Rage against the dying of the light…

banksy-follow-your-dreams-cancelled

First off….I love social movements, social justice and culture jamming. So for you my MR audience I am sharing my favorite version of all three of these and a poem that represents the feelings this graffiti makes me feel.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

Thank you to the boy who broke my heart

In the fall of my junior year, I remember waking up one morning and my step mom handing me a trash bag and telling me I had been left a delightful gift I would get to clean up in my front yard. I walked out to a yard full of fluffy, drippy, wet toilet paper. I had been toilet papered which back in the day meant that you had an admirer. I smiled the whole time I cleaned up that toilet paper knowing there was someone on the other end of that prank that thought of me.

I made my way back in and the phone rang and I remember running to it hoping it was my friend, so I could tell her my good news. As I picked up the receiver the person on the other end proclaimed to be from our local radio station and told me I won a contest for the hottest legs in Indiana. I literally felt like I had won the lottery with all of this attention suddenly.

img_0797I was a gangling 16 year old junior who was obsessed with softball. I had barely dated and if I did it was off and on. A date once with a super cute guy who ended up drooling the whole night because of a new retainer. Or there was the boy who talked up an amazing date he was gonna take me on that ended up bringing to his church to convert me to a new religion. And yes let’s not forget the guy who asked me to prom when I was a sophomore, only to find out no junior in his actual class would go with him. So, I pushed the caller for info on who they were because I knew at this point I didn’t win a contest and it was likely the toilet paper bandit. I asked, “Where you the one who toilet papered my house?” The phone slammed down.

I went back to my room and sat on my bed looking out of the window. I felt happy with this attention and suddenly after I had been laying there awhile I hear this loud truck rev by outside my window cruising down my cul-de-sac. I peek out and I see an red, old, almost rusted out Ford truck. I see him driving it, the him who two years later would be a part of one of my biggest lessons on love…loving yourself. But I knew who it was and that truck ended up being the center of just about every memory I had for the next two years.

The other day as I was driving through town I spotted what appeared to be the exact same truck parked at an angle in front of a building. The same way that boy always parked his truck, so no one would scratch it (as if you would actually notice). He loved that truck…he loved it almost as much as he loved me. I went on my first real date in that truck, had my first real kiss in that truck. I remember hopping into that truck thousands of times and sliding all the way over and holding on tight like our tiny world could easily collapse around us and eventually it did.

The first fight and the many that followed were in that truck where we fought about dumb things like did I stare at another boy too long and or should he join the military and what that meant for us. There was the one time he packed up a blanket and a picnic basket and took me to field to have a picnic under the stars, or the time he pulled his truck into his garage and turned the old static radio up with the loudest country music I had ever heard and we danced for hours. Our date to the drive in theater to watch the Lion King while we laid in the bed of the of truck and listened to the drag cars at IRP in Speedway. Something that only those from Speedway would understand. The loud screeching tires set against the backdrop of the stuck in the 50’s drive in. We dreamed that night of our future and made plans. The clueless plans of two teenagers in love with the idea of love and not at all realizing the mistakes they were making.

I remember the feeling of having one person being your whole world, so much I didn’t really see that I needed my own dreams. I had not one dream except for him. My dream was to always be that girl sliding in next to him in that rusty old truck. He couldn’t see me as anything more and neither could I.

Reality struck as adulthood came bearing down on us. His path visibly pulling from my own, but I foolishly followed that path because that is what young in love teenagers do. I liked hearing that old red truck rev up outside my bedroom window and knowing he was out there waiting on me or the doughnuts we would do in my cul-de-sac when there were snow covered roads. The good times were good, but the bad times were plentiful.

We loved hard, but we fought even harder in what I can only describe as my inner true self fighting to come out and be who I was really meant to be. Something inside of me screaming to go another direction. I figured out I was 18 and somehow managed to let two years of my life get taken over by a boy who had a dream that didn’t really include me.

1-2mThe actual moment we both fought was one we kept putting off, the reality that our dreams took us two very different places and what eventually happened was an ugly goodbye and a breakup I never thought I would recover from. But I did and that broken heart taught me so much about love and life and myself. What I did and didn’t want from a partner in life and truthfully it prepared me for my one true love. A love grounded on more than teenage whimsy in an old red and rusty Ford truck.

Thankfully, that love is one 19 years in the making with more whimsy, romance and love of one another and self than anything I could have ever imagined backed then. I suppose that is why we have teenage relationships and first loves. To learn who we are and who we are meant to be. Sure middle of the night puke sessions with your kids, grief and loss, paying bills, brain surgery and just living life isn’t all that romantic. But inside all of that mundane I became who I was meant to be and so did my guy. Ultimately, that heartbreak lead me to someone who loves me in spite of and because of who I truly am and in my experience in this life that is so rare and hard to find.

Now my love doesn’t drive a rusty old beat up truck and come screeching outside my bedroom window.  But he climbs into bed with me every night and gets up every morning ready to face the day with me again. We make that choice every single day. Sometimes life is unbearably hard and cruel, but somehow we manage it trials together. Even better we laugh along the way. So thank you to my first love for letting me go, so I could experience true love. First the true love of myself and then loving myself enough to love someone else. In fact, that love is enough for four other someone elses and for that I am grateful.

Love wins, you just have to let it. Even the love of the self. <3, MR 

What is wrong with the mish mash of life?

Nothing I say. – MR 

So here it goes.

1-2a

A funny story here with my newspaper graduates from last year. They begged and begged for a doughnut machine. I finally obliged. Sadly, we did not use it. I think it seemed like too much work for all of us. SIDENOTE: My family had these in our mouth start to finish in 5 minutes. Not so hard I guess.

1-2b

On New Year’s Eve we didn’t just make doughnuts, but we taught them about cheap plastic champagne glasses filled to the brim with sherbert ice cream and punch. They are now in love.

1-2c

If you are wondering if I am blonder….Funny Story! My hair dresser had my touch ups all set up and I screwed them up by touching and trying to fix which meant she had to add more blonde to my face. Whoopsy. Oh well!

1-2d

I have no shame. It was so good.

1-2e

The one where we all really love each other, but we are sick of each other and the store is 1000 degrees so mom is going off, # 3 is whining and they are bargaining with one another. It was frustrating, but I love it.

1-2f

Cause that smile. Cause of their smiles. I got over it. I may have complained, but I moved on.

1-2g

Can other teachers who are so darn tired of Harambe raise their hands? Thankfully, my girls did not do this. But someone’s kids did this. My poor children can’t flip a bottle, saying the word “goals” or talk about anything Harambe without me making a snide remark. Whoops…Sorry! (Not really).

1-2h

Today I decided to let # 1 drive home from the big city. Something she has only done once and that was with her driver’s ed instructor. I was nervous and needed a small caffeine rush. I only had to grab the wheel once and scream twice. She only cried three times. But we made it home safe and yes she did amazing. She is just so hard on herself.

1-2i

See she is only a little nervous. Only a little especially at 70mph (gulp).

1-2n

And yes I was kinda irritated that this was my Christmas present from my guy. He was so proud of himself proclaiming, “It will make your life so much easier…” days before it was set to arrive. When it got here I called him a jerk and then I tried it out. Okay, I admit it. I guess he does know me. It can tell me at any given moment where my phone is or where my keys are. Now if I can’t find either we are in trouble, but I do think there is web based tracking. Let’s hope cause the likelihood that it will happen is high. He does know me.

Life is about these moments…more so than the ones that are pretty, scripted and filtered.

Enjoy life cause that is love winning.

MR

Stop this New Year New You Business.

I am definitely not starting off this year in search of a new me. In fact, I think my real goal is to continue to be okayish with the skin I am in. But do I have goals and things I want for the year…Yes!

2017

Professionally

  • To continue to push myself and feel challenged as an educator
  • To see my students as humans and be in appreciation of our time together
  • Learn from my colleagues
  • Stop Breath and Enjoy the Moments (The pressure is real but I gotta say NO!)
  • Less power to the frustrating narrative of educators and more power to myself in how I deal with the narrative….Just because they say it, doesn’t mean it is true.

Emotionally

  • More REAL connections to my guy and my girls
  • Continuing saying what is on my heart even if/when it is hard
  • Don’t get lost in my emotions and let them rule everything else (Damn I am so bad at this!)
  • Continue to find a way to be okay with what you see acknowledge mistakes and MOVE THE HECK ON!

Physically 

  • Keep chugging away at becoming healthy in all ways
  • Run more
  • Lift more
  • Try a new exercise (Spinning or dance?)
  • Have my surgery and move on…don’t get caught up in what culture says it means
  • Continue clean eating
  • Continue use of essential oils and use them even more

Writing

  • Channel MR way more…She is kinda awesome!

_______________________

Best of the new year to all of you dear readers. Many blessings upon you and yours. -MR

Lifting Heavy! 

Nothing fits better after “lifting heavy” except an exclamation mark. So exclamation it is. 

“It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.” – Henry Rollins

Of course I worked out on the first day of the new year. I also wore my KISS shirt for my guy. Today I woke up reminded myself why I do this. For my Eich Party of Five. I got up put my pony tail in and did it. 

Today’s workout was Day 15 of the Hammer Chisel and it was all about lifting heavy and lifting heavy I did! Beast asked if I was a hammer or a nail and I answered Hammer, not by my mouth but by my actions. 

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In effort to write more and observe less I am putting myself on a Facebook diet. Let’s just say for something I don’t really like all that must it is such a time suck. I will be posting to my fitness page only. 

Why hello…{A year in review}

My blog writing has sporadic at best. I am focusing my writing time on working on my book which sounds way more than productive than  I actually have been. My writing time since break began has been used to decompress. This fall was tough. I really struggled and was angry. I was angry for various reasons, but at some point I just held out and it got softer. Anger was just the name of my game.

But that was just it….It knocked me off my game. A game that I think I am just recovering. I have gained some weight back. I am not going to lie. Honestly, most of it has been gained since Thanksgiving because I needed the mental break from where I was at with my Less of Me phase. Somewhere less of me became about the way I looked and less about the way I felt. I lost focus and withheld too much. If I had to guess that was probably about June/July. Then I became angry because I felt like the weight loss wasn’t fair. But this post isn’t about that.

Let’s go back to January of this year and see where I was at?

JANUARY 2016

My first fitaversary!  Is it sad that I don’t see myself like that anymore? I need to. But I am IMG_4850 (1)doing the program I was doing then and hoping the weight lifting will curve me out in the right places. I really only weigh a few more pounds now than I did then.

FEBRUARY 2016

To give a voice to the voiceless and be the ear they so desperately need. But I get lost in my own self, my own agenda. I wish  was better, but alas I am not. So I sit here and I think about it and what I can change for next time.

MARCH 2016

I try to not share too much information about my post tubal ligation syndrome. Something I have been battling since the moment I had the original surgery. In March, I had surgery to try and clean up the mess that was left from my tubal ligation. It worked till July. Things have been a mess since then. On December 22nd I signed consent papers for surgery this June to fix all of this finally once and for all. I signed it then to insure if I want it done before June that I can. But the goal is June because of the 6-8 weeks of recovery that would require me to not work.

That means I have 6 months to get to the weight I want and mentally, physically prepared to have this surgery and be done with this nightmare of a syndrome I have been left with. I am grateful for my supportive husband and my doctor who has had my back the whole time and always took me seriously. Thankfully, most of the side effects are things you can live with. They just make things not the way you want them.

APRIL 2016

All I know is I got to get back to this MR —> I don’t want to be your inspiration

MAY 2016

God, I love this man! I don’t love him for the romance of our relationship. I love him for IMG_0676the hardships that we endure. I love him because I know he is there for me and he can always make me laugh. I am one lucky lady.

Same Old Love Song (Grateful)..

JUNE 2016

We went on our 2nd family vacation to the beach! It was so fun. We are currently planning # 3.

JULY 2016

A post about what I was put here on this earth to do. Be a momma to my sweet baby girls.

August 2016

The one where I proclaimed we should live our lives as an act of criticism.

September 2016

Public schools and teachers are NOT the problem. The narrative is and hell ya I am defensive.

OCTOBER 2016

We have to stop saying, “It will be okay” because the reality is sometimes it is NOT.

IMG_1504NOVEMBER 2016

I still believe…..“We have to do better.” 

DECEMBER 2016

Our love story is my favorite.

This year wasn’t my favorite and it wasn’t my worst. It was a year of maintaining. It was a year of status quo. I don’t really do status quo. I hate to feel stalled out. I am working on that though. I am stalled out on more than one front. But my life is beautiful. This life is beautiful. My girls are my life. My guy is my life. I love this life.

Happy New Year Dear Readers, MR

Will you ladies please stop it?

I am noticing a new trend with this generation, or if it did exist in my generation I didn’t participate. What in the world is with beating the world to the punch of beating ourselves down? Calling each other names like fat, ugly or worse…TRASH and the people calling one another that that are friends.

Can I just say say No!? No!? No!? Never will I accept a culture that already beats women up2754a42835a6348a1e288881db240e05 enough to have people who are supposed to support one another call one another names. It is happening everywhere. I see it on instagram, I see it in my classroom and I see it in my home.

I wouldn’t let a hater call me that, so why in the world would I let a “friend” call me that. So ladies can I ask a favor? Can you please lift one another up? It is NOT funny, it is NOT cute and it is NOT nice. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am forty and my own brain is cruel enough to myself before the world even takes its shots at me. Be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the fittest women, the smartest and best teacher. Everything wants perfection from me.

So back to being forty….I am just now getting to the point where I have to shut the rest of that world out. It took me this long to realize perfection for me looks a lot different than what social media, media and the world shows me. So why would I call the people who I choose to surround myself with horrible names and say mean things about them? Or worst yet why would I consent to feeling like that about myself?

We work too hard to recover from that type of stuff. I feel like the trend is an anticipatory one that allows that to happen in a “funny” spirit before it happens in a mean one. Well I say No. No. No. Tell yourself, tell your girlfriends they are beautiful human beings with beautiful souls, eyes, faces and any other thing you can come up with. We need more of that.

Don’t espouse that you condemn hate and then perpetuate hate toward yourself or those you care about because it is funny. Let love win this one. Love needs to win this one. It just has too.

Trigeminal Neuralgia – 3 years later 

Sometimes I get asked about the personal stories I share on my blog and there are a couple of reasons I do this. The first is I am a writer. I was born a writer and will always be a writer. Writing is woven into my heart and soul like my children are. An essence of my being that exists inside, outside and because of me. 

But when I share personal stories about my marriage it is because I have a story to tell. One that probably doesn’t look all that different than someone else’s, but maybe they haven’t uttered it. Or maybe they don’t even know if that is their story until they read mine. But more than anything I share it for me. I grew up thinking love looked a certain way and I tried so hard to push and shove and mold it into that vision and it never worked. I want my baby girls to know what true love looks like not the packaged version the media sells. 

Three years ago I found out my husband had not been telling me the whole truth. I sat in an emergency room with him as he hadn’t eaten for three days, barely had spoke and begged for the pain to end. He had been battling what I believed to be TMJ for four or so years and had in the previous week been to see a neurologist who placed him on loads of meds. But out of no relief and desperation I put him in a car and drove him to an emergency room in one of the worst snow storms our area had seen. 

I had to do all of the talking for him because he couldn’t speak. They immediately hooked him up to an IV drip of pain meds and I explained his years of treatment for TMJ. They all looked baffled and remarked never had they seen TMJ cause this amount of pain. After a few hours and no relief he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and whispered trigeminal Neuralgia and uttered I am sorry. He also gave into all the meds being pumped into his body and fell asleep, but not with out the wincing pains cause every few minutes he would move and scrunch up. The look of which still tears at my heart and informs me it is a bad TN day. Eventually the doctors came in after talking with his new neurologist and gave me the diagnosis.

Trigeminal Neuralgia and I began to hear what I have heard 100 times over, “There isn’t much we can do for that.” We were sent home with meds that didn’t work and the sad pity eyes that we have grown accustomed to. For the next 8 hours I pondered why he hadn’t told me, but a Dr. Google search told me. My guy has always tried to make life easier for me. He is my number one protector and he tried to protect me from this. He couldn’t. 

A restless night of no sleep as I watched the man I love and made a life with look weak, scared and in such pain that he couldn’t function in his life. The kind of pain that makes you retreat into your own mind to cope. The moment that was likely most devastating for me was what I woke up to when I accidentally fell asleep. What I can and will say is I immediately called his neurologist on his emergency line and demanded he be admitted into the hospital and an hour later he was admitted. 

He spent three days there that ended with, “He is going to have to find a way to live with this pain.” This is after three days of a morphine drip he controlled, and 6 different types of meds to control his TN and his pain. He was eating hospital protein shakes and had lost 15 pounds. When the doctor made that statement I didn’t even wait for him to leave. I excused myself and I called our family physician and demanded they get us into a more specialized neurologist immediately. I took him home and a week and a half later we were in that appointment which the doctor demanded a phone to call a specialist in Indy right in front of us  and then two days later we were in Indianapolis with one of the top TN doctors. And a week later his microvascular decompression surgery. 

My guy has atypical trigeminal neuralgia which means nothing works 100% usually. Things can make it manageable, but those things are different for every patient and sometimes they change once you figure them out.  He went into surgically induced remission for about 4 months after the surgery. He remained off his meds for about 6 months. He typically has seasonal remission during warmer months, but did have some flare ups during this spring and summer. He takes three meds daily for it and every winter his pain gets increasingly worse. 

This life isn’t always easy, but it is our life and dare I say our normal now. The surgery, the side effects and the trauma have fundamentally changed who he is. That takes a constant readjustment for my heart and brain. That is hard, but my God do I love this man. He is the strongest most steady thing I have ever had in my life and I love this life we have made. I know God had a plan for us and this. I got to see what I needed from a human in my life because of this and I also fell in love and got to take care of him in a way I never thought I had the ability to do. I thought I was strong before, but I know my heart has super human strength with the capability to love beyond self. 

So am I saying I am glad for TN…no not really…but I am grateful for my path and my love. 

Never anticipated the pain.

Pain is a funny thing. You don’t really think about how it works till you are in it. I wrote so much during his diagnosis and treatment of TN, but so much of what I wrote I have forgotten. I imagine it is like when you have a baby or go through something traumatic and your brain has to filter it all out to live with it. If we held onto that pain it is quite likely we could die.

The pain I feel as I write is an emotional pain. The pain of seeing my husband like this and the joy and pain of seeing myself cope and manage. Sometimes I watch my movements and responses to those moments and I beam with pride and then other times I just want to kick myself in the teeth.

Nothing has made me a more stronger person than loving my husband “in sickness and in health” because I did and have done just that the way I was meant to in marriage. But the part that that statement leaves out is what that kind of love does to you and for you. It ravages you and inside and out exposing along its way your insides making you weak and vulnerable. For people like me who struggle being seen as weak and vulnerable that is probably one of my life’s most difficult tasks.

If ever my husband doubted or needed proof of my life; it would be my holding true to that in sickness and health line that has held our bond together making it stronger than ever.IMG_0535

         I held his hand. They asked more about his appointment with the new neurologist. Kyle tried to talk to us, but couldn’t get it out. But finally he uttered the words, trigeminal neuralgia, and collapsed from the pain of saying the words. It was the first time I had ever heard those words and by the looks of the physicians and nurses in the room it was their first, too. At this point they said there just wasn’t much they could do and prescribed him strong pain meds, steroids and told us to contact his neurologist the following day and prepared discharge papers. My world was shook because for the last four years I had thought my husband has struggled with TMJ and now we are looking at something completely different.

I did the last thing I should do as I waited for the check out papers in that hospital room and with my husband’s hand in my mine. I googled it on my phone. What I read scared the shit out of me and he knew it would because even though he couldn’t talk he sat there and cried and whispered quietly, “I am sorry.” I did what I have done 100x since then and since TN has entered our life. I pulled myself up, dusted myself off and told him, “It is going to be okay. It has too.” I was strong for the both of us. And the drive home from the hospital was quiet one.

We made it home around 2:30am or so and we both crawled into bed. He was so drugged up I was sure if anything he would get some rest. I was also positive I wouldn’t. I lay in bed with him and I watched as shock after shock came. I didn’t really know they were shocks at the time. All I knew is that every couple of minutes he would twitch and stretch his body and face. A twitch and stretch that would come to instill feelings of fear in me that last still today. He tossed and turned. I woke up him up to take more meds every four hours for fear of not doing so would mean more pain than he was already in which is laughable now given that no amount of standard pain med can help trigeminal neuralgia sufferers.

I woke up the next morning to see my sweet husband leaning over the counter in a defeated stance with a pill bottle in front of him. What I saw in that moment was like the night before. A rare moment of weakness where the moment demands I take care of him because he always takes care of me. I came behind him and wrapped my arms around him and as I did this I saw his tears splash on to the counter and he said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” He was broken. His will and spirit were absolutely shattered. He turned around and crumbled into my arms. I said, “You can do this. We will do this together.”

Love Story.

            As I leaned against the counter he snuck in behind me. His arm twisted around my middle gurgling out a non-verbal I caught you. This was our new normal cloaked in my hiding from calories and him being the dutiful protector by annihilating half of that doughnut for me. A doughnut that I have spent the last two years protesting. I tell him over and over, “Don’t buy one of those bear claws,” and every single time he comes back with one of them. And yea I find it annoying, but then I remember the man I married. The one who has a quiet rumble of love. The kind that I don’t hear often, but I see.

This every weekend doughnut game is one we will keep playing. He buys them because he knows I love them. He also helps me eat them because he knows how much I cannot say no to them or him. I will keep protesting the doughnut and the sweetness with which he buys them. But more than anything I enjoy his arms wrapped around me as we share in a something as simple as a bear claw from our local bakery because that is our love.

IMG_1662I am telling our story. A unique prospective. A unique love story. A messy meaningful glimpse into my love and my life. My beginning, my middle and my end being placed out for the world to see. And more than anything my pain. It is real and it cuts and it moves and that is why this story needs told.

Love doesn’t look like what Disney or sitcoms show us. It looks like us. It looks like a hard life where moments of happiness carry you through to the next. Going through it all again has been both fun and hard. I know in order to do my story justice and to have any hope at it being a story for more than my eyes I have to be real and be honest.

But in my experience real and honest are the hardest words to type because they can sheer you again over and over. The images and the feelings, but our story needs told. Love is worth it. Love will always be worth it.