Kristina Furey

Saturday, April 21st - A legacy of love

 

Dan's and my very last performance was at the 1st annual Rally At The Railroad, last April.  If you've kept up with my blog, then you know, just shortly after that performance, Dan lost his father and I lost my mother.  It has been a difficult year since. We have put a lot on hold, including music between our mourning process and settling affairs.  Having gone through my own experiences, I can only imagine how hard it must have been for the Fowlers to lose their child and not themselves in the process. Heroically, in their time of tragedy, they grabbed hold of others in their community and restored to them, the gift of love, life and precious moments, as they made the decision to donate their son's organs.  They are creating a legacy of love and giving through the Anthony Fowler Foundation. I invite you to go to their website to learn more about the Fowlers, The Anthony Fowler Foundation and get a download of one of our original songs “Deeper” for a donation to The Anthony Fowler Foundation. http://www.affinc.org

I would also like to invite you out to the 2nd annual Rally At The Railroad, this Saturday April 21st. from noon to 4pm.  It benefits the Anthony Fowler Foundation. Again, please visit their website for all the details: http://www.affinc.org

Sadly, Dan and I will not be attending or performing this year, as we put our music ambitions on hold and have some work yet to do, before we will be ready to perform again. In our efforts to get to that place, we will be in Nashville, at a Songwriter's Performance Workshop, hosted by Tom Jackson. He is a Live Music Producer and master of creating moments onstage. He has worked with Taylor Swift and The Band Perry among many other exceptional performers. So while our hearts will be with the Fowlers and all who come out to support their efforts this Saturday, we will be in Nashville, working on ways we can continue to bring and give the best of ourselves to others like our heroes, the Fowlers! Please give them your support, in whatever you can. I know they are thankful for each and every donation towards their son's legacy, just as I'm sure they would be happy for your assistance in this and future events.

God bless and take care of yourselves and each other!

You can hear our song "Deeper" here, Get your "Deeper" download here.

 

Life, after she left-Ramblings of a conflicted soul

 

4/12 @ 10:44-I'm editing this today to add this because rather serendipitously I found this just now as I tuned into the A1.  Sally Kohn has handled this wonderfully!  Please listen and share.  Right now the interview is live but you can get the recorded podcast of it tomorrow if not later today.  

https://the1a.org/shows/2018-04-12/are-we-hardwired-to-hate

Now here is my original blog from 4/10 :-)

After my mother left, I think my father's most listened to song, for a while at least, was Art Garfunkel's “All I Know.”  Young and impressionable me, it became a theme for my own life. I have collected other themes over the years from different songs. 

“Little conversations, if I tried my very best, you know I never could say anything in 20 words or less.  Somewhere, sometime down the line, some day I may confess and tell you all but that's all.” --Concrete Blonde 


And when I couldn't find the right fit, I created my own.  I did the same when I couldn't have those difficult conversations and when I saw others in difficult predicaments, I hoped I could voice for them what they could not.

I've been interrupted, talked over and completely dismissed when I've tried to use my voice.  I've studied the room with the intensity of Larry David, come to the conclusion “This is not my crowd,” accepted it and what I needed to do for myself.  Knowing my best choice was to say, “No” and walk away. I have done this rudely before but I have since progressed to a more gentle on me, gentle on them, way of handling things and I never actually walked out on a performance, though there were a few times I thought to myself, it's a choice I could make...  Which is probably why I really love that Larry David did that.  It's very hard to put yourself in front of a bunch of people and have them unresponsive or worse, rude or mean.


I get conflicted when I want to walk away but my bigger want is to help whoever I want to walk away from, realize, how what they're doing is forming this idea in my head that I need to walk.  My thought is, what if I'm not the only one looking for an escape route?  I would prefer someone kindly, gently explain to me.  So, as much as I want to walk, I try to breath and kindly deliver what I need to say.  Though sometimes I find myself seven blocks away and out of breath before I open my mouth to say it.  ;-)  But at least I don't have to find a pay phone anymore to say it.  Cell phones, we can now call from any block we happen to find ourselves on when that courage finally catches up.  Seriously though, this all goes back to how hurt my father was when my mother left.  Granted, she left for her own legitimate reasons but I was left behind to watch my father suffer the impact.  Did I mention, she did not use her voice.  Well, I don't know, maybe she did but wasn't heard or maybe she read the room and thought, "No", I'll just go now...  I don't know but I know all about the fall out.  So even as I want to leave, sometimes I find myself with my feet locked in place, stammering in my mind, with my tongue tied, while begging God for the right words to come. The ones they will hear, feel and give into the truth of... Maybe I'm wrong but I feel like if we can combine those words, with the right inflections and tones and it can work.  We can make them feel it and then they will understand and when they understand, they will see, how to align their actions before it is to late.  My Grandmother once told me the two saddest words in the human language are"Too late".


I have seen too late and it is sad indeed!  You see, all my life I've seen those that chase others away as they build walls, break hearts, devalue others while persuading anyone that will buy into their madness to do the same, while passing the buck onto these now undervalued, likely patsies.  Oh they puff themselves up as they take others down, then wonder why they are alienated. They find more enemies and more wars. They talk tough and let everybody know how strong they are, which to others like themselves, is really just an invitation to war.  “They live in houses of stone. They build the walls all around, in two different worlds, on two sides of town. They live in houses of stone, where they don't let no one in but they never get out cuz they never give in.”(--from one of mine) I see freedom but only in my clearest moments.  When the smoke from my own wars has risen, I see not a battlefield, only the wounded. I see no enemy, only you and me. That's when I feel guilt and regret because when I take time to honestly look at you, I see things I admire, instead of the things that frighten me or anger me. I see solutions instead of pain.  I see things I want for myself in others and I realize, only a crazy person would kill off what they want or war with truth/reality. That skill, that thing, that I haven't yet developed or built for myself is right there, staring at me (maybe staring me down) while I wish they too could see, I have much to offer.  Whether we need for survival or mental well being.  We hold the pieces, that when put together, creates what we need to nurture and preserve life.  Why would I deny myself that (you/the world/my future self)? Therefore, why would I deny my own vulnerabilities, if it is through them I can secure us/you/the world/my future self?  Why? Well, because if I show them, they may be taken advantage of, I may be taken advantage of.  You/world have taught me to be protective. Often overprotective and anxious, so anxious, it can be exhausting! In my darkest moments I count my losses and I realize I am exhausted and I look for ways to leave a trace behind, let them know what I witnessed or experienced.  Save them the pain. WRITE before it is too late.   Get it right, so they get it.  Whoever needs it...  Do it for them, before she leaves or he leaves or another child is dumped into a system or an overbearing world.

“Will you be happy in your castle, when you're in it all alone?  Or will you turn around and call me? Say, “Hey baby come back home?” (--mine) Fortunate for me, my parents love affair had a happy ending.  He said, "Come back home".   Well he also said "Please" and she said “Yes”. They learned, denying their own and/or each others needs does not work in marriage. They learned, there is no leader, only a union.  One built on trust. They learned, when they worked together they could do anything they set out to do and they did!

An afterthought:  I have cautioned many a person, that you can not work with someone that works against you.  You will never get anywhere but crazy, exhausted or depressed.  This is also true in marriages. This is true in families. -- Anyway, in times such as these, that just seems important to note.

 

Heading into April

 

The past week was a really busy one.  Had a couple doctor's appointments at the beginning of the week and they went really well.  I was extremely happy to hear that my esophagus though naturally gorked, is free of cancer, YEY!  Dan and I also got to visit our puppy to be and the siblings. Almost seems impossible to narrow it down to THE ONE.  “Can't we just take them all?" I asked Dan in my sweetest, most convincing voice. He did not have to answer. I know better.  Our budget will only allow us one. Same goes for the conversion van I keep dreaming about... Dan, I and one small pooch, will be cozy as is in it...

 

I'm also excitedly anticipating our trip to Nashville, for an opportunity to glean some performance tips and tricks, straight out of the brilliant mind of Tom Jackson, author of “Live Music Method”.  We had the privilege once before of attending a workshop of his and we came home stoked with all sorts of ideas, ways we could better serve our audiences. This particular workshop is designed for singer/songwriters, solo performers and duos and for me, this could not come at a better time!  Dan and I have not performed in just about a year now. In fact we have struggled on and off in the past year just to get back to a normal practice schedule. Along with the emotional lows we have suffered in the past year, we've also had the frustration of trying not to lose, all we have gained musically.  Fortunate for us, we've been able to arrange our schedules in such a way as to take advantage of Tom Jackson's latest Workshop and with any luck, we will come back highly enthused and life will offer us the ability to put that energy into the goals we have been struggling to make for some years now. Should that not be the case, at least we get an awesome road trip, to a great location, where we get to learn about something we love doing, under the tutelage of someone we admire!  I've heard it said “It's the journey and not the destination that matters most”. I've experienced that wisdom in that first-hand.

In the meantime we have been ripping up and rearranging our song, “So Far From Home”.   So I figured this week, I would add our recorded version of the song before we started to rip it. You can find it at the bottom (on the right) of my sharing page. By clicking here.

 

Extra blog and a day early

You Can't Get To Heaven From Here

 

The problems we face are not simple.  To simply pick up a gun or utilize the death penalty to solve our problems is not the answer.

While our youth were organizing to march for their lives last week, I was disturbed to hear “the President” wants to use the death penalty for drug dealers.  

It’s so easy to be distracted by the symptom of a problem and try to treat that instead of looking to treat the cause.  Please bear with me here if you would because I am about to unburden a deep pain from my heart and if I can do this carefully, perhaps I can help you see what I see… 

When I was 22, shy just two months off from my wedding date, I got that phone call that family members of a drug-addicted person yearn for; the one where the person says I can't do this anymore please come get me “I NEED HELP”.  I scribbled the note, “To whom it may concern…” explaining the call and destination I was off to, at about 2am, in case I did not make it back.  Then I left that note on the kitchen table of an empty house.  Thank God I went and got my brother, home, safe!  It was a huge FINANCIAL HIT my parents took, getting my brother into Rehab, two days later.  Still, how fortunate for all of us, they were able to manage it!  It was a huge EMOTIONAL HIT, when the calls from his ex-girlfriend started.  My brother, still in rehab, was not prepared for them and my parents were afraid she would stop my brother’s progress.  Finally, scared out of her mind, she told them THERE WAS A HIT PUT OUT ON MY BROTHER AND HIS FAMILY.  My brother was mixed up in an international drug ring, as was she and just after I picked him up, key players in that ring were all apprehended at the same time to keep any of them, from getting word out to the others about the sting.  Members of the ring had come to the conclusion my brother, who by their perception had skipped town, did so because he was involved in the sting and would testify against them.  They wanted to send a message to him, to quiet him and supposedly, killing those he lived with and loved, was the way the told her they intended to send that message.

My brother was not a bad person.  At one point, he was just a sad 13 year old boy.  It was at that point that he started to experiment with drugs.  Our mother left our family that summer, just a few months after my brother’s 13th and my 11th birthday.  I don't think people understand the anxiety that children can go through during times like that or how easy it is for their lives to unravel.  We were both in Middle School and beginning to deal with the chemical changes that take place in a young person’s body during that time and witnessing the division of youths, once friends, dividing up and sometimes against each other, as they clicked or became a loner and a target of cliques.  It's my belief that all of this change and pressure, along with the desire to feel okay and fit in, led my brother down the path of trying to alter the way he felt by using drugs.  I honestly believe his experimentation and attempt to be accepted, just turned into self-medicating.  It's a very slippery slope for a good person who is in so much pain, be it mental or physical, to discover that they can chemically reduce, control or put off the pain.  For young people I think addiction is really easy because it’s often when we are young that we experience these painful things for the first time and immediately look for some sort of resolution whether real or imagined.  Resolution can come from coping skills, tools/actions and even escaping can at least be a short term resolution.  We often learn resolution skills from the adults in our life.  I’ll just reiterate here, my mother left/escaped.  I’m not judging her.  I'm not looking for someone to blame.  I only want to show you how we learn to do what we choose to do.  My brother found a way different way to escape.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I believe in seeking to understand, so we can forgive and get on with the lives we came to live.  We are like computers, what we experience and witness are just the different programs we have downloaded.  We don’t think thoughts we haven’t been exposed to in some way.  We don’t do things we don’t know.  Everything here just keeps getting recycled.  As Billy Joel said, “We didn’t start the fire”.  I do believe we can put the fires out if we are careful, honest, logical and generous enough to bring all of society up to spec.  (Okay, enough with my tangent.  Perhaps a blog for another day…)

Back to the hit they put on my family:  
About 3 weeks to a month out from my wedding, I took my three-year-old, stepson shopping so he could pick out his Ring Bearer's pillow.  I couldn't help but notice as I walked through the plaza going from shop to shop and while I was in the Hallmark store, that we were being followed.  Why we were being followed to this day, I still don't know but to verify it was happening, I walked into the People’s Drugstore at the end of the Plaza and when the guy followed me in, I walked up to one of the employees and ask them if I could use their phone, while glancing directly in the guys direction.  There were no cell phones back then.  The guy turned around and walked out the door.  I ended up not calling anybody.  Instead, I took my son to the card department and looked at funny cards with him, while I did my best to muster up some laughs.  After a while, I carefully walked out of the store.  I never saw or at least recognized the guy again but it haunted me.  

My brother turned himself in and later did end up going to prison.  As I recall, he was facing 30 years in prison.  I think he only served about a year.  I believe the judge went soft on him because he had checked himself into a facility before things went down the way they did.  I also believe my brother would have been in jail much longer and maybe the whole 30 years had my parents not hired a lawyer for him.  While our judicial system of court appointed attorneys makes one think justice is equal in our country, it is with a very sad and troubled heart I tell you, that is not the case.  My brother was a good person, with a good heart.  It is so unfortunate, that he suffered in ways that he did and there are others like him that suffer far more for the inequalities in our judicial system, as well as the harsh and sometimes mis-judgements.  

When my brother came out of prison he went on to do great things with his life.  He was an entrepreneur and he created jobs for many other people.  He gave homes to the homeless and jobs to the jobless.  I can't imagine what it would have been like for my family, if he could have gotten the death penalty.  I can't imagine what would have been done to my family, had the dealers that supposedly put the hit out on my brother and his family, known that they were facing the death penalty and suspected him of being the one that was turning them in.

Just as they say, “Measure twice and cut once” so should we learn to think twice and act with precision.  Easier said than done, I know...

I wrote “You Can’t Get To Heaven From Here” for my brother.  







 

Cry Of A Generation

 

2,262 miles driven since my last blog. Memories, in the form of items, retrieved from my late parent’s home. The past week has been a whirlwind, both physically challenging and emotionally hard. I had many hours along the way to think about the loss of my parents, my brother and how that loss has affected me. I can't think about it without considering all the parents that have lost their children to school shootings and the children that have lost their friends and their own sense of security.  What's happening to us? To our world?

My earliest thought approach to life was that we are all in God's waiting room and we, each of us, are equally important.  My expectation was that each of us needs to be served, in order for us as a whole to be served. So I've always tried to walk into the waiting room assessing the needs of those around me, asking myself if there's something I can do to help them, in hopes that perhaps I may get myself helped a little sooner.  That's what I thought and still think mostly but for a while there, I found myself so exhausted by the demands of those around me, who were only too willing to be helped but not so much willing to help in return. It was like feeding a black hole. Their needs constantly increasing along with their demands upon me to fill those needs. I was 20 and exhausted…  Just about the time I was waking up to the realization that perhaps, I was not in God's waiting room but Darwin's waiting room, I doodled this scribble. When I read it over, I could not make sense of it, there was just this feeling of having purged something sick out of myself.


I was 20 at the time.  Then when I was 23, I was reading a book by Anne Rice, “Interview With The Vampire”.  I started to get sweaty. I felt faint and got so sick I started emptying my gut, literally. I had to put the book down for at least 6 months before I could pick it up, read it again to its completion without feeling ill.  The vampires had placed a girl in a coffin and were keeping her there, until they had gotten all her life had to offer out of her, in blood. I thought about what I had written just a few years prior, when I wrote “Gabrielle”.

I know things. I like to believe you do too.  But I just don't know from day to day, if I'm in God's waiting room or Darwin's and I don't know if we need help or if we need to be evolved.   I do know, I'm wringing my hands while trying to assess these complications and I am being so careful not to handcuff myself, by pledging allegiance to what I no longer understand.  What I do know without a doubt is that I don't want to be part of the problem, I just want to be part of the solution and at times that means I stand by paralyzed, afraid of reacting in a way that will doom myself or someone else in some way. It is so hard to be patient in these moments when my brain is anxiously trying to assess and my heart is demanding I save it with some form of heart redeeming action.


There was another doodle I started about the same time as "Gabrielle".  Over the years, it evolved into a song, I titled, “Cry Of A Generation”.  I felt we were investing our time, energy and resources, in the wrong areas. I was extremely conflicted between nature's definition of success and societies.  I concluded, success of life can only be achieved, when we protect, preserve it, and give to it, what it needs to thrive but as you may deduce from my song, it was not an easy choice, choosing success for my children, over perceived success of myself among my peers.  Society plays against this. It arranges things just so. It has arranged things just so, that we find ourselves in the position we are in today and until society evolves and understands that we are all in this together, in God's waiting room, awaiting our miracle. It will be blind to it's own ability to answer its own prayers and deliver that miracle, with the grace of God that can be found in ALL of us.
 

Consideration and editing left me late this week

 

I really wanted to be careful to say what I have to say. An attempt at grace. I don't want to mislead anyone into believing that I am a sad or depressed person when I write or speak of sad things but sometimes, I find things sad and when I am sad, I take note and question what would make it better? I am exceptionally blessed and at times exceptionally challenged. Having an awareness of all the ways I am blessed, also keeps me aware, that when I am challenged, I am perhaps less challenged than others. So I do my best to try to create ease for those in need or at the very least, give them a voice or use my own voice to call attention to their needs. This is why I blog about matters that may seem personal. I'm not looking for sympathy and I'm not looking to throw shadows at people. I just want to shine a light on things worth our consideration. My hope being that the messages get to the people who can make positive changes to our "systems" and help create ease, for those in need. I am not one to hold grudges. I am one who believes that we should speak up when we see flaws in the system and we should help others when we have the ability to help others get their needs met. It is with that hope that I share the following...

 

Last week, I got there at 12:45 p.m.  I had been told to be there at 1 p.m.  I came in with a migraine that started around my right eye, at 11 a.m.  I waited.  I looked around, saw the others like me, who were also waiting. I wondered if they, like me, had not eaten all day and if they had been only on clear liquids the day before? At 2 p.m, I was getting hangry, hanxious and impatient as my migraine progressed. I reminded myself how fortunate I am to be someone that normally gets to eat whenever the urge hits. I reminded myself, I was a participant in this, unlike many people in the world who were truly starving and sick because of it. I reminded myself, I could leave if I wanted.

 

They finally called me back around 3pm. My husband was not allowed to come with me.  I really wanted him to stay with me until they wheeled me back for my procedures but I was grateful, to be out of the waiting room and getting prepped for my procedures. It was after 7pm, when my husband was called back into the post opp room and they told me, while my colon was clean of any concerns, they did have to take biopsies of my esophagus. I was on my way home by 7:26pm.

 

I've made a habit of observing myself in uncomfortable situations.  Some self talk that went through my head last week, went something like this,  “Oh my gosh this sucks!!! This is not right!  It should not be this way!  How could anybody allow this to be this way!?!  Everything has become so industrialized, just line them up and get them all done at once.  I felt like a number, a dollar sign, an object...  Meanwhile, I had flashbacks to each of my parents going through the whole cancer “curing process".  I remembered how anxious my mother was, trying to help my father navigate through the "system". I remembered how later, when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, her card that she needed to check into her appointments would only work sometimes and she kept asking for a replacement but they kept insisting she just wasn't using the card right. Yet they never helped her with it, to see what was really going on.  I did and it appeared to work haphazardly.  I wondered how they did it, watched her struggle without involving themselves in helping her find a solution.  Were they burnt out on helping or did they just reason that it wasn't in their job description.  It didn't seem reasonable to me and I tried to ask questions and expressed my concerns, hoping they might see what I saw and come up with solutions.

As I laid there alone in pre-opp, with the curtains closed around me, tears slipping down my cheeks, I recounted these things I had witnessed. I attempted to find peace with it and with my concerns. I was thankful, the migraine I had, was slightly alleviated with the IV and the ice, the nurse had kindly placed at the base of head.  I prayed that maybe the others, there waiting, might be protected from the concerns and suspicions I had, that more important than our well being, was perhaps the money each of us represented. I was too aware the doctor had over-scheduled the procedures that day. I had heard an ugly remark from one of the members of the surgical team, as I lay there in pre-opp, he came in and chewed out one of the nurses for sending back too many doubles in a row. I was fearful to be in the care of that one and hoped that while I was under anesthesia and at my most vulnerable, there would be someone with the best of intentions in the room watching over me and my fellow patients there. It occurred to me time and time again it was a choice and I was a participant. I hoped it was the right choice.

I tried to record an acapella version of one of my songs called "Vulnerable" I tried and tried but kept getting interrupted and then got hit with a lousy case of tree pollen. I decided to leave it unfinished since sometimes that's the way life leaves things. It seemed to be one of those things that life kept interrupting for some purpose, beyond me. Frustrating as that was I decided to embrace it and let it be. It's here. just look for the shower and click. I liked the ambience the shower provided.

 

What can't be denied

 

"We can't deny what's happening here you're getting older and I'm getting older and I've seen the lines etched on your face a map to the past reminder of yesterday a time when you couldn't love me the way that I needed I thought you only loved me when I pleased you but now we push that pain aside what good is pain once we've learned the lessons it teaches and I can't deny when I look at your face the love that I feel the love that you've given me please won't you give me your hand I'll help you stand I can be strong now that you're not and you you could be strong for me give your hand to me that would show great strength indeed and we can't deny that all that we have is just here just now it's only this space in time please won't you give me your hand I'll help you stand I can be strong now that you’re not you you could be strong for me give your hand to me and it will give us the courage we both seek cause we can't deny What's Happening Here. What's Happening Here. What's happening…"--We Can't Deny"

What was happening?

 

So many generations of recycled pain. With each generation trying to heal, by placing burdens on their own children or choosing to transcend them.  One generation and then the next and then the next and then, it was my turn.  I wanted to transcend because lucky for me, my parents wrote “Love” on my heart.  They took in foster children and other people that were in need of support and love and taught me, "These are your brothers and sisters." And I got the message the world is full of my brothers and my sisters.  My parents had flaws but because they taught me to love and I loved them so much, I learned to forgive.  My parents brought a variety of different people into our home and into my life and they taught me to respect the differences in each person. They taught me that life changes on a dime and people that are precious to me, may not be here in the next moment, so I had better appreciate them while I could.  My mom taught me that leaving was a choice, should I ever find myself in a situation where my needs we're not getting met or I did not have a voice.  In regards to that, my father taught me that anyone with strong enough willpower could change for the ones he loves.  They both taught me that marriages are flawed from the beginning, as did some visits I had to my grandparent's homes. They showed me that marriages, much like hearts, need repairing.   Vows spoken in front of God and family don't make a marriage.  Marriages are built moment on moment, year after year.   Above all, my parents taught me to love.  And I'm so grateful for that!!!

 

When I wrote the song, "We Can't Deny" I thought what was important was, what was happening. My perspective is different today and I see that what was most important was actually what couldn't be denied about what was happening, THE LOVE. Love is wanting the best for the one that is loved. Maybe something worth thinking about the next time you look at some one you love. My brother, on his death bed said, "No one gets out of here alive." I say, "We never know when the last time, will be the last time, will be the very last time." we see someone we love, alive. It's about time we look to love and the many ways it wants to bridge us together and keep us from building walls around our hearts.

 

Giving her, her voice

 

I had gone to the beach with a friend's family.  It was Saturday and the following day I was due to go home.  I called my mom from a payphone. That's what we did back then.  I asked her if I could spend Sunday night at my friend's house.  I was 16.  She said I couldn't because I was starting school on Monday.  I said, “No, we go back next Tuesday.  The day after Labor Day”.  That's when she explained to me, how she and my father had been waiting to tell me that we were moving and I would be starting school in another state in just two days.  They didn't tell me sooner because they didn't want to ruin my summer... Anyway, there were no cell phones.  There was no internet.  There was just a handful of telephone numbers that I had memorized in my head and once again, there was me, losing the pieces of myself I had invested in others.  After having foster brothers and sisters come and go through my life, some friends that moved away, and even my mom's own disappearance from my family's life, just after I turned eleven, (though she did eventually return), I was beginning to see a pattern in my life.  


We don't have control over our circumstances as much as we would like to believe that we do.  But in those moments, the ones when we do, the decisions we make can play a major role in the circumstances that later develop.  I had learned this observing my father when his sugar levels would start to crash.  At times I could see my family reacting like dominoes.  All out of my control. Yet, like the perfect a little performer right on cue, I never missed the mark.  If you saw the performance enough times, you would see I was as predictable as I believed they were.  Years later, I would watch Dan like a hawk, trying to catch his tells.  I admired his self control.  What a strength, I thought and so contrary to a weaker person's attempt at strength through bullying, lies or manipulation.  While I had self control in other areas, I realized watching Dan, my self control muscles could still use some resistance training. I needed to learn to resist the urge to be reactive. It took years of practice before I actually found my muscle getting stronger here. Like muscles it takes constant maintenance. Use it or lose the ability. I wonder how the world would be if everyone trained this muscle...


Back to my story: Age 16, first day at my new school.  I was sent away to get some medical form.  But before this happened, I met a guy who is also a transfer.  We seemed to hit it off so wonderfully well and the fact he looked like the lead singer of Def Leppard only helped me think, “maybe this move thing isn't the worst thing that ever happened…hmmm”? When I came back the following day with the necessary medical form, I saw him in the hall and called out his name.  As he turned my way, out from behind him, popped this perky, pretty, friendly girl.  Who introduced herself to me and then said “I'm his girlfriend”!  As I tried to figure out how that happened so fast, she explained to me that they used to live in the same area, their parents were friends and both relocated to this area over the summer.  I thought to myself, “What's better, boyfriend potential or two new friends in a vast sea of people I don't know”?  Lucky for me, I had two great people to sit with in the cafeteria later that day and a new girlfriend, who could totally relate to what it was like to be the new girl at age 16.  Hers and my friendship lasted longer than her, boyfriend/girlfriend situation. Did I mention he was dreamy to look at? I wasn't the only one that noticed that little detail...


Okay, so now to my point. It was a recurring question in my youth.  How do you practice self control when you're attracted to your girlfriend's boyfriend?  How do you stave off jealousy, especially, when girls were, well, girl like? I was fortunate in that I had two older brothers and I was basically a tomboy, so I had a lot of guy friends growing up.  I preferred their company often to that of the back stabbing, drama nonsense that girls can pull, some aggressively deliberate and some in a reactionary state because you hurt them in some way you didn't realize you hurt them and they somehow think it is better to lash out than use their voice like a logical person would.. While I resent this behavior, I am no stranger to behaving this way in moments when I couldn't logically express myself. Go figure... So, guy friends, I preferred them and I learned, that cute guys, the ones I thought were cute but I didn't actually know, were just blank canvases for my romantic imagination.  Everything on those canvases and things I felt "for them" were from inside of me and not something they had.  Everything they felt about me, was from inside of them and had nothing to do with me. So what they felt about me, was not something that I had or lacked having.  Well, I knew that logically but of course there were moments I wasn't so logical... When I observed them and hung around them long enough, I could pick out the ones I had things in common with from the ones that, while attractive, weren't really going to hold my attention for long or were troubled in ways I didn't want to entangle myself up in. Did that kill the romance?  Not for me! It slowed things down a bit, which allowed me ample time, to find a mate that was more fitting of who I was, as a person. As a result, instead of a crap shoot, I got a royal flush.  Which IS pretty romantic, instead of heartbreaking. But I had my heart breaks too and I never wanted to put that kind of pain on someone else. Even as a teenage girl, I knew that and respected that boundary I set out for myself. I even wrote a song about the boundary, as a way of problem solving, for Y. My thought being if we understand Y the boundary exists, it helps lead to the understanding of YNOT go there? Y and YNOT were things I learned to take into consideration before acting on or reacting to, things and I realized not everyone did. So the song was written to explain it. Last week, I finally sat down to record and share, what that teenage girl, once thought, was so important to say. Once again, here is a link to my share page. Just look for the computer keyboard and you'll find the song.

 

"Save the Cheerleader, save the world" Hiro

 

“Save the cheerleader save the world!”  The tagline for the first season of “Heroes”.  Which I watched with my husband and my son, week after week as the story unraveled.  Oh, the anticipation, “What did it mean?” I asked myself, along with probably every other viewer. 

Now I would guess the average viewer didn’t give that tagline nearly as much consideration as I did or pull it out of the context it had been intended for but it dangled there in front of me like a crystal casting its light in all directions, It pulled me in, shared a secret with me.  A secret I want to share with you…  She pulled me in.  When I was struggling, she never failed to throw a great big beautiful, warm and friendly smile my direction.  Her name was Kristin.  She was on the Pom Squad and I totally had a crush on her brother!  She died in a car accident just after her 16th birthday.  I was in such shock at the news.  I was a year younger than her and my Mom had the hardest time encouraging me to learn to drive.  I had no interest.  It left me feeling responsible to somehow be what she was to myself, to others who might be going through challenging times.  I had a strong belief that a loss like hers would change the balance of our world for the worse.  I’ve been visited by these same thoughts since the loss of my mother. 

Years prior to Kristin’s car accident, I saw this special on TV, I think it was called Christmas miracles or something…  and they were supposed to be true.  One story was how this guy stopped to help a car crash victim and got him to the hospital in time to save the crash victim’s life.  Years later, the guy that stopped to help, gets a phone call, his son is in the hospital and was accidentally shot by a hunter.   He would have died, except a young doctor had been hiking nearby and saved his life.  Gets more interesting, when they explain the doctor turns out to be the son of the man, who was in the car crash.  Had the man not lived all those years earlier, he would not have gone on to father the young doctor, that in the end saved the son of the man, that saved the young doctor’s father’s life.   The whole idea of this made such an impact on me and how our pasts and our futures are connected by our moments, our now and what we do with it.   

In that moment, as I sat there contemplating “Save the cheerleader save the world” I knew that I wanted to find a way to save the cheerleaders, the girls of our country from things I witnessed growing up, as well as give them what I could of my own experience to help them navigate their way through their own challenges.  I wanted to lend my voice and since losing my mother, more than ever this is so.  I look around at our world and I am concerned about the future of humans, I fear we are losing our humanity.  I fear we have disrespected women, children, the elderly and the vulnerable with a winner take all mentality.  What kind of world is that?  It's a a world where cheerleaders can’t thrive.  I hope you will consider this and continue to try to save them.  If you save them, if you help them save their ability to dream and make their own hopes realities, they will save the world!