childhood, Uncategorized

The funny thing about remembering 

A memory that has stuck with me since I was probably 5 or 6 is of Princess Leia being beamed out of the vacuum asking to be saved. Her image would fade in and out. Her voice sounding far away. In my dreams, I couldn’t actually hear what she was saying but knew it was important. She needed help, to be saved. How did she get locked in a vacuum? I’d best be careful when I used our vacuum. That image of  Princess Leia stuck with me even in when I was awake. I could feel the heartache, the desperation that she was feeling.

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Many years later I learned that the vacuum was in fact R2D2. A nifty little robot that in my sheltered knowledge could only have been a vacuum.  I will always remember that image wavering in out. Trying to get the message through.

I recently read somewhere that lapses in memory can be a sign of a traumatizing event or abusive action in your life. I can easily come up with a list of painful events, as we all can. I could surmise for days what may or may not have been the cause of my very spotty memory. I wonder though. If we do not reminisce, revisit our funny stories over the dinner table with family or friends lead them to fade away. If you never talk about that time you fell into the creek, broke your finger, kissed that boy, or snuck into the orchard with the girls then how will that memory not fade away into the deep recesses with no reason to be brought forth. Going so far back that it totally disappears.

There are years of my life that have such few faded memories. People I don’t know, entire friendships have disappeared. Adventures and laughter swallowed by the abyss of my forgotten past. I don’t know how it happened or when it happened. If it wasn’t for people having found me as an adult I wouldn’t have even know anything was really amiss. I mean we all forget some things. But entire friendships, entire summers, years that have gone? It is a bit disconcerting. Enough to bear upon my mind wondering where they have gone. A different viewpoint could be that our memory is like a revolving tape. A loop per say that goes round and round. The information is written over if no longer current.

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I realized I have been floating on my own from place to place since I was thirteen. So there were no family meals or trips. No annual get together where we spent time laughing, cooking, eating, pestering each other. Teasing each other over our mistakes and slip-ups that only the close the family know. If you don’t reminisce how do you remember? If you don’t have that pesky brother or sister who knows the embarrassing, the funny, the serious, to constantly remind you how will you never forget. I didn’t have any of those things so I could easily forget it all. Not even knowing that is what I was doing.

lifestyle, Uncategorized

Friday means

Friday means the end of week preparations. Cleaning the house, and the making of Sabbath meals.  No work was to be done on our day of rest. No cooking or work of any kind. It is to be a day of rest and contemplation. One of my chores was mowing the lawn. A chore I loved and detested equally. I got the use a piece of machinery which was awesome. The area considered lawn was primarily thistles and some type of oversized grass that looked and felt more like a pincushion weed. If you stood far enough away to look at it when it was cut it looked like a lawn. However, rolling and playing on it wasn’t comfortable. The grass wasn’t soft as a thick lush lawn would be. The grass made my skin itch as I was allergic. It wasn’t soft like a blanket as my lawn is now. I knew it wasn’t something to be barefoot on much less play or have a picnic on.

Part of my happiness with mowing is that it was better than having to wash the land rover and suburban. I hated washing them. Don’t get me wrong; hose with water and soap suds would generally be loads of fun in the summer but not when dad kept finding these invisible dirt marks. I swear he made them up just to keep me working longer. Seriously how many times can I wash a vehicle and it still be dirty? Apparently a half dozen plus! Now as an adult washing my own vehicle I understand the reasoning. I can see the smudges of dirt that the car wash or my sponge misses. I certainly couldn’t see it at as a youngster.

Sabbath was the day of worship. The seventh day that started at sundown and ended at sundown. Ironically I don’t recall anything about Sunday. I would guess there was no school but I am sure we worked or did something for two days of rest seem unlikely. We would attend vespers both evenings for a couple hours. It was a little more relaxed version of church. Hymns were still sung, prayers said, and a Bible lesson read and discussed. Everyone attended together. Men women, children, students, elderly. The married, the families sat together. The single sat in groups but separated by gender. It wasn’t appropriate to sit together to be near each other if not married. Unless working or in a class of course.

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Sunrise at Mombasa beach Kenya

It was this way for as long as I could remember. Every week the same unless going on a camping trip. Clean the house, prep food to go in the oven while we were at church, go worship with the rest, enjoy an afternoon hike and then back to work. Day in day out. Week after week, year after year. No unlike the Monday to Friday grind many of us work to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. The difference is that there if you decided to head out for a trip or adventure it could happen as long as the gardens had water anything was possible. Life here in the world isn’t as kind or forgiving in that aspect. Often no vacation pay for many. The boss won’t let you have a day off except for the planned week you picked the year before.

I couldn’t resist using photos from our three-week adventure to Kenya. Amazing family trip and such an eye-opener for my children. Such a long way from the Saturday’s spent on that solid wood unforgiving church bench.

 

 

childhood, Uncategorized

So many contradictions​

When I was little I was shy and afraid. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself or be noticed as different.

When I was little I felt no fear, I could climb the highest tree, ride the fastest sled. I was invincible.

When I was little I did not know about perfection or imperfection. We were all beautiful on the inside. If not I could feel something bad when close and didn’t like you.

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I had an idyllic childhood. Free-spirited, running wild, loved by my community family.

I had a traumatizing childhood. So many different people came and went. Some good some so very not.

I grew up in a huge family. Encircled by love, prayer, and family.

I have no family. I am an orphan. Wiped from the church records, forgotten like a mistake they don’t want to be reminded of.

As a little girl, I loved nature and would play to my heart content in the woods.

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As a broken-hearted girl, I wept atop a tree terrified to come down and walk the miles home thru the woods.

Loved beyond bounds, tossed away with the trash. Taught so much, yet so little. Prepared for the time of the end. Unprepared for life before the end.

These memories confuse me, amuse me, hurt me, and hug me. Maybe a thread of words will appear and find a flow.IMG_0855

 

childhood, Uncategorized

Is it wrong to play with Barbie

When I was a little girl I was not allowed to play with Barbie’s because my parents didn’t want me to think I should look like her. Didn’t want mt to try and look like her. I never thought much about it other than it was another thing I was denied. I didn’t care much to tell the truth as I didn’t really see the fun in a doll that couldn’t do anything other than changing her clothes and hang out with Ken.

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I had better things to do like climb a tree, paddle in the pond, ride my bike, walk around with my bow and arrow’s on the hunt for the next great target. Who wanted to sit down with a tiny adult doll to awkwardly put clothing on it. Repeatedly. An over the shoulder molder holder shouldn’t be this hard to put on a doll or body for that matter. I love that bit from the movie Beaches. I showed my daughter the video and her facial expressions had me laughing so hard.  I digress. Barbies were boring to me other than of course one more thing I couldn’t have. I don’t think it was ever explained that I was beautiful the way I was. That any body type was to be loved. It would be unchristian to think of oneself as attractive more than necessary.

 

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Growing up we didn’t wear makeup, cut our hair short, or bother with fancy clothes. We dressed for what we were doing. Gardening,  wear layers so you won’t get too hot. Working in the mill don’t wear too lose of clothing or it will get caught. Raining out, wear raincoat and boots. Camping in the winter, wear layers with wool against your skin. Cayenne in your socks if you want to keep extra warm. The actual style wasn’t the main focus. Look modest and appropriate. Dress nice for church. Being off the grid so to speak we were behind the times. We also were a ‘get your wardrobe once a year’ unless something is needed kind of family. We usually shopped at the thrift shop on our yearly trip down south. The Sears catalog was for window shopping, cutting out to paste the pictures, and lastly for fire building. It certainly wasn’t to order from.

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My daughter has played with Barbie’s. Oodles of them. The jet, car, motorcycle, and a dozen girlfriend Barbies with a couple Ken’s to go around. She didn’t care much about them and cut off all their hair. My daughter also played in the lake, slid in the mud, camped in the bush, and overall got dirty playing. She played with makeup and hair stuff learning what its like. Turns out my daughter like the feel of makeup on her face as much as I do. Mascara usually about cuts it with us.  I hope that she will always be comfortable with herself dressed up for a night out and for playing in the mud.

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Today though I think back to that and realize what their intentions were.  It seems modern society keeps wanting to portray women shaped like Barbie in magazines, television, social media platforms. Looking a certain way seems to be advertised as the key or the link to happiness, popularity, dating, career. Lifestyles are built around trying to dress and change your body to portray this. So many women and girls I see online posting before and after photos. Some are extreme changes. Some obviously for better physical health. Some looked amazing the way they were. Before diets, constant work towards a look other than what they naturally have. I am incredibly happy to see there are as many women who love themselves the way they are. Knee deep in life enjoying every moment the best they can the way they are.

 

lifestyle, Uncategorized

My parents’​ lifestyle change

Our lifestyle was determined by an author who wrote many books explaining what Gods meaning was in the Bible. What we ate, wore, the age men and woman could marry, social interactions, our daily schedule, our seclusion from society. Her word held in high esteem and studied daily.

Our diet was a big change for many. For many coming from a meat and potatoes, butter flavored mash, desserts, fast food, and other mainstream diets. Well, it was incredibly hard to adjust. The diet consisted of two meals a day, primarily raw for the first few years.  It’s no wonder that my mother couldn’t conceive after having me for years. I can only guess at how much weight she lost those first few years. It’s a wonder I was such a chubby cutie. I must have been fed more often although there are not many left to ask.

My mom had a story that they laughed about. When she and my dad were driving to the community after they were married she had a list of all the things she would need to set up the house for them. When I heard the story I would imagine them driving along in the forest green international pickup with its log camper on the back. The road curving and twisting as they kept driving farther north. I can feel the excitement she must have felt inside going to see the home they would share together. Starting a life with the man she loved above all others. Holding her list of all the things she needed to start life as a housewife.Shopping-list-coloring-page

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Turns out mom knew very little about the lifestyle she had married into. Dad had disappeared for a year and then called her up and asked her to marry him. He had found God and country living in the year he was gone. He was no longer a computer engineer for a well-known railroad company. He was now a member of a self-supporting community that lived by the good book and the books explaining the good book. She had no idea the life she had signed up for. On that first drive reviewing her list of things and finding only TWO items were approved. Yes, that’s correct only two items were approved for their new lifestyle and diet. Salt and flour.  Yes, that’s correct salt a flour!

She would laugh as she told the story. It makes me sad for I remember her 5 foot  5 inches  95 pounds. Her skin often yellow tinged as though suffering from jaundice. The stress of her God-fearing husbands’ judgment causing her eczema outbreaks to worsen. Her appearance as a 40-year-old woman was a far cry from the photo’s of her as a healthy dimple-faced 22-year-old from the wedding photo.

Over the years the diet had changed. Things like adding yeast, sugar, oils, baked and cooked foods. Even a light supper was added. Working the land, being active and outdoors tends to burn a high amount of calories. Eating vegan three times a day or less would make it difficult to intake enough calories.

Carribean, Uncategorized, vacation

Saint Lucia

I have been feeling right off since I got home from our wonderful holiday and haven’t been liking anything I have written so far. It all felt so superficial and empty of heart. So I decided to share photos and tidbits of Saint Lucia. To have been somewhere so beautiful, so tropical, so not anything I could have dreamed of. It has reminded me of how far I have come. I keep thinking of the first place I rented. I was 16 and working a minimum wage fast food job. My basement suite was empty – empty as in I slept on the slab of wood on top of milk crates that the family had placed as a shoe shelf in the closet.

Like my boyfriend put on my birthday cake this year ‘You’ve come a long way baby’. IMG_0937

I placed a caption on most of the photo’s although the beauty speaks for itself.

 

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The view from our couch never ceased to amaze me
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Waking to the beautiful Pitons brought a smile and such a feeling of joy
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Lucky rainbow
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Incredible Sunsets
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Awestruck by the beauty
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I was frozen in place watching the sunsets

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Deep sea fishing – makes me feed this fishy’s
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Double rainbow across the Piton
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I wasn’t too sick to grab my camera for a shot of the rainbow
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Loving the rainbows even when I was about to toss my cookies
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Sunsets never cease to amaze me
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Family or flock of cuties
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I never stopped being amazed to be there
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Selfie sticks are harder to use than I thought!
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Best place for snorkeling
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I may have hyperventilated a few times but I kept trying
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I was in awe of what I saw beneath the ocean
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Sulfer springs at the volcano
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Is supposed to take ten years off!
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The volcano that feeds the sulfur springs
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Sharing my pastries with the locals
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Our sitting room view
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Hummingbirds should be the national bird for how many there were. I couldn’t believe I caught part of him!
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Crazy awesome guy reminded me of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz movie
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I took so many photos watching this little guy climb the plant to eat the juicy leaf he was after

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Our welcome basket included a water gun – because the birds are so pesky and brave!

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Tet Paul nature trail was full of wonderful information about the island’s foliage and gardening

 

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View from ‘Heaven’, well worth the climb

 

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One of my new favorite flowers.

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Famous Friday night street party / fish fry. Their music puts any nightclub’s volume to shame!!

It just seemed fitting to share a post about the incredible vacation we had. I feel so blessed so happy to have the life I do.

childhood, Uncategorized

I hoard toilet paper

There I said it. I collect toilet paper. And not that scratchy cheap no name stuff. Definitely not the Green planet friendly tp. That stuff is worse than the tp at the govt funded buildings. I mean Charmine, Cottonelle,  Royale, and other baby soft brands. If they are on sale it comes home with me. Stuffed under handbags, in the back of the closet, in the kids’ washroom.  I buy the kids’ Store brands or other sale but still quality brands because it’s cheaper and they have no sense of the word waste as teenagers.

I know why I buy it. I understand buying on sale is a good idea. That being thrifty is the way to become a millionaire. That is not why I do it. I have this fear hidden deep in the darkness of my consciousness. I am afraid of using paper thin, sandpaper rough, one ply tissue. The kind you would be able to steal from the local library. Sounds ridiculous right. Wrong. I was so broke – a whole different blog story there for another time… I was so broke I would sneak into the public library and stuff a half used roll into my backpack.

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I can still see clear as day me sitting on the toilet. My black canvas satchel with its cold metal buckles on my lap. Trying to get that giant commercial size roll out of the case without making noise or breaking it. The metallic taste of fear on my tongue. The desperate need for tissue at home.

So now I have toilet paper. Good toilet paper. So soft it’s a kittens fur wiping your bottom. According to commercials. Or maybe so soft bears love it. Hoards of it in my closet, in the bathroom, in the kids bathroom. And I bought more today because it was almost half price. I am sure it will be double when I need it. So I buy more. I buy it for the sale not because I can’t help myself. I tell myself I’ll be good and buy only one giant bulk bag, not the maximum limit. That would be silly right! 🙂 Then I stress all the way home if I should have bought more while it was on sale. Or if I spent too much buying things like toilet paper on sale when I didn’t need it yet. Either way, I end up with a stomach ache.

So there it is. Why I hoard toilet paper. And probably food on occasion. Definitely speaks to my dislike of wasting anything. Throwing away anything when it can be donated. For I will never forget having to steal toilet paper.

childhood, Uncategorized

Walking in the dark

After working the late shift the other night I climbed into bed with my 16-year-old daughter to visit and hear about her day. She had to take the late bus home that day which was a first. I asked if it was dark walking home from the bus stop. ‘Yes it was scary,’ ‘did you call your brother?’ I asked.  ‘No I used the light from my phone and walked fast hoping nothing would jump out at me,’ was her response.

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Her walk in the dark reminded me of the first place I lived after getting on my bicycle and riding away from the ‘farm’ at 13. That is another story for another time.  At any rate, I ended up in the same house I had lived in as a child, even had my old room back. Like that didn’t depress the shit out of me. The community school only went to grade eight so I worked at the bakery from 4 am till 1 pm Monday to Friday. The house I lived in was over a mile up a mountain. I watched the telephone poles be installed. There was no pavement, no street lights. Moonlight was my only guide if I was lucky. I would walk down the mountain using the path as a short cut. It was pitch dark usually. Occasionally the moon came out from behind the clouds illuminating the pathway. I was terrified of mountain lions, bears, and god knows what else. I have no idea how I managed to not only wake at that ungodly hour but to force myself into the cold darkness down that mountain.

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One day at church the elementary school teacher was speaking about things that made her day and my morning walk was one of them. She loved to wake up hearing me sing as I skipped along the path to work. Brightened her day waking to my cheerful song. Little did she know I was singing to keep the paralyzing fear from overcoming me. I had no choice but to get to work walking that path in the dark. Fear wasn’t an option.

Funny it hits me now that in all the things I have done in life:  fear or failure was never an option.

childhood, Uncategorized

Best mistake my father made

The best mistake my father made was to let me join him that one Christmas break watching the VHS tapes he picked up on brainwashing and mind control. It was an unintentional gift that has lasted me throughout life.

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I’ll never forget the families wanting to get their children back that wouldn’t leave. How they didn’t stop searching for them. Trying to get thru to the youth, the person that they knew and loved. How the person in the commune just didn’t hear the words. I mean really hear them. They would listen and try to explain to each other why the lifestyle was good or bad depending on who was talking yet neither party actually heard the other.

In the videos, it was explained how they got these lost souls, these people who were searching for something more. How that lifestyle was appealing and dominated all other choices. Why they stayed and believed. One young woman maybe early 20’s stuck in my mind. She wanted to leave but couldn’t get away. They kept at her until the methods worked and she became pliant to their lifestyle suggestions. Or maybe she just gave up and gave in fro sheer exhaustion.  Another young woman felt the opposite. She refused to leave she wanted that life regardless of the hurt and abandonment her family felt.

What made them pliant, willing believers? It wasn’t  beatings, rape or physical abuse like you may assume. It was segregation, hunger, lack of sleep, heavy physical labor that finally made her pliable to them. This is where I connected the dots that I was right. That it was wrong how I was being raised. Don’t get me wrong here. The community I was born into was nothing like Wako Texas and other extreme sects. It was a community built to live off the land, to be self-sustaining and off the grid. However, as with any good values, some extremists thinkers were a part of it. Of course, the deep religious beliefs didn’t help.

Earlier that year I had gotten in trouble for something I’ve conveniently forgotten. In the ensuing teen outburst and tantrum, I went for the phone to call child services as ‘it was wrong to be raised like this’. The consequence to that was to be locked into my room for a few days on bread and water twice a day brought to the door and escorted bathroom breaks a couple times a day. The hook and eye lock I had installed at the outer top corner of my door to keep my little sister out now had backfired for that is how they locked me in.

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I was livid. How dare they treat me like this. Make me a prisoner, lock me up, the injustice of it all. True to teenage form I got over it. I wrote the thousand word essay on my wrongdoings and after my allotted days I handed it over. And was promptly in trouble again for plagiarism for how could a 12-year-old write a decent essay? One who grew up with adult conversation and companionship, with books, sermons, and discussions, not friends, preschool, playdates, and television that’s who. Needless to say that disbelief in me further solidified my resentment. The resentment that had been building for a while and would continue until it burst out.

Many years later I was at a self-help weekend retreat. Similar methods were used. We had to stay at the hotel at night and weren’t to return home or be in contact with our friends and family. We shared rooms with strangers. Were woken early to hike a nearby hill prior to breakfast. We spent days digging deep into our painful pasts, resurrecting the scars that brought each of us to this workshop. I saw the signs and smiled to myself. I joined in all the exercises for you will only gain what you’re willing to put in. I believed there were life skills to be learned regardless of the red flags. I wanted to heal any issues I had so I could have the emotional tools to be a good single mom to my young children. I wanted to be able to provide the best childhood I could to them and mine wasn’t exactly role model history. So I did my best and ripped open my scars baring them to these strangers. I learned to accept myself and love myself. Near the end of the weekend, we were divided into small groups and given an assignment for the next day. We were given a song and told to come up with a performance. The stress of a public display, to dance and screw up, to fail in front of everyone was terrifying. The feelings of insecurity and fear. Clammy hands wiped on thighs,  nerves strung tight, we were all on pins and needles.  Thankfully my group didn’t have to go first and we were part of the big circle watching the performance. It was then that I noticed and saw exactly what was wanted what was being done.

It wasn’t a dance or performance. The leaders wanted you to jump and move in such a way your adrenaline would pump through you. That the fear and insecurity would be overwhelmed by the physical motion. Then you immediately stop close your eyes and fall back into the arms waiting for you. Your bodies natural reaction to the adrenaline the rush of emotions, the immediate calm with all those hands holding touching you that you had bared your soul to cried with was an emotional break. Shaking crying and the high from the release. It was an addictive feeling. Like the high of a drug that envelopes you with warm lethargic joy, love, happiness. Yet this was legal, expensive but legal. For those that didn’t realize what it was, what gave them those awesome feelings that would become an addictive retreat.  then came the pitch for the next retreat at an even higher price! Thank you, dad, for teaching me what you did!!

childhood, Uncategorized

Fear or was it

I know I have been writing about my single digit years but last night I remembered something and thought to share. My teen daughter is totally loving scary movies and Insidious 4  came out recently. She just had to see it with her friend, another avid fan. As I was driving them home from the movie they talked how they wouldn’t be able to sleep a wink. That they would need large cups of coffee to start the day at school. It made me smile and also  reminded me of when I was so terrified I couldn’t even close my eyes.

I was thirteen and had just left the community. I was done with the overbearing control that was welded with the expectation that no questions would be asked. I was currently sleeping on the floor in the guest room across the hall from my aunt and uncles bedroom. Dad had been dead a few months now and life was supposed to be back to normal but I just couldn’t.

I was angry, depressed, and lost. Life didn’t matter. The world should have stopped the day that he died. Instead I was on the floor in a strange room, with a strange family that was ‘family’. My future was being discussed in hushed tones without any thought of talking to me.

My heart race as I lay on the floor in the dark, the hall light slipping in through the unlatched door. It felt as though there was a giant boulder on my chest. The weight was unbearable. It was hard to breathe. The weight of it was suffocating me. I closed my eyes hoping to sleep to ignore this awful feeling. But when I closed my eyes all I could see was my fathers body all mangled and broken. His body choking on the blood and lacerated organs. I would open my eyes wide and try to think of giant fluffy puppies. I would close my eyes and the image of his body laying there eye bulging out would pop into my mind. Like a vivid picture, as though I was there. I would gasp air trying to breath trying to think of anything but that. In exhaustion my eyes would drift closed and his body would be falling and  falling and falling crashing down. His voice calling out to me would jerk my eyes open again. There was no escape from the pictures in my mind or the weight of pain and agony on my chest.

I slept with my Bible open on my chest for months. The only way I felt remotely safe enough at night was with my Precious moments Bible on my chest. The actual weight ( in hindsight it is similar to a weighted blanket ) of the Bible eased my constricted chest. Helped me take in a breath and try to block out those horrible images.

This went on for days, week, months. My depression depended. My anger grew. No one reached out to me, instead they worried and prayed. What happens is Gods will.  As an adult with children, having made it through I just would love to go back and  shake some people and say  ‘WAKE THE FUCK UP’. Actually there is much more I would say but I will leave it at that for now.