Sunday, September 7, 2014

An Argument On Arguments: Handling Marital Strife With Children

It comes in torrents. Like a down pour in the Amazon, the sky opens up and lets down its drenching bounty. Friendship and finding ones tribe carries with it a sense of connection that is hard to ignore. I have searched for many things in life. A healthy relationship with God, the love of my life, a happy family, good friends and my craft.

My mother was a searcher as well. Although I know little of what she truly desires to find I do have a small understanding that she too is still searching. I dare not to dishonor her by attempting to articulate what it could be, I'd only be guessing. There is no glory to be found in that exercise.

Last night I was blessed to be invited to a friend's birthday. A friend that I made while assisting on a local film production called Caster's Blog. It didn't take long for me too see just how kindred we all were in respect to each other. Thus began our friendship.

I had forgotten there was a party that day and luckily my phone had notified me an hour before this celebration. So my husband and I got ready and took off for a night of unknown fun. As I got dressed and into the car I had him drive so I could read various parts of the menu to him.

After the menu had been deliberated on, my husband had made a statement in regards to our marital disagreements. He had suggested that we argue less in front of the children. This came as a shock to me. I had no idea that he felt this way. So naturally we started discussing it.

My opinion was the discussions we had of this nature were always executed in a respectful healthy manner. Truly, I believe this. I always listened to his side of the discussion. I ask questions, I state my points clearly, with evidence and real examples.

According to my husband he took issue with the volume and fervor in which I approached the argument. He would rather I remain, what in his opinion was more a more calm and reserved manner. In his humble opinion I was "yelling". I know myself very well and I can tell you now, I do not yell at him. That is a whole other nasty beast that I call upon very rarely. Even then I only do it with carefully executed precision and effect.

I of course took offense to his suggestion. As my argument now is that, I in fact, am in no way yelling at him. Nor does he yell at me, we do not yell at each other. I then brought into example the one time he ever yelled at me and how he's never done it since that time. He agreed. I then brought into example that if and when I do yell, it's unmistakable. 

The conversation continued. I made the distinction between arguing and discussing. An argument is when two different points of view are discussed with varying points from either side. He agreed but went on to say that it needed to be executed in a way different from how it's been done currently.

I made the argument that I have some friends whose parents never argued or even disagreed with each other in front of them and just how devastating this was in their lives. Since neither had never seen their parents resolve matters of conflict in their presence,  it had left this element of their intimate relationships in a state of retardation. Both of the children had a very hard time having a healthy intimate relationship as a result of it.

In my own home my parents fought what felt like daily. As a matter of extremity these arguments would go too far. I assured him none of that was happening in our own home. He was not satisfied with the extreme's of these examples naturally. So I continued. My next point after bringing into example these two extreme's was this; if our children never see how we resolve issues, how we approach, argue, reason and execute our points of view with one another, how would they learn to do the same in their own relationships?

He humbly wanted me to keep my calm, watch my tone, be more aware of the pitch and timber of my voice at various parts of the argument. I stated that this was unacceptable, as I believe it's important for my children to know and see that I too am an emotional feeling person that is still capable of making a point, asking questions, listening and rebutting to the matters at hand.

I stated that I am not someone who willy nilly walks around inflicting my emotional drivel to all in my stratosphere. In fact, I never let loose the emotional details and intricacies I experience unless it's with him and at home. I think it's healthy for my children to see that their mother feels safe with her husband enough to let him know exactly how he makes her feel. By being honest and yet still controlled I can make my point while still displaying the depth of my feelings.

He was still reluctant so I went on. I then drew into example that when we had experienced a serious tragedy not too long ago, I had every right to be enraged and unreasonable and yet I had remained a picture of reservation and calm. As I saw that the situation was so dire that it demanded such reserve and calm. What I had truly wanted to do was on the exact opposite of that spectrum and yet I had not expressed those feelings at that time. A point he immediately acknowledged.

Then I went on to say that when I was growing up I had witnessed my tiny Asian mom always stand up for herself. She always stated what she had to say. Sometimes in a very gruesome way but still. What I had learned from her example was, what I had to say as a wife was important and that I serve the highest good in sharing that unabashedly with my husband. That doesn't mean he has to do what I say, or even believe in what I say or has to agree with what I say, but by golly he'll listen or we're through. I share because I trust him. I trust him to hear me and do what he thinks is best. I have to honor his own actions, choices, and beliefs. I as his wife, must share what I see, what I think and what I feel is right. In the end his actions are his own. But I cannot sit idly by and remain silent.

My last argument in this matter ended with this. I stated that of all the things our children will learn from this is that, as women, we must make a stand for ourselves, especially with those we trust to be in our lives. That we have the right and must have the safety to express ourselves. Especially in our marriages. My children, most especially my daughters, will know and see their own mother, succinctly state what her issues are, what problems she sees in the situation and how she approaches a problem. They'll see how I validate my views with questions, that I listen carefully and ask for clarification if I don't understand. I'll repeat what I think I do understand and ask for validation of that before proceeding to the next point. They'll see that when evidence is presented I acquiesce, that when I'm wrong I concede, apologize, assimilate and adjust accordingly. That when there is no solution I state earnestly that I disagree but then leave it at that.

If these things are bad, unacceptable or distasteful then I'll have to answer to that in the end. But I see no harm in allowing our children to see the differences in how my husband and I execute making our various points and views known to one another.

Joshua is a picture of calm. The Lake Placid of human existence. He has the patience of a saint, is logical, respectful and very subdued. I on the other hand am passionate, colorful,  and intense. As well as logical, inquisitive and respectful. Yes my voice is loud, it's loud all the time I have a voice that rings out like a shot-gun. I was born with it. I'd have to make a conscious decision to become someone completely different during our discussions.

My final point was it was important for the kids to see both sides of the coin. The honest sides of each coin. That the children will see and make a choice which example to follow. Perhaps even call upon both during different times in their lives when the situation calls for a different tactic. That having both well speaking, logical, intelligent parents work out their differences was crucial to their development. In the end, they may do what I did and decide that neither was good enough and choose a whole other path, which is what I did in my own life.

In the end he agreed with me that it was important for his daughters to see a strong mother stand up for herself and what was right. To see the gift of sharing their life with a man that makes them feel safe enough to handle the rawness of their feelings and emotions and still listen with care and consideration. But most importantly that they also get to see two very different ways of handling disagreements and one day they can decide to pick and choose which way makes the most sense for them. Should the day come when they're married and have to work something out.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Spiritual Inquisition

All the struggle to discover usefulness when by willingness alone guarantees participation. This I need to understand. After a certain age, I wonder if we all desire to be useful. To contribute something of benefit for all man kind.

When I was a much younger woman, I had gone to college to become an educator. I had taken a class back in the late 90's with Dr. Goldstein. She was a diminutive woman with sharp eyes and poise. All would-be educators had to take her class.

She brought to class her cap and gown. She called me to the front and stated that I would certainly one day wear this when I would receive my own doctorates. She saw something in me I had been reluctant or unwilling to realize. Perhaps I am still in denial or rebellion. I couldn't help but wonder, what did she see?

I married too young and for all the wrong reasons. Embarking on a mission for a different life, rife with experiences that would lend immeasurable assistance as a mother. Now, as life has simmered down and I am now with my second husband, I still wonder should I return? What would I study? What would I contribute to benefit all humanity? This question has guaranteed my absence from academia.

Yet I have no doubt that if and when it should dawn on me, I will stand victorious. This prideful knowing is not necessarily good. Just in case anyone wondered.

Alas today's rumination is born from my attempts to gently succumb to the spirit and how it moves me. The verbalizing is just as important as the commitment in this fleshy tomb of mine and so I sit and put these things into words.

After watching Mind Of a Chef on Netflix I had seen an episode where one of the chef's had the opportunity to visit one of her first mentors. Her compliment to him was in regards to his craftsmanship. This concept had somehow escaped the entirety of my life on this earth. How could this be so? At any rate, it has now entered the intellectual sub-streams of my consciousness. This thought and concept has now sent me down a path of self-examination.

What do I do, what have I been doing on a daily basis that could in fact be my so-called craft?
Mothering? Cooking? Analyzing? Rumination? Guidance? Intuition? Oh man, what is it? The mind and it's blindness serves no one. I would normally call any number of friends that have known me for years and ask them invariably what they see? However, they wouldn't know.

The problem with a person like me, is that I am vastly interested in other people. Believe it not, people aren't used to this. So when I arrive in their lives but whatever amount of chance, luck or circumstance, what happens next is I learn everything I can about them. Unfortunately, this leaves a great deal of room for them to not learn anything about myself.

That being said, not many other people are that interested in anyone else so, I am left unexamined. Funny how that works isn't it? If only I could turn that microscope around and let loose the fiery acumen I am so willing to free upon the soul that is before me. A herculean endeavor to be sure.

So instead I have put in place the eye's of objectiveness and set their gaze wide upon my daily life and body. Surely at some point something of interest or of merit will catch the laser gaze of my mind and set me on the right course. Here's hoping, Cheers!

In the collective commiseration of artful endeavors, I do believe that somewhere there are those waiting, searching, looking for that specific brand of expression that is held within those that would extrude their creative offerings.

I rely on this hopeful musing. I've yet to be proven right or wrong in this. Although the Taser photography artist is certainly heading in the direction to prove me right, in my opinion anyway. The next move I think I have is trusting in this hypothesis.

In the past, I have been trying to fit and trim my art, my craft, my motives into the palatable. This safe and rather bland route does not serve any higher good. Rooted in the depths of this modus lies the tangle roots and vines of insecurity, safety and the desire for acceptance. But luck favors the prepared, and victory is in the hands of the bold. And this method secures neither.

Now I must harvest the knowing and understanding into courage and freedom. I remember when I was free. I know now why I am not. Alas, I no longer have to remain chained. I know now what is needed. I also know now what elements where against me to have made that incarceration necessary at one time.

The animus, the impulse, the twists and confusion have subsided. All that remains are the scars, the lessons and the smile of getting back up again. In the reflecting pool of survival comes the hope for what is next. Complete with the knowing that I can move on, begin again and be renewed in the tools that I have acquired.

Resonance happens when one soul opens to share what it has experienced. This happens in music the most often. In writing it ensnares the unwitting and hopeful. In acting it portrays a side of the self we struggle with and gives us a chance to vicariously experience the things we fear the most for one reason or another. In painting or sculpting we become vessels of empathy carving out or drawing up that which already exists in the ether. It lies in wait for the one that can hear it's call and bring it into being.

Without connection, resonance is impossible. Without open-heartedness, art is impossible. Without courage, truth is impossible. Without faith, action is impossible. Without empathy, connection is impossible. Without love, understanding is impossible.  Though all these things are good and needed, without one or the other the grandest of each is removed. This gives way to a life out of balance. Imbalance sets one on a downward spiral until the chain is corrected and each element is put back in its place. Each step in an unbalanced life leads to one unfortunate decision after another. Securing the destruction till all is burned away and all that is left is the realization of that which is most important. Whatever that may be for the struggling Argonaut.

So it remains, each day I sit and let these contemplation's soar. Leaving them here for any who may have the chance to stumble across them. Perhaps for those in need to relate, to contemplate or to join me in the inquisition of life and existence. Here's to us.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hear The Call and Ride Off Towards It

When we are moved, our hearts stir and our eyes see. We are being called. I am being called. I have been a rapt observer in this thing we call life. I have been influenced by the philosophical nature of my mother. She helped me appreciate and acknowledge that the unseen world exists and needs to be respected. Because of this my mind learned the right questions to ask when I was very young.

These inquiries have guided me throughout my life. Telling me what to ask, where to look and what to heed. Such as it is, when my heart says pay attention I do. When my head turns, I immediately ask what am I to see? When my feet move, I wait to see where they lead.

A dear friend of mine Hannah Hunt had called me one day many years ago. She had been distressed over a situation that she had been brought into. After much discussion she asked me what should she do, she was at odds with herself and the situation at hand.

Admittedly it was a very tenuous ordeal. I honestly had no immediate answers. However, when she posed that very important question, what am I supposed to do? The answer just spilled out of my mouth.

The answer I gave her was this: If she is present when a situation arises and she notices what needs to be done, it's her spirit that has made her aware. Not to be a bystander, but to act on the very thing she has become a witness too. I went on to explain that when we find ourselves in a moment where we see injustice, see a need, or see a solution,  it is our deepest selves that is being brought into motion. This part of us lets us know that we do have the ability, the courage, the heart and understanding to effect real change. We cannot ignore it. To do so is to deny what we are truly capable of doing. We must bravely and faithfully attend to each of those moments.

I brought into focus the many times I have been somewhere when something went down and how I had not seen the event that brought so many people in an uproar. I told her that I was not activated to attend that solution. I've noticed over the years that when I have the eyes to see, I know it is I that must do something.

The subtly and truth of this can be validated in reflection. How many times has something happened right next to us that we did not see? How many times have we seen something that everyone around us missed? By being present and then feeling the urge or seeing the solution quickly is our consciousness revealing our capacity to assist. It is then that we must act. Trust ourselves, trust our consciousness, trust our abilities and let the moment unfurl before your eyes. It as at that moment that we will be amazed at just how connected we all are and how we are always at the right time, at the right place, to do best each of us has to offer. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Prose of Reconnection

The world lacks nothing of what you need. All that must be present is unwavering commitment in obtaining it.

I’ve been blessed to have met some incredible people as of late. One such individual is Kenneth Kall. This author, educator, professional and academic has become a dear friend. Yesterday I had asked him to read over my latest post and to grant me his most honest feedback. 

I was not let down in my request. His input was simple, honest, experienced and filled with wisdom. His warnings were quite helpful. But of all the advice he gave me one stands out above the rest. Write for yourself, Trina. 

Admittedly, this was something I excelled at in a previous life. After becoming a mother it became increasingly harder and harder to do. 

Putting myself first or on the forefront of my writing had become such a thing of the past I no longer knew in which priorities to keep my writing focused. 

I had lost the voice I used to speak to myself with words. 

The echo of my sage-given heart had been silenced and uncalled upon for so long, do I even know the number anymore?

It would seem the answer to that was no. It had been misplaced. Misplaced by shame, regret, delay, insecurity and lack of confidence. Where did the lion’s roar of my writers voice go? How had I lost that indelible connection to my writing heart?

I have been disconnected from it for so long. It seems the tepid grey silence of my heart had a purpose after all. Having it fall silent and still, sent me on a tail spin of desperation. I had taken for granted its constant hum, its ebb and flow in my life. I rely on its trickles, waves and ripples. 

Without these tiny movements and moments I am blind in a world where I have grown accustom to navigating with these signs, sounds and nudges. 

So I retreated. I went into the Bat Cave sanctuary of my home. I informed the masses and my comrades that I needed respite.  I didn't know how long it would take or even what needed to happen. 

So I did what I always do when I feel the heart go silent. I started reflecting on what happened to cause this. No clear answers, just tiny quivers of 'your getting closer' as I started asking myself hundreds of questions. 

I decided I needed to make the usual changes. Lifestyle, eating habits and interests. As I continued down this path of trial and error it made a clearing in the overgrowth. 

I had not been feeding my spirit. I had essentially depleted it of all its nourishment and now I pay the price. I had to pick up some of the old ways and reincorporate them into my life. 

One thing I always do when I get this way is just start writing. It never matters what, just sit down and make the words flow in any direction.  

It would seem that somewhere in the subconscious of my being I knew that this exercise is what I needed. And yet, the obvious had been obfuscated from my comprehension. 

All that changed when I spoke with Kenneth. His earnest urgings and honest feedback all pointed in the same direction. Write for yourself. Put away the outline, leave out the title, get rid of the agenda, let it happen. It’s already inside you let it be revealed. 

He is completely right. The importance of these moments, the flow and fire of my heart as my fingers let the ink flow. Coursing through fingertips, dancing across page after page, line after line as I take rhythmic pauses for articulation and prose all add up to the choreography that is my reconnection. 

I am a dancer, a warrior, a maiden, a child. I am invincible, vulnerable, impenetrable and permeable. I run, I trip, I hold, and lose my grasp from one moment to the next. With each line I give birth to, I am a hulking mass of vulnerability one word at a time. This sensation, this realization, this acknowledgment holds all the keys to my needs, my life, my understanding. In each one, in each word, in each phrase holds a key, a peephole, a shadow and a glimmer that reveals the very real truth of what I am. 

I am alive. I feel, I see, I know and I need. I am not without failings, I am unabashedly present and openhearted. I need to stay in touch with myself. Without these fits of words and phrases I am deposed from my prose-filled heart.  It must beat, flit, fall and feel all in its own way, in its own words and I cannot quiet her anymore. To do so is to deny myself. 

I know Sacrifice. I know Avarice. I know Cowardice. I know Love. I know Lethargy. I know Temperance. I know Delusion.  I know Courage. I know Pain. I know Joy. I know Apathy. I know Peace. I know Cruelty. I know Compassion. With all I know I have denied my relationship with them. 

I have neglected their presence. I have ignored, and disregarded their place in my life and because of this, I have not learned from any of them. These teachers, criminals, sages, saviors, and villains live within us all. And yet, not exploring each one in its present form and occupation in my  understanding is to invite its dominion, its poison, its effect into my life unchecked to wreak its invisible bounty upon my existence. 

The prose is a wild fire of absolution. Coming into me and letting lose all the powers of understanding, in order to take control of these unseen forces.  It calls their name to gain command and control over them so that I may carry on. 

The desperate exercise of writing for myself heralds a private moment between myself and the page. This bedroom of intimacy is created so that I can examine each part, each nook, each cranny with sophisticated detail. This way I am not surprised by my hubris, possessed by its animus, or haunted by the subconscious. With it I now hold dominion over that which endeavors to influence me. 

It’s been a long time since I even honored this truth. Longer still that I have exercised it. I had divorced it. It’s time we got reacquainted. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hurry Up And Wait

My spirit has been softer than normal since I'd decided to start writing. This blissful sensitivity comes for the expressed use of my gift. So I start now to share the moments that come to mind. 

My mother once said to me when I had called her to let her know I was getting married to my first husband, "Trina, did you find your love of did you find your death?"

My mom is a special human being. Her life, her story is rich with wonder and amazement. That being said she is the greatest mystery to myself and all who have the privilege of knowing her. 

She has a rare and incredible gift. One that fills her with fear, terror, and crippling emotional paralyzation. She must keep to herself and isolated in order to exist as peacefully as she can and even that riddles her with pain and confusion. My mother's gift is incredible sensitivity. This sensitivity allows her to see and feel people very deeply. Because of this she can see right into people, what motivates them, effects them, ails them. With crystal and disturbing clarity she can see all the good and bad as if it were all right there plain on your face.

I've known this since I was in my late 20's. That's not true, I've known since I was 30 but I had started to understand back in my 20's. The moment I mentioned above and countless others after that one gave me clues as to the true nature and splendor that is the gift of my God given mother. 

I wished I had heard her words more carefully back then. But if I had I wouldn't have "died" so to speak. That death she referred to was the death of my old self. The young, angry, proud and hurtful self. She/I did need to die. I wish it didn't have to be so painful but truth is, it was.  

What I learned from her words in retrospect was to look at myself. Not in the mirror, not after a selfie, not through anyone else’s eyes. But to look at myself and all the minute subtle cues I gave myself that I ignored out of habit, out of misunderstanding, out of a lack of respect for the intuitive nature that I inherently posses. 

If I had looked at myself then I would’ve seen that the regard for my soon to be husband was already lacking. I’d have seen that when I gave my vows, I was already praying to God for answers that I was doing the right thing. I would’ve noticed that I was crying and not tears of joy. That I had dropped the ring and somehow already knew that I was on a highway to Hell. 

Women are deeply feeling emotional creatures. Capable of discerning countless details and little moments or omens. What women are losing is the encouragement to listen, acknowledge and value those little moments and messages. 

I have come out of the ashes of my formal life to herald a call for all of us to hear. That call is to stop, wait, listen and wait some more. 

Few good things in life come so fast that if they’re aren’t taken right then we miss out on what we need the most. All the best things in life, the most needed things in life come with a hurry up and wait moment.

From the dawning of the sun, the rising of the moon, the promise and hope that being with child brings. The eve before your wedding day, and the morning of your 51st birthday. All these things come in their own time and cannot be rushed. 

All good things are as such. So take the time, watch the body language, notice the questions that arise, honor the doubt, the flag, the quizzical look that reflexively gets revealed. Then, take the time to wait for the answer. It’s not far behind. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Grateful Challenge: Day 5

This week has been very productive. From replacing some appliances, to buying groceries, making dinner and getting the kids in order.

I'm thankful that I am able to pay my bills, restock our supplies and still entertain family.

My sister came to town and she visited my hot tub for the whole time she was here. I'm thankful that my home can be a place of respite for her.

I;m thankful for my friends that have been staying in contact with me and showing their concern for my absence.

I'm thankful for my daughter Brianna being vigilant in her duties to school and her chores.

I'm thankful for my husband and his unrelenting efforts to provide a good life for all of us.

I' thankful that I am able provide him joy and fulfillment and that he is content with the life I make for all of us with his ability to provide.

I am thankful for my willingness to continue to be as present as I am in the lives of my family and all of our responsibilities.

I am thankful for church and for God hearing my prayers.

Recently I had been nominated for the ALS ice bucket challenge from my neighbor Jaclyn Santucci and from my film colleague Chris Leto. I had not been able to fulfill the time aspect and when I was about to, I had received a  private message about how ALS uses embryonic stem cells research.

I personally do not condone that particular research. I have no agenda to share, just that it makes me uncomfortable and I cannot support it.

So naturally I was now at odds as to what my next step would be. I felt nauseous and upset about this new information. I did my own research and discovered what i had heard was in fact true. I was now paralyzed with inaction. So I moped around my home when my daughter asked me what was wrong. I had told her of my predicament. Now she was at odds as well.

So we talked about it and both decided we didn't know what to do.

As I cooked dinner I began to pray. Lord, please help me. I cannot do this on my own. I need guidance, I don't know what to do, but I can't do nothing. Lord, I'm going to church tomorrow, so if the priest says anything about the ALS challenge I'll follow his lead.

I hadn't been to church in a very long time. It had left me bereft. I needed to go to church anyway. As I was now empty. So I went.

After a beautiful and long liturgy he approached the podium. His very first words were, who here has been nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

I raised my hand as others did as well. He went on to say that he had done the challenge and that we had in our midst three parishioners that were afflicted by this truly evil disease.

I had my answer the very next day. Thank you Lord for hearing our prayers.

So I did the challenge and now I will donate $200.00 to help my parishioners that are afflicted by ALS. Truly God is great. I am thankful for this. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Grateful Challenge: Day 4

I missed day three. So I'll just pick up at day 4.

I'm thankful that my sister was able to come visit me this summer. I'm thankful that we are now back on speaking terms. I'm thankful for our time to get close again and that my home can be a place respite for her.

I'm thankful that my hot tub is getting used more no than it has all summer. I'm thankful that my husband has an occupation that has provided us the ability to have said hot tub.

I'm thankful that she was here when I had to attend a meeting and that she cooked my children dinner. I'm thankful that they loved it. I'm thankful for my kitchen that she loves cooking in. I'm thankful that I have enough money to buy groceries that inspire her to cook while she's here.

I'm thankful that I'm starting to feel again. I'm regaining my heart and emotional compass. I'm also thankful for me resolve in caring for my children when all I really want to do is go back to sleep. 

Numb: a poem


Inside the dewey somber knots
that collect upon my well worn soul
there lies the absence of my thoughts
that used to to run rampant through the snow.

I once knew the cold chilled air
Like a lover of dark and wavy hair
who'd seduce me night and night and day
then leave to find some other play.

I'd run and skip then saunter through
the most difficult of hoops, moves and other's shoes.
I'd walk then sit and think and pray.
To understand their thoughts, their turns, their ways.

Yet now as older I've become,
the moments don't skip, walk or run,
they've all but stopped nar' come around
In silence I await their sound.

Their presence is missed. I look to find.
Evidence that I was once sublime
and privy to their existence, gleaned,
so I can once again discern their mean.

I hope all hope I wait the wait.
As time goes by and I still bait,
Those moments from long ago gone by
To feel instead of wait and vie.