Sharp Edged Snow (#10)

A piercing scream had me sitting bolt upright from a dead sleep, smashing my forehead on the top bunk support beams. Tears pricked my eyes as I stumbled out of bed and made for the door. I kicked toys out of my way, avoiding the Barbie shoes and Lego pieces with experienced steps.

“Gabby! What happened?” I yelled into the empty hall way.”Is Fritz okay? Where’s the baby?”

“Sasha it’s SNOWING! Come here!”

I could hear Fritz singing loudly and baby Jeanne laughing, probably at his goofy faces.

So the shriek was of delight, not fear. My stomach unclenched a bit and I detoured to the bathroom to look at the faint black and blue egg rounding on my head. It bled a little and I slapped a band-aid on it. I’d be the butt of all the unicorn jokes for the next week. Sometimes siblings sucked.

I huffed at my reflection, hazel eyes and curly dark brown hair I threatened to cut off every other week. But Mama liked my long hair so I kept it. I grabbed a hair tie and wove it into a braid while I traveled through the maze of hallways in Grandfather’s mansion. Having lived there for most of my life I didn’t really notice the priceless paintings hanging on the walls or the museum quality vases and statuettes on pedestals anymore. We lived in his ancestral home, passed down from Bromser Grandfather to Bromser  Son since it had been built. The accumulation of wealth was staggering when you thought about it all at once but I was a teenager. What did I care for art and dusty books when there was TV and Kindles?

I did notice the gaping holes in the floor where workers were replacing the plumbing and the buckets of plaster surrounded by smoothers and scrapers for the crumbling ceiling. Three out of the six bathrooms were in disarray, being re-tiled and caulked. There were paint chips and furniture catalogs sitting on boxes in corners.  There were hazards everywhere, thanks to Mama and Grandfather.

They had a crazy idea to turn the Bromser estate into a hotel or a bed and breakfast or something, which meant it needed updating. For me, it meant hazards to keep the younger kids away from and summer break would be spent painting and shopping. Ugh.

Down one flight of steps, two flights and I walked into the main foyer. The excitement got louder and I followed it into the informal living room where we spent a large majority of the day since that was where the big screen TV and computer was.

“Sash! Can we go out? There’s so much of it. The ground is nearly covered!” Gabby, the second youngest, looked at me with wide hopeful eyes that looked just like mine and she dragged me to the large window. She gave me a second glance and a little frown. “What happened to your head?” I ignored the question and peered outside. There was indeed a large swath of white covering the lawn. For a moment I swelled with excitement. Snow! We’ve never ever gotten snow this late in Spring!

“I bet I can beat you in a snow ball fight, Unicorn brain,” Fritz said, grinning at me. I rolled my eyes. So predictable. He carried baby Jeanne who slapped the window and drooled, making baby sounds of excitement. I scoffed at his bet, turning my nose up at his ginger hair. He was Grandfather’s “mini-me”, the only one in the family with orange hair now that Papa had passed on.

“Like you ever have, Carrot head. You can’t beat the Queen of Diamonds.”

My nickname on the softball field. I was a beast at sports, on my way to getting a full scholarship to my top choice university. Fritz rasberried me, knowing it was true so he couldn’t say anything. “Besides, there’s not even enough yet to make a ball. A snow pebble maybe.”

“It’s still coming down. I bet we could build a snow man by dinner time.”

I took baby Jeanne away from him and wiped her slobbery mouth with her bib. She patted my cheeks, asking for “outside”.

“You’re making a lot of bets you can’t win Fritz.”

“Saasshhhhhaaaaaaaa! Let’s goooooooooo!” Gabby whined.

I stared out at the falling snow. Yeah there was no way we were missing that.

“Alright,” I relented. “Go get shoes and a jacket.”

“Yaayyyyyy!”

My siblings tore off to get ready and I found some pants and shoes for the baby, who kept insisting for “outside” and struggling against my efforts to clothe her. I stepped into a pair of Mama’s Uggs, too big still but I was too lazy to walk back upstairs. I shrugged on a flannel of Grandfathers from the coat closet and we waited for the others by the window. The wind changed direction and started blowing the snow across our porch. I frowned down at it as a few pieces swept across the wood. Since when did snow have sharp corners? And it looked kind of dirty. More yellowish than pure white.

I looked up and saw that the sky was bright blue–no clouds in sight. When did snow ever fall without clouds? That was impossible. I saw a formation of planes roaring away in the distance when I looked farther across the sky. We never saw that many planes out here either.

I cracked open the window, expecting a chilly breeze against my skin. Warm scented wind curled around me and I began to suspect something was very wrong. When Fritz and Gabby came tearing back downstairs and tried to pull open the door I stopped them with a fearful shout.

They looked at me and scowled.

“What gives Sasha?” Fritz said, annoyed.

“It’s not snow,” I whispered and I pointed out the window. “Look down.”

Fritz huffed over to me and shoved me out of the way, looking at the porch. He looked back at me with his eyebrows raised, a stupid expression on his face.

“It has EDGES, dummy! And there’s black specks on it. What has sharp edges and black specks?”

Gabby pressed her face to the window.

“Books?”

“Books,” I agreed. “Those are book pages.”

“But why?”

I took Jeanne away from the window, which made her squawk in protest and I went to the computer, jiggling the mouse to wake up the screen. I saw Fritz creep toward the door and I picked up the nearest object and threw it at him. A book.

“OW SASHA!”

“You idiot! Don’t go out there!”

His freckled face turned red and he rubbed the spot where the book hit him; square in the shoulder, where I’d aimed.

“You’re the idiot! It’s just paper.”

“And what if it’s coated in anthrax or something Fritz? What if it has the bubonic plague wiped all over it or the avian bird flu, huh?”

He crossed his arms and slouched against the wall, once again beaten by his older sister. Gabby came over to me, solemn faced. We waited for the home screen to pop up and I pinned Jeanne’s hands away from the keyboard long enough to type into google “world news”. The first article to pop up was written in bold letters “GOVERNMENT BANS BOOKS”.

“Oh my god,” I whispered and clicked on the link.

I read the article silently, scrolling slowly through the extensive article. Words like “terrorism” and “anarchy” and “control” pierced me and my jaw went slack. A yawning scream started inside my head the longer I read and my stomach clenched with nausea. This was so much worse than I initially thought.

“What?” Fritz asked, coming out of his pity party long enough to realize I wasn’t paying attention to him at all.

“They’re banning books,” I said, barely able to get the words out.

He scoffed and my hackles raised instantly.

“So what? Books are dumb. Whatever we need we can get on the internet.”

I set Jeanne down on the floor and I stood, my back to Fritz so I wouldn’t feel the need to punch his stupid face.

“It’s because of people like YOU that this even happened,” I growled. “You’d believe anything the government tells you. The internet doesn’t always boast the truth. The only true source of knowledge is books.”

“Hey I had nothing–”

“It’s not about BOOKS though!” I barked. “It’s about the government taking away our freedom of speech. They’re superseding the Constitution, taking away what makes America, America and stomping all over it. If there’s no line they can’t cross, they’ll take everything over and they just crossed that line. We’ll become a dictatorship.”

“Oh yeah okay–” His voice was dripping with so much sarcasm  I could have strangled him with it. “How do you even know what you’re reading is true if the internet lies?”

“It’s right there on our front lawn! They’re trying to control the flow of information and suppress the truth of the people. They want to do our thinking for us so we don’t question them anymore. They’ll say it’s for our own good but they just want to make us subservient sheep.”

I gave Fritz a hateful glare. “For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means slavery.”

He didn’t move or say anything. He just stared at his scuffed sneakers. I stormed over to one of Grandfather’s book shelves and pulled out a worn copy of Aesop’s Fables. I waved it at Fritz.

“This was your favorite bed time story book as a kid,” I said. “It had beautiful illustrations you would stare at while Mama read you the story and you would talk about what the stories meant. They were teaching you and giving you memories. This is a learning tool but also history passed down from generation to generation. The stories of our ancestors.”

I pulled another one out, a Frederic Nietzsche tome.

“This guy had a voice, an opinion. People idolize him for his knowledge and his truth, for being different and not being afraid to say what he saw. The government hated him and the people loved him and now they want him to disappear. What will happen when Frederic is gone; when no one remembers his truths?”

Fritz didn’t have an answer for me. Either he was too stupid to understand what was really going on or he was sulking about me being right. Again. Either way, it pissed me off.

“They’re going to destroy all the books. History. Fiction. Philosophy. Manga.”

There was a pregnant pause. I knew Fritz loved his manga. It was probably the only thing that he read and the only thing that would have bothered him about this take over.

“It’s a hostile take over, guys. And it’s only going to be the first step.”

There was so much more roiling inside me; so many more things I needed to say out loud. My siblings didn’t get it. It wouldn’t become real to them until the soldiers broke down the door and took all the books outside and burned them. It wouldn’t be real until it was too late. I wondered with an inward scoff if my Kindle account had already been wiped.

“I want Mama,” Gabby whispered, her lip wobbling at my harsh tones. She was carrying baby Jeanne, clinging to her like she would a stuffed animal, afraid to let go. Jeanne was still insisting for “outside.”

“I do too Gabby. Lets go call her while our stupid brother stays here like an angry little kid.”

“Shut up Sasha,” he grumbled and crossed his arms.

When I passed him on the way to the kitchen, I flicked his forehead in annoyance.

“Wake up, dummy. This is real life, not a movie.”

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Quickie #29 Lazy days and Sun rays

PROMPT: What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day?

I don’t really have a clear answer for this. Or rather, I have too many answers for this.

Most of my days now are spent by myself and I can do what I want whenever I want (now that I have a carrrrrr!!!) so whenever I have a day “off” it’s spent reading or watching Netflix or window shopping.

I enjoy staying home most of the time. I’m a hermit by nature and I like being with my kids. They’re friggin’ hilarious.  Going on a family outing to a restaurant or bowling is nice when we have a little extra to spend. Eventually we’ll even get brave enough to take the kids to different KINDS of restaurants,other than McDonald’s and Burger King (haaa…)

One kind of lazy day I enjoy is when I can read all day under the covers or curled up on the couch with endless cups of tea and then get gussied up to go out at night to a concert or to a bar with a sassy friend. Sometimes I like to listen to loud music and shout at people until my throat is sore. It’s rare, but the release is nice.

When I’m feeling like I need a change or scenery, sometimes I’ll pack a picnic and go cruise the back roads with the radio blasting and the windows down. It’s even better when a friend is driving and we’re singing together and rehashing “the good ol’ days”. Granted this is more a spring and summer activity but still one of my faves. I love being kidnapped for adventures.

I especially like the rare days I get to spend with my mom since she works evenings/ early mornings and then sleeps during the afternoon when I have to work. We’re employed by the same company but work in different stores so when we do get together we tell horror stories about it and empathize with each other.

Retail is AWESOME. You should try it!

At the core of it though my favorite lazy days require mainly Entertainment, Drinks (alcoholic or non, doesn’t matter), Laughter and Family. And maybe throw in some good home-made food although pizza is never a bad option.

Quickie #28 Inked

PROMPT: What is something that you and your parents will always disagree on? 

Tattoos!

Not getting ink was one of those things that my mother and I agreed on until about the end of college. I didn’t see the point of getting stabbed thousands of times over and over by a needle for a piece of art work that can’t be removed except by a laser and thousands of dollars. That’s a lot of thousands. Plus I never felt attached enough to any one theme or image to permanently tattoo it on my skin.

Then I had kids and all sorts of ideas changed.

When my sister in law got her own tattoo kit, I jumped on the chance to try it out. Everyone else was doing it and I was feeling brave/belligerent. So my first tattoos were done in a living room on my wrists. “MJ” and “CJ”, My girls’ initials. The pain was annoying and uncomfortable but tolerable. I think the worst part was the healing because it itched so bad!

Gotta tell ya though. With tattoos, one is never enough. Yes it hurts but after a few days, you forget the pain and your brain starts shuffling through possibilities. You go on pinterest or deviantart or instagram and look at what other people have done. You research and gain knowledge and laugh at the crappy tattoo fails. Then you begin to wonder where you should get it done. What shop? What artist? Where should you get it? How big? What’s the cost?

I got extremely lucky with my tattoo artists. I walked into a random shop and slapped down my design and said “I want that”. An hour later I was getting inked by a guy named Mowgli on my foot. Two years later I went back to the same shop with my cousin/bestie Becky and we got matching tattoos behind our ears by a guy named Danny with the quietest gun I had ever heard. It purred! I mean, most tattoo guns sounds like the drills from dentists offices. (That sound is beginning to psychologically scar me because it automatically means PAIN IS COMING.) But tattoos are a pleasant kind of pain because 1) you choose it and 2) you’re getting a one of a kind piece of art on your skin.

The latest one hurt more than I remembered because it was done like a water color with many shades on my shoulder, near the blade. Shading on the bone HURTS, folks. Ain’t gonna lie. My face was permanently screwed up into a pained scowl for half an hour. I got it for my sister, who is in love with rainbows and Disney’s The Lion King. (It still itches…gr.)

I have many more tattoos planned.

My arms are going to become memorial sleeves for my girls; a tribute to my memories of their life. Their favorite My Little Pony characters (something we all have shared together), their favorite animals (owls and butterflies), their favorite hobbies (video games and drawing), quotes that remind me of them,  and accomplishments over their life times.

My feet are going to represent the journey that I have taken; the path I’ve walked. My left foot already has tats that represent a people of significance. My right foot will represent another with a tea cup and a tulip.

I want the Japanese kanji for “create” on my neck flanked by a pair of wings.

I want a wolf on my back to represent my mother and her love for wolves but also for all the various kinds of wolves that have been at/had my back over the years. Wolves have followed me my entire life, so why not have one to permanently represent that?

I want a stack of books inked somewhere on me, maybe with a feather quill.

I want a few quotes on my ribs (Which I know will hurt like hell so they’ll be short!)

A commitment this will take decades to fill in. I SO want to be that awesome tatted granny with pink hair. HECK YES.

I told my mom that if I ever died and my face was unidentifiable, she would know me by my tattoos. She didn’t appreciate the humor there but I thought it was a plus!

Quickie #27 Fit as a fiddle

PROMPT: Have you even been significantly less or more physically fit than you are today? What was different about that? What was easier? Harder? Did others treat you differently? 

I was really fit as a teen. Wasn’t nearly everyone though? I walked two miles to school and home, lifted a 30 lbs back pack most of the day, ran around like a nut bar at lunch and was invited to go do active things with my friends like camping, theme parks, and bonfires at the beach. I was also “blessed” genetically with an hourglass figure so I had a tiny waist, and larger hips and breasts. (I can tell you for a FACT that having an hourglass figure is NOT ideal, no matter what people say. Clothes never fit right >_>) You could count my ribs when I stretched. I was about 110 lbs back then and ate whatever I wanted. I looked good in a bikini even. Life was carefree.

Two kids and ten years later, I’ve still maintained my hourglass shape although it has a significant amount of meat around it now. I gained 50 lbs and still eat whatever I want but that’s mainly due to the depression.

I don’t think that weight gain has changed how people treat me. I married my high school sweet heart so it’s not like I needed a hawt body to gain lovers. He prefers more meaty women anyway (although he admits when I force him to that I have an unhealthy weight at the moment). More cushion for the pushin’. My friends have gained a fair bit of weight themselves so it’s not like they can legit judge me (not that they would). The only bad association I have with my body is my own dissatisfaction with it.

It’s hard to see how over weight I am. I absolutely hate posing for pictures and wearing form-fitting clothing. My knees have a lot of strain on them from the excess weight and I tire easily while hiking or walking places. My strength is at its limit carrying one flat of water from the car to the house. My body is weak and flabby and it adds to the depression.

I’ve tried with increasing success to get into an exercise routine over the years. It hasn’t stuck for one reason or another but I have whittled down all the thousands of variables out there to a few that I consistently come back to.

First one is a free channel on YouTube called FITNESS BLENDER. I love Daniel and Kelli! They’re real people, no gimmicks. Trained professionals without any flash or pomp. Their videos aren’t fakey and peppy with clapping and shouting and loud music. They often do modifications for low impact needs in their videos and they always remind you to breathe and keep proper form. I tell ya, I LIVE for the “Workout complete” at the end. They have hundreds of free videos of all types to choose from. Yoga, HIIT, Tabata, Bored Easily, Strength training, Cardio, Pilates, Stretching, Kettle bell, Weight lifting…there’s something for everyone. You can also buy put-together programs from their website if you need more direction. Super helpful and focused routines. I discovered I love weight lifting because of these videos. And I dislike cardio. Haaa.

Second is a two fold variable that’s a no brainer. 1) Get rid of 90% of the junk food in the house. Candy, cookies, Kool-Aide, soda, ice cream, donuts, muffins…you know, all the good stuff. I do keep some dark chocolate around for those days where I need a sweet treat but the rest is gone. If my kids want a treat we’ll go out and buy a candy bar or an ice cream. Put the effort for the reward. 2) clean eating. Duh. But not all at once!

I’ve found that trying to do whole grains, veggies at every mean, no added salt, no red meat, no packaged dinner, etc is over whelming all at once, especially while trying to make changes for the whole family. It’s basically a one way track to a table flip and binge eating. Instead, do ONE thing first for a few weeks then add something to it.

It’s better to sustain a healthy diet gradually than to completely change your diet all at once. Your body is programmed to want as much food as possible as a survival instinct leftover from the cave man days. (It’s a true fact!) So it won’t like that you’re depriving it or giving it rabbit food at first. But if you give it little bits of things and force it to accept this is OK, then it will be easier to do more in the future. This method works well for me by adding more veggies first. I found out I LOVE Bell Peppers this way. I ate them cooked all the time but now eating them raw is one of my favorite snacks. Throw in some pepper jack cheese and MMMM YUMMY! I found my teeth can handle baby carrots better than regular full carrots and my girls prefer the smaller carrots as well (psychological trick for their brains smaller=less but really it’s one regular sized carrot broken down into littler chunks.) I’d eat broccoli at every meal if I could. Seriously. And I’m down for a salad as long as I have all the stuff to make one.

Exercise really is about sustainability. Humans are “Instant gratification” creatures, which is how we get fat in the first place. It’s not easy to change, no matter what road you take. But make little changes first and you’ll find you’ll beat yourself up a little less when you cheat or fall off the wagon for a bit. Redemption is only a Carrot stick away 😉 Focus on maintenance rather than end results.

And so at the conclusion of this blog post, I want to say I am getting back ON the band wagon. I’m going to try to meet my bestie Owen in May for his graduation. He’s a hard-core fitness buff Kineseologist going to college to be an Athletic Trainer. So I’m a little self-conscious. But major changes can happen in two months with moderate exercise and cutting out half the “Good stuff” from my diet.

Or so he says. We’ll see.

Quickie #26 Magick with a K

PROMPT: What is something about you someone might misinterpret that you want to explain? 

Well! I am one whole mess of misinterpretation to be honest.

My family spoils me by seeing past my someone tactless dialogue to the meaning of my words. I have to back pedal a lot with strangers because they don’t quite understand my particular brand of communication. This is why writing is so much easier. Backspace button, YEAH!!

I cry at everything, even when I’m not sad. I cry at dog rescue videos on Facebook. I cry during movies, sometimes at the same part every time I re-watch it. I cry when people do nice things for each other. I cry sometimes when people compliment me. (I blame this on my tear ducts being probed a couple of times as a kid. They’re extra-large now, ya know?)

But for this particular prompt I wanted to talk about something that is passingly familiar to most people and yet widely debated.

The Tarot.

Quickie history lesson:

A set of divination cards most commonly used by pagans and occult groups but there are variations used in many different cultures. They originated as a simple card game called “Triumph” or “Tarocchi” brought over from the Islamic countries into Europe. Then certain occult groups saw further meaning in the cards and adapted them into their philosophy.

The deck has 22 major arcana cards and 4 suits of minor arcana 1-10 plus 4 court cards. The suits are the cups, swords, wands and pentacles. Each suit has a general meaning and each card an individual one, which play an important part in interpreting the layout of the cards in a reading.

Now I get why there’s so much controversy surrounding the Tarot. I’ve heard all the arguments and I’m not going to get into them. What I want to tell you is how I use them and how they’re helpful for me.

I’ve been interested in Tarot since I was a kid. I came across a young adult book series called Circle of Three by Isobel Bird (FABULOUS! I’m re-reading it now.) It follows three girls as they explore Witchcraft for a year and a day and one of the things they learned about was Tarot. I read about them in books but I was never given my own deck (because Tarot works best when gifted and not bought.) As an adult I remedied that. But I don’t really use the tarot to try and divine my future, as is the common misunderstood use for them.

What I use tarot for is to focus my thoughts.

Sometimes my head gets so muddled and confused about an issue I feel my brain is going to wring itself to death. So when I get out my deck it’s with the intention of trying to focus on the heart of the issue, which is the first step. How do I put what I want to know into a single question? This intention stops my brain from being a headless chicken for a second and it’s forced to think of a single line of words.

While I think, I shuffle the deck, which has always been a long time relaxation method for me. I would sit for hours in my room just shuffling cards as a kid and letting the rush and thwack of the plastic lull my mind into quietude. Then, when I felt the cards had been sufficiently shuffled and my question was clear in my head, I would lay out the cards.

There are different kinds of “spreads” you can do in Tarot depending on how in depth you want to go with a question and what kind of question it is. If it’s a simple advice question like “What do I need to be reminded of today?” then usually a one card draw is sufficient. If one needs to ask a question that has choices, it might be better to use a two or three card draw. If one has an in-depth soul-searching question like “Why do I have so much anger?” then a larger spread might yield more answers.

Now I’m not proficient at reading the individual cards yet. I still need google to help me figure out what they all mean. But this, again, helps me focus my mind in an orderly and step by step fashion. Even if some folks believe Tarot manipulates people into believing in generalized advice (like horoscopes), I still like to use it. It often gets me to realize things I didn’t notice before; a branch of thought that may be the lynch pin for all my turmoil. Plus, the illustrations are beautiful and soothing, adding another layer of distraction.

I find that after doing a reading, my mind is a lot calmer and I feel less stressed. So isn’t that a good thing? I don’t care about controversy. I care about a peaceful mind. Tarot is my counselor and trust me, it’s a lot cheaper. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

(P.S. Were you wondering why magick with a ‘K’? To differentiate from sleight-of-hand magic 😉 The image featured is the tarot deck I use drawn by the super talented Stephanie Pui-Mun Law)

Quickie #25 Writer’s gonna Write

Prompt: Does writing Change you? How does writing make you a better person? 

I’ve been writing since I was in grade school and I’ve always found it to be beneficial.

At first it was just fun. School assignments or characters I would make up. Poems and plays for my friends. Super hero girl power stories and doomed romance stories with secret crushes. The summer going into my sixth grade year was also when I started to hand write my very first novel. It got up to 900 pages of lined college ruled paper before I moved on. (I spent a lot of time in my room avoiding my step dad.)

Then it was therapy in middle school. I would write about the turmoil of boyfriends and catty jealous girls. I would write about my abusive step dad and my vagrant sister. Problems with my friends, school dances, summer vacations, shocking revelations (Like when I could finally reach the top shelf of the cupboards and my first kiss). All this sprinkled with various stories snippets and pieces of dialogue. Middle school was when I first started to write my Silver Sun novel and I wrote a couple of poems that got published.

High School was when I first started to realize that my dream really was to become an author. Glimmers of it would waft through my mind while teachers and college reps touted science and math majors at me. (As if!) I was still too shy to share my ugly baby stories with the world but I would lose myself in writing. I got my first (used) computer in high school and I still remember the huge clunky keyboard and the loud clacking keys. Floppy Disks! The huge boxy monitor barely fit on my small fold out table but I loved it. I would spend hours on it, hunched over, totally absorbed in writing.

Taking English and literary classes in college was what really sold me on the idea of writing and publishing. I’ve been writing steadily ever since and the journey has culminated in this blog.

Writing got me through the trials of having two young girls at home alone with me. It got me through rough patches in my marriage. It got me through my isolation and anger and loneliness.

I would say, without a doubt, that writing is the thing that saved me from myself. I would not be Jessica Jordan without my love of books and writing. I don’t even want to know that person. It’s too terrifying to contemplate o_o

Quickie #24 Benched

PROMPT: When was the last time you felt needed?

Any parent of young children will tell you that they are never NOT needed. It’s a given. Making food, helping with homework, walking them to school, putting band-aids on scrapes and staying up late into the night when they have a nightmare. There’s cleaning and laundry and doctor’s appointments. Tantrums and time outs. It can seem exhausting and frustrating (and often is) but then when they STOP needing you–it’s like a kick in the gut.

Suddenly they can walk themselves to school and don’t want to be seen in public kissing their parents. Or with their parents period. You turn around one day and they’re reaching the top shelf to get the cereal box down without having to stand on their tippy toes. They’re doing homework YOU don’t understand. You’ve become obsolete.

So what happens after that? What happens when parents became bystanders instead of active players? How does one go about feeling needed?

You find a new role.

I witnessed my mom do it with me in middle school. One day she wasn’t just Mom anymore. She was my counselor, my friend, my teacher. It’s like my eyes opened a little wider and I saw her more clearly as someone more than just a cook and a housekeeper. She took an interest in my interests and there were something things we shared together as a young adult and a friend.

I think I opened her eyes a little bit too because suddenly I had my own opinions that refuted hers and we had calm and rational discussions about it. I defended my choices against her and I knew it was hard for her not to assert her authority over me and say “BECAUSE I SAID SO”. We still have a good relationship to this day as two grown women trying to make it in the world. It’s still a little weird to talk about sex and intimacy with my mom sometimes but she’s still my mom. I trust her more than anyone in the world.

For those of you who aren’t parents, in order for you to feel needed, I recommend volunteering or joining a group that shares your interests. I volunteer at an Animal Shelter with my free time. Shelters ALWAYS need help and you get paid in doggie kisses. There ain’t nothing better! But if you’re not an animal person you can volunteer at a political campaign or help an environmentalist group clean up a park. You can join a Book club or a bowling league or take a photography class.

Try anything. Because you can.

It’s really not about needing to be needed. It’s about finding contentment in your own life ASIDE from being needed. Some people feel bereft without someone depending on them. I feel that this is an excuse to look away from one’s own deep-seated problems; using distractions to keep them busy. It takes a while to realize this and to take appropriate action but I’m here to tell you, this is how it is. If you can’t be content being by yourself, in your own life, nothing else will give you true happiness. You’ll always be looking for someone else to fill your cup and you really should be filling your own.

Share your happiness with others. Don’t depend on them to do it for you.