Monday, April 9, 2012

Memories of Moma

My mom used to tease me because I always wrote "Moma", which I guess isn't quite right, but I never changed it. Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of her death and I miss her as much today as I did all those years ago.  I was blessed to have an amazing relationship with my mom. Oh, certainly there were horrible fights, especially during the teen years, but truly she was my dearest friend.  She was a"cool" mom in the neighborhood and it was not unusual for there to be a herd of kids hanging at my house.  I swear half the time they were there to see her rather than Karen or I.  She loved everyone and people were just comfortable with her. I know many of my friends sought her counsel when they had a problem rather than their own parents.  I was proud of her.  I wonder if I ever told her that. 

She was beautiful, too.  We spent hours together playing with make up and fixing our hair.  She taught me to wash my face and moisturize every morning and night and I am so grateful for that simple advice today!  She taught me to be proud of my appearance and that when you took time to look your best, you were more confident.  I appreciate that. She was stubborn as a mule (as was my dad so I come by it naturally) and if she felt strongly about something, she would never give up fighting for it. 

Moma liked to have fun, too.  She loved to dance and we would often move the furniture around in our den to make room for our own personal dance parties.  She loved people and taught me that no matter where folks came from or what their background may be, everyone was worthy of love.  She practiced what she preached, too, by becoming a foster parent.  She was a tough parent, but I guarantee you she loved every single child that came through her home in the foster program.  Several stayed in touch with her until her death.  That meant so much to her and also to me. 

She had strong faith in God.  Even after the darkest tragedy a parent can suffer, the loss of a child, her faith stayed strong.  I guess it was the thing that allowed her to go on living and to actually find joy beyond my sisters death.  She had a capacity to forgive that I've rarely seen in others, certainly not in myself. 

Mom moved to Michigan shortly after my sisters death.  I realized that she needed a change in her life to help her cope and while I was sad to see her move, I supported it.  I am blessed, however that she chose to move to Nashville and lived near me for the rest of her life.  We talked every day.  She was my closest confidant, my greatest cheerleader and I loved her so very, very much.  She died much too young at the age of 64.  Rarely a day goes by since her passing that I don't think of her.  Today, on the anniversary of her death, I am trying my best to take comfort in my many great memories of her and times we had together.  Yes, I've shed a few tears today and will probably shed a few more before days end, but many are tears of joy that I was blessed with a wonderful mother who I know loved me with every ounce of her being. 

Miss you Loleta, today and every day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Falling In Love

I'm on a quest to love myself more, treat myself better and discover my self worth again.  It isn't just about building better self esteem, it is truly about learning to love myself.  I want to look myself in the eyes in the mirror and say "I love you" and really mean it.  I know this is a struggle for many of us, maybe even most of us.  Now, let me clarify a bit.  I do not suffer from self loathing.  I have a fair amount of self confidence.  This is really about treating myself as well as I treat the people in my life that I love.  I feed myself a lot of negativity.  I'm constantly telling myself that I am not smart enough, especially in my work environment. Often I stoop so low that I bully myself.  Seriously bully myself with comments like "you're a fat cow", "you are so fucking ugly", "you're an idiot".  I would never in a million years have these kind of thoughts or say these hurtful words to a friend.  Actually, quite the opposite.  I love and value every single friend I am blessed to have in my life.  I am often cheering a friend along with postive and sincere messages of their value.  I chide them if they are saying negative things about themselves.  I try to affirm their value, their beauty, their worth every opportunity that I can.  I have a rule to compliment at least one person every day of my life.  Sincerely compliment someone. Sometimes that small thing can make someones day. I honestly can't remember the last time I gave myself a compliment. 

My struggle goes deeper than just about physical appearance, although that certainly is a part of it.  Women have been bombarded for decades with media that tells us how we should be.  Advertising and images have told us we can't have a wrinkle, carry a few extra pounds, show a grey hair or two.  Our teeth have to be blazing white, our lips full and pouty, our demeanor sexy and energized.  It is exhausting trying to live up to the standard that our commercial society has created for us.  I've certainly bought into it.  I have a bathroom full of creams and potions and paints to help me look as young and pretty as I possibly can at 52 years old.  Being a middle aged woman is tough.  You become invisible.  It is hard to accept that you are probably not going to walk into a room and turn heads any longer.  Loving yourself through this transition is difficult but so important.  I'm trying harder.

I recently was killing time on a good friends facebook page checking out her fabulous pictures and stuff.  I noticed on her profile that under the heading "About You" she had simply written "nothing exciting".  That broke my heart a bit.  This woman is smart, beautiful, kind and loving.  She is fun, adventerous and a great friend to those she loves.  The fact that she doesn't see any of these things about herself is exactly what I am talking about. 

Anyway, for today I am going to do my best to look at myself in a gentler light.  I am going to try and focus on enjoying my own company as I would enjoying the company of a best friend.  I am going to tell myself "I love you" and maybe even touch my face lovingly as I do it.  Corny, maybe, but would I do that same gesture to a loved one?  Of course I would.  Do it for yourself today, too.  Just concentrate on today.  Tomorrow, try again. 

Hey Katona.....I love you, girl!