15 minutes and see where it gets me.

And that is what I am doing right now.  Writing plain and simple from my head to my fingers to my keyboard without hitting the delete key or backstroke – unless I misspell hte wodr.  (hahaha)

I set a timer and promised myself to do this at least once – not go back and sensor myself.  However, in doing so, I find little to write about.  I want so much to take these plain words from my lips and make them unique and flowered like Texas bluebonnet hills beside busy highways.

It’s the writer’s greatest dream, isn’t it?  To achieve absolution from all of the soul searching and human angst with a few strokes of a pen or taps on a keyboard.

6 minutes left.

My brain works much faster than I a can possibly keep up with in reality.  I certainly hope that I can spill out what is inside into a jumbled mess on white paper and then go back like a jigsaw puzzle to make sense out of it, rearrange it, alter it, give it a make over, and make it more enjoyable for someone else to relate to in some fashion.

I find it hard to believe that anyone could actually like the way I write without this added layer of cut and paste.  Maybe that is my old insecurities rearing their not-too-attractive head inside my much too comfortable skin these days.  I still, after all these years, want people to like me.  Like what I do.  Like what I say.

3:45

The other comments referred to Buddha and struggle and joy being one in the same (my paraphrase – remember, I cannot go back and check or fix).  If this is true, me and Buddha are tight.  There are moments when the joy I feel is so intense that a small pain erupts in my chest.  My daughter’s eyes.  Her giant, brown eyes that seem to go on forever.  My son’s smile – the one he lets me see only by chance anymore because he is trying to be so grown up, so tough at nine.

These are joys and they pang my heart.  Can you imagine what I make of my actual struggles?

Only a minute to go now…

I cannot even perform this exercise without trying to do it “correctly” – constantly checking my time to see if I’ve “cheated.”  What the fuck is wrong with my brain that I won’t let this totally go?  Will it be gone when it’s my time in heaven?  What if I don’t believe there is a heaven or hell?

Uh-oh…time’s up…

Will have to leave the rest for another post.

I guess I don’t type as fast at I thought.

(And, yes, these last four lines were typed outside of my self-imposed 15 minute timer…;o)

Egocentricity

It has come to my attention that all of my posts have one major concern – Me.  I write about My feelings, My desires, My fears, My angst – pretty much, if it has to do with Me, I’ll write about it.  I’ve written about childhood humiliations, mid-life crises, relationship joys and woes, every kind of female “issue”, and parenthood challenges – all from behind the very specific Kathleen-focused pinwheel of topics.

Honestly, I did not set out to write a blog with an all-you-can-eat buffet of my emotional stew du jour.   I have some indication that I am a bit of a decent writer with a solid ability to express myself in ways that engage other people.  I intended to marry this expandable skill with the numerous social, economic, cultural and world-wide issues that face the human race, thereby bringing about a crisp commentary from one of the ordinary class of humans – middle-middle class working woman with a husband, two kids, a dog and a mortgage.

Instead, I have a series of blog posts filled with metaphorical anecdotes concerning my hormones, insecurities and day dreams.

Is there something wrong with this?

I must have decided there is not since I continue to write about these things that fill my ever shrinking cognizant capacity.

Clearly, even in this confessional opus, my number one concentration is My inability to write about someone other than Me!

However, before I toss my garbley goulash into the pig trough and start writing about other subjects where I have some great authority like the best ways to get cinnamon gum out of a washing machine, or how to collect old baby food jars until they overflow into the outdoor shed, or remain at a job you don’t like for nearly a decade without literally jumping out the window – I should like to state that I don’t believe any one of us can truly write about anything other than our own experience.

Even if I were to write about the life and times of Mickey Mouse, it would be colored with my intense personal impression of said rat based upon everything that has occurred in my life up to this point.  Suppose Mr. Mouse and I differ in opinion on how to bring about peace without using violence?  Would it then be possible to write objectively about Mr. Mouse’s career in which he engaged his country in not one, but two extended wars?

Maybe a better human than me could, but I am pretty sure I have given up trying to be objective.  (Especially where Mickey is concerned – don’t even get me started on a grown mouse who has a clubhouse full of perky sidekicks who only know how to sing his praises.)

So, I’ve decided – if anyone is 1) actually reading this and 2) in a place of even remotely caring about it – that I am going to continue to write about what I am faced with each moment on a cellular level – Me.

After all, stew is a meal in itself!

Not sure where to go today

Inside my brain, the hamster is working its wheel.  There’s nothing dramatic in the cage currently – it is simply full and spinning.  Every effort I make to stop and take note of some part of it reveals another stash of pellets for me to consider.

Maybe a hamster isn’t the best analogy.  For one, I don’t feel very rodent-like.  And two, it’s much too cliche for my attempt at writing a new angle blog.

Let’s start over.

Inside my skull, the beta swims quick loops around its small tank.  The same pebbles and plastic greenery are still there with each passing turn.  The water fills my lungs and yet I need to surface for air and food which often gets lost in the constant circling.

Ugh.  Nope – fish out of water also too over done.

Lion at the zoo in a too small habitat?  Caged bird that is afraid it cannot sing?  Sisyphus on a treadmill of stones?  Random sock lost in the dryer that keeps spinning on high heat?  Durang’s George dressed as Mother Courage thrust onstage in what appears to be Charlie’s Angels but with Jerry Matthers as the elusive Harvey the rabbit?  Frog in a blender on pulse?  Tiny worker ant confined to its own mound of dirt pining for the greater universe?

Clearly, I could go on and on trying to describe what it feels like to be me in my life without ever actually writing about the actualities of my existence.  And, currently, all of the comparisons seem to point to me feeling a bit too routine, too ordinary – too normal.  While at the same time, almost too timid to express these longings for fear of losing the infinite blessings that fill my cage/tank/habitat/universe.

So, I write it down.  Or, I think about writing it down but trip on my way to the computer trying to make the words come out perfectly the first time.  Or, I deem the laundry more important.  Or, the checkbook balancing act.  Or, internet surfing under the guise of trying to find an interesting subject to kick start my next blog.

Screw it.

Today the life of Kathleen involves the remaining chores to get the house in order before going back to work and school on Monday, getting our son over to/back from a friend’s house to play for a while, making sure the other child is entertained as she gets jealous when he gets to out, grocery shopping, outdoor Christmas lights down and put away, cleaning my home desk area, clipping the dog’s nails, watching some football without the Cowboys, craig’s listing two ellipticals we no longer want, and checking to make sure my kids don’t have lice after spending a week with their cousin who did.

See?  I sound like I’m whining when I should be grateful to have these two beautiful children, or a marriage and relationship that has lasted nearly eighteen years, or a home to clean that’ s not in foreclosure, or money to buy groceries.  I AM GRATEFUL – every day of my life, I am grateful.

I am also human.  A human woman who is now 41 who life far exceeds any dreams I could have ever had as a child as to what family meant or even what it meant to grow up.

So, I know the universe loves and accepts me when the contented routines of each day get paused as I walk through a day-dream of adventure in my own Kath-Bourne Identity traveling the globe fighting terrorism in search of my true past self under the guise of being a worldwide respected actor onstage in her own works sharing an ethereal connection with Sting carrying my Nobel Poetry and Peace prize in the back pocket of my size six jeans.