Asking for help

Dear readers, I wish I could say I am back and fully functional but sadly that is not the case at all. It seems that my recovery will indeed be a process that needs the one thing I often don’t have enough of and that would be time. No worries I will one day be back and in full effect talking much shit as I usually do but while I have many thoughts swirling around in my head (AZ immigration situation, homeschooling and the list goes on), running to the computer to write them out is easier said than done.

Instead I am taking a break from my much-needed rest to share a lesson that I have learned and am continuing to learn, sometimes you have to ask for help. It’s funny because as a member of the helping professions, we are often quick to get help for others, in fact we demand it at times. Yet in our personal lives asking for help is often hard to do.

To be very honest life has been pretty chaotic in my house, the Spousal Unit deserves a gold medal or something for juggling a challenging week of work and remember he is self-employed, so if he fucks up a clients work, the repercussions are severe. We learned that lesson years ago when the girl child was born and he had to take care of me and again juggle work, it wasn’t long after when one of his clients pulled their work from him resulting in a huge loss of income that we had to deal with. People often think being self-employed sounds romantic but it can leave you financially vulnerable since if  you find yourself without any work, you lack access to things in the safety net like unemployment benefits. So while its been great to hear friends who are not local telling me to take it easy while recovering the fact is I have not been able to focus a hundred percent on recovery as much as I would like since the Spousal Unit has to work and the kidlet was home all week and he took up 90% of childcare duties on the one week generally that I would have taken a greater share had I not been recovering.

Last night I saw the weary look on his face as he struggled with the fact that I had taken the girl child out for a couple of hours and later we went grocery shopping. He was looking at a serious deadline and I knew he needed to focus 100% and I knew the girl child had been getting increasingly antsy as she realized Mama was still not well, so last night I did something I never thought of which in hindsight I should have done before my surgery. I called in the calvary, that would be I contacted our church that we have been members of now for a while. It’s a fairly large church and while we don’t know a lot of folks in church, many are familiar with me because of my job.

There are some similarities that church folks share regardless of race, class…you get the gist. When a call goes out that a church member needs some prayer due to illness and some help, in most cases the church is there for you. As I type this, I have been informed by the good ladies of the church that dinner for tonight will be dropped off, childcare is coming to assist with the girl child in the form of playdates and they are working on a plan to assist for as long as needed. As I told my church contact who is the same age as me and a member of the ministry team, this was hard to accept but I knew I needed it. She told me she understood all too well because she recently had some health issues and also being the mother of small kids, she too had learned sometimes you have to be on the receiving end at times.

I have tears in my eyes as a I write this because really asking for help is just that difficult for me yet I share this story because among my readers there might be someone who needs to hear this message. It’s not weak to ask for help, people often don’t know what we need until we tell them, so don’t be afraid to let folks know.

As for me, I am going to hobble back to the couch soon and get my nose back into this mystery novel I am reading. Have a good weekend.

Making Mistakes

Today was not a scheduled posting day since I am getting ready for hernia repair surgery in the morning. The thought of this surgery along with the idea of being put under general anesthesia is so not appealing that if I had a choice I would rather walk bare foot on hot coals. However I don’t have a choice and unless I wimp out at the last minute I will be getting my abdomen ripped open and repaired. So with that sort of thing on my mind you can see where writing a post would not be a top priority.

However I took part in a discussion today that while I had no energy to get into a verbal sparring match with this person, made me realize I needed to write to do some venting. Long story short the conversation was about young folks who make poor choices and end up dropping out of school but in Maine there is a push to get such folks enrolled in GED programs. Which might not be a bad thing…anyway the person I was conversing with made a very throw away comment that GED‘s are horrible and that kids who choose such a path are relegated to a shitty life.

Um….I don’t think my life is so horrible. For years I out-and-out lied about my early years because of the shame that generally comes from telling someone you are a high school dropout. Yet in the past few years I have started to realize that telling my story especially with youngsters on the edge is a good thing, its one of the reasons I do the work I do. See, not only did I not graduate from high school; I actually never got a GED. I know you are wondering, but didn’t you go to college and later graduate school? Yes, I did. I have no idea if a kid can even do this anymore but a year after dropping out of high school, I went to a community college and before enrolling I took what used to be called the ability to benefit test. It’s exactly what it sounds like, you get a passing score on this test and are deemed to have the ability to benefit from taking college courses and voila you are in school. I took classes at the community college and eventually transferred into a 4 year college and later went on to earn my bachelor’s degree. By the time I applied to graduate school, no on was asking whether or not I had graduated from high school.

I was not only a high school dropout but having a kid at 19 actually means I was a teenage Mom to boot. Statistically, it means I should have 5-6 kids, live in government subsidized housing and if I am lucky have a job as the night clerk at Wal-Mart. Obviously none of those things are applicable to my life.

Yet the point of this is not to say look at me, but to actually say that mistakes including the big ones do not define us. There is more than one pathway to success and hell, how are we even defining success? For most folks success might include a big house, nice car, important job, vacations and fancy toys. Yet none of these things are guaranteed to make you happy. I see plenty of folks who lack all those things yet seem pretty damn happy. I think of my family that just had their 5th kid, they don’t even have car and I saw the Dad walking home loaded down with groceries yet noticed he seemed content. I see his kids daily and to be honest they may lack most of what some of us consider essential but they appear well fed, clean and most importantly happy. This family by the standards of my buddy is a failure yet who are we to judge?

I think especially with young folks it’s so important to let them know that even if they make choices that may seem wrong and generally dropping out of school and having babies is not considered a good choice (let me tell you I get a laugh at the number of folks who look at me like how is it possible that I could have an 18yo kid..After all I am a college graduate in a “good” job. Dude, no one said you have to do life in some type of order) that life goes on and that as long as they are living the sky is still the limit. Yes, it is a lot harder when you lack a minimal amount of education and or skills to get a job that pays a living wage. Though, I found bad paying jobs to be a great incentive to make different choices.

Even if you are not a young person, maybe you are more established yet find yourself becoming a single Mama. It’s not the end of the world and you may find it’s the beginning of a brand new world. As long as you draw breath shit will happen, what you do after that shit happens is what matters most.

Readers, I will catch ya later, if you are the praying type I would appreciate your prayers and good thoughts during this surgery. I doubt I will be up for any blog postings anytime soon, but if you follow me on Twitter I may post a few tweets if I feel up to it. Have a great week!

Wanderlust

Well I think the title of this post says it all…I got a bug to get the fuck out of dodge and see some of this great big world we inhabit. I recently had a discussion with my Pops where he reminded me that despite being a good wife and mother that I need to remember that at the end of this life, its my life and that I should make sure I don’t live it for others. His words struck a chord and well for the first time in years I have allowed myself to dream, to dream of a life outside the confines of this country. A life spent traveling and living and enjoying.  A life not tied down to the minutia that sometimes threatens to strangle the life out of me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the life I have but there are days I ask myself is this it? Let’s see, I have an emotionally rewarding and socially important job that adds value to the world. I have an amazing spouse and two amazing children, one who is an adult and will be charting his own path. I have a house…you get the drift. I have all the things adults generally like to have. But I have to be honest of all the things I have ever dreamed of, a chance to travel and even live abroad has eluded me. Partly because at 18 I was a wife and soon to be mother, so I never had a chance to take to the road. I have spent my entire life since the age of 18 being responsible (mostly) but more importantly focusing on the needs of others. Even the things I did that do personally benefit me such as returning to school were about the fact that I wanted to be in a place that I could provide for my kids. So while I was personally fulfilled by that choice it was not always about me.

Now the Spousal Unit and I have often talked about retiring to Belize where we have heard Americans can live a relatively comfortable life but today it hit me…why wait until we retire? Why not take the show on the road now? Or at least as soon as we can make the plans. At first I said nah…but after spending some hours surfing around, I am starting to think it’s entirely possible. After all the Spousal Unit earns the bulk of the cash and is self-employed, he has spent 8 years in Maine working for clients who are nowhere near Maine. All he needs is high-speed internet access and a phone along with his laptop. While my job cannot be done from afar, I could go back to consulting and grant writing which could be done from afar. As you can imagine the wheels are turning…now we need to see what are great locations to set up shop for 3-6 months at a time? That’s the question we are asking ourselves…if you have any ideas I’d love to hear them.

We are also toying with the idea of even considering RV living for a bit if leaving the country for long-term living proves too tricky to navigate in the short-term, which we are defining as 1-2 years. Right now we are thinking we would still maintain our home here in Maine but I gotta say the idea of being going upwards of 6 months at a time is attractive as hell. I imagine some of you are thinking..she has gone mad! Nah, just trying to live and see the world.

So dear reader, I ask you have you ever just thought about throwing caution to the wind and heading off on a journey? If you have done anything similar to what I am proposing, I would love to hear from you, in the meantime have a fabulous weekend!