Stay Awake

I am always amazed at how different life feels when I am awake and conscious. 

 

I remember the day pretty well. I was three years old, sitting in front of the TV watching Grizzly Adams, pretty much unaware of the circumstances.  My father picked me up sobbing as he said goodbye. I cried too but did not understand why. I can see him standing in the door watching us drive away. Oh how he must have broken. He knew, but I did not that my life would never be the same as it had been growing up under his roof—whole. 

This is a chapter of one of my beautiful disasters.

Now, my oldest son lives right down the street from where I moved that day. I have always had a somewhat negative view of that townhouse—probably because it was the place where I eventually started to go to sleep unconsciously. Julian and Grace moved 2 weeks ago into their very first apartment. How exciting this is for them!

As I drove into the complex, I felt like something came full circle the moment I passed that townhouse and pulled into his driveway. A place that once meant sorrow now brings me joy. A gap in space that once meant an end now signifies a beginning. I am so thankful God is in the waiting game and wants to patch things up. Of all the places they could have moved, they moved to the very site of my 3-year-old beautiful disaster development.

Bigger picture still: Julian’s dad and I divorced when he was 3. That was the moment of my full blown sleeping pinnacle. The moment where my unconscious pain took over, and I changed his life forever. I did to my son exactly what my mother did to me. Something I swore I would never do.

Although I am awake now, it doesn’t change all the suffering. I want my son to know how very sorry I am for all he suffered with the divorce. Your dad and I truly believed if we just loved you enough you would be okay.  You’re on your own journey to awaken and I will be forever here for you. Suffering eventually will bring you to conscious truth. You brought me back to the apartment complex and I honor your allowing me to see the truth and bury the lie.

It’s time we all bury the lies and see the truth. You can’t live in the past or future and see the truth. The only truth is the present moment.

It is very hard to stay awake after a certain age. Past 5, you start burying yourself and go to sleep. It’s easier that way as you have not acquired the skill of mastering pain. Your tiny self figures out a way not to hurt and that works for a while—often a long while—but eventually you need more to stay asleep. Drugs, alcohol, food, sex. I chose alcohol. It wasn’t on purpose at first. I didn’t realize drinking would mute the thoughts in my head, and the pain in my heart. At 12, I attended a Greek wedding where wine flowed freely. One sip lead to many and culminated in my vomiting all over my new mauve carpeting.

That became my pattern. Drink till I threw up. Cry. Pass out. Pretty standard. This blog is not about what you use to bury your pain. It could be anything! Even loving your children to the point that you’re asleep to your own destiny. We all have something that keeps us asleep for as long as it takes for us not to feel pain.

I used alcohol for a long time.  I don’t anymore—at least not to stay unconscious.

When you’re little and in pain, you don’t have the skills to navigate through it alone. It’s time to stop beating yourself up for the shit you have done. You did what you had to do to survive at the time.

A lot of us blame the people who were supposed to protect us. But they couldn’t because they were asleep themselves, trapped in a delusion and completely unaware.

It’s a cycle.  Sleeping through life to avoid pain, then bringing kids into the world. Because you’re asleep, you raise kids to use the same skill set to sleep through their own life. No wonder so many people are addicts. We have so many things available to numb our pain and keep us asleep.

Are you an addict if you can’t get through the day without chocolate or Pepsi? Yes. You can dress your addiction up in pretty clothes, call it whatever you want, but if you are honest with yourself, whether a person or a substance controls you, you’re an addict. Sure you might not be in jail or getting revived by Narcan like some heroin addcts, but guess what: You are no further ahead. A heroin addict might have a better chance actually to awaken due to physical and legal ramifications.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to sleep anymore. In fact, I am on a witch hunt for truth. I will let my trapped soul out no matter what the cost. Learning to stay present and conscious is painful, but it is the only true way out of “pain.”  Remember the saying, “the only way out it through?”  It’s true. 

God will use whatever it takes to wake you up. Most western culture is taught to conquer suffering. We don’t like the suffering so we push it away, numb it, mask it. I get it. I still do it. The moment something feels uncomfortable I try to kill it.  Some eastern cultures teach you to embrace the suffering and live in the now. Suffering is sticky, but next time something gets you, don’t run from it or numb it, stay in it. Let it have its way with you. Cry, get mad, scream, do whatever you want, just FEEL IT. Stop pushing it away. It will just keep coming back and haunting you until it teaches you what you came to learn. Wake to the lessons suffering has for you. Every time I have suffered I have grown and so will you.

Lay down Sally


There is nothing that is wrong
In wanting you to stay here with me
I know you’ve got somewhere to go
But won’t you make yourself at home and stay with me?
And don’t you ever leave
Lay down, Sally, and rest you in my arms
Don’t you think you want someone to talk to?
Lay down, Sally, no need to leave so soon
I’ve been trying all night long just to talk to you
The sun ain’t nearly on the rise
And we still got the moon and stars above
Underneath the velvet skies
Love is all that matters
Won’t you stay with me?
And don’t you ever leave
Lay down, Sally, and rest you in my arms
Don’t you think you want someone to talk to?
Lay down, Sally, no need to leave so soon
I’ve been trying all night long just to talk to you
I long to see the morning light.
Eric Clapton

When I was three, my parents divorced. Pretty sure I mentioned this as it shaped my life. Parents, please hear me: Do not fall into your parents’ loop of giving up. Your kids did not ask to be here, and they need both parents. While there are circumstances that I feel absolutely warrant a divorce, please don’t give up. Your children need you.

Getting side tracked so let me jump back.

When we left Westwood Drive in 1976, we moved to an apartment not far from our home. I’ll be completely transparent here: At 3 years old this was an adventure for me! Everything was new, and I was happy except for missing my daddy. He used to have to drive by that apartment every day, and it must have killed him knowing our mother moved on and took us with her. When I say us, I mean Jilene and me. La Donna stayed with dad—thank God.

Within the year mom remarried and we moved to Bristolville, Ohio, about 20 minutes from where we lived prior. Mother and her new husband built a house onto an existing farmer’s small barn.

One of the brilliant things about moving to godforsaken no man’s land Bristolville is that you have space and privacy. No one can hear or see you for that matter. I am sure that is the point. We lived on about 12 acres, and the drive was two football fields back from the road.

Point? We had land.

But back to the point of this blog today, which is to introduce a friend. In fact she became my best girl for a long, long time. Let me introduce you: Her name is Sally with huge brown eyes and brown hair.

You see, one of the nicest things mother and her partner ever did for us was buy us horses. Sally was a warm brown Shetland pony and was coupled with a horse named Pete. They were the most precious pair you ever want to meet. He was grey and tall, and she was brown and so short; they were inseparable. If I wanted to ride her, it was darn difficult as she walked like a turtle unless he was with her.

I would take her out throw on her bridle and ride—no supervision just Sally and me.

One summer day I rode her to the end of the driveway. Now getting down the drive was not all that fun. She turtled the whole way down, but the moment she turned around she took off like a bullet making it worth the wait.

That summer day we made it down the drive, but as she turned to sprint back, I fell off. I must have hit my head because the next thing I remember was my mother standing over me. Sally had gone back the house and whinnied until mother came out. She then directed Mom to my body lying unconscious on the ground two football fields away. She was and always will be my hero. Although she is gone now, I am so grateful for the rides and especially the friendship she gave a lonely little girl.

So many times, I brushed her while tears fell to the ground. She listened and loved me. Can animals really understand? Did she hear all the secrets I told her? Did she really love me as I loved her?

She died in my teen years and in a way so did I. The not-so-innocent little girl buried her pony and her heart all in the same day. Sally is so much a part of who I am that without telling her story, I can’t paint the whole picture of my childhood.

God sent me Sally. He sends us people along the way that walk with us on our path. Sometimes we wander or trip and even fall off the path. Thank God for the Sallies in our lives who go get help to pull us out of the pit. Thank God for the Sallies who love us no matter what.

Even if your Sally is slow like a turtle, boring and stubborn to your ideas: Don’t give up!!!! She will turn the corner. The moment she sees who you really are she will run like heck until her feet take off the ground, and she canters two football fields while you hold on for dear life.

You have a purpose, and so does your Sally. I know it’s hard to stay focused on the prize when you feel like you’re never gonna be free to run back to the barn. I promise if you stay positive, stay in prayer, meditate, stay in shape and work out, you will be free.

Part of our journey here on earth is to learn how to walk free of bondage the enemy wants us to live in. Even the crappy part of my childhood with mother’s partner, taught me something very, very valuable: I know how to fight and never give up. That is more precious than gold.

I want you all to learn to fight like the warriors you are and never give up. As long as your life is lined up with God’s will for you, you will be free.

But…there are some things you need to lay down and give up—deep down, you already know what they are.

So here is what we are gonna do: Please, readers, comment what you are laying down today. Don’t wait. Be inspired and unbridled and transparent. Let it go. The truth can’t set you free while you’re holding on to a lie. Let it out and let it go. I am here. I am listening to you. I wrote this for you. Yes you. I dedicate this blog today to all the Sallies out there. Untether your soul and run home