Author Archives: Teresita

About Teresita

I am a writer, a thinker, an introvert, work behind the scenes kind of person - I am of Puerto Rican blood, have an Italian soul, and a Berliner mind....just learning...♥

Reality: Possibility of Growing Old Alone

I am finally able to sit and think about my life the past couple of weeks.  I have had two funerals to attend.  That started a conversation with one of my friends about being an elder orphan – we are both single, no children – we are aging alone with no family available to address our future care-giving needs.

I never actually sat down and thought of this.  Now I have to start thinking and working on a plan for aging without a family for support.  I am most likely going to grow old alone.  So I need to prepare to age alone.  I am okay with this.   I am and have been a caregiver to many in my immediate family – my grandmother, my Dad, my Mom and even my Step Dad –  so I know what it entails.  I guess I have to start answering the question, “Who is going to do that for me?”  Not overwhelmingly daunting yet … just hitting home that I have to start making more conscious decisions going forward … with hope in my heart and grace in my step.


Healing from abusive parents

Emotionally, today has been a very hard day.  I am the primary caregiver of my sick, aging mother and step father – today they were down right toxic and I could barely tolerate them.  They are so oblivious to my well being and so verbally and emotionally abusive.  I am drained.  Depressed.  Suffering from PTSD.  My anxiety is at an all-time high and now that I am upstairs away from them, I can’t stop crying.

I am working on maintaining peace and keeping my self esteem from hitting rock bottom.  For so many years, I have tried to have a relationship with them especially my mother, but it has been hard and disappointing.  So many times it was painful and upsetting – like today.

I get up early, I run errands for them.  I clean their apartment.  I pay the bills.  I try to be pleasant.  But they were both so critical and demeaning today.  I was too slow, too stupid, too lazy, too fat according to them.  We had torrential rains yesterday and had a leak from the second floor to the first and had to replace some of the drop ceiling tiles.  My step dad was insistent on going with me, caused a scene at the hardware store.  I found myself apologizing to all.  He continued to berate me in front of all these strangers calling me stupid, blind – I was trying so hard to remain calm, not cry.  It made me so sad and tired.  We finally made it back home.  Now I had to write to calm myself down.  Words flow out of me, help me focus on good not the bad.

I decided early in my teens to study psychology.  I really needed to understand how to survive in a highly dysfunctional family, with emotionally neglectful parents.  I know all too well what they weren’t able to give me, how they failed me.  I had tried to talk to them years ago but to no avail,  They were not willing to acknowledge nor understand.  So I kept some distance but the past seven years has me back home helping them full time.  It was a decision I made  with many doubts but I felt I had no choice.  They needed help.  I struggle daily on how to handle the pain that I feel every day when my  parents treat me as if I am invisible and I don’t matter.   

I am a compassionate, sensitive person  Always have been – even to my detriment.  I understand that my parents did not have the easiest nor best childhoods themselves.  I understand how they are selfish and self serving.  I am just trying to put some energy into my own healing.  I continue to forgive.  I know I can’t undo history.  I know that I matter and I am not pathetic, stupid nor weak.  Just breathing, trying to be patient, love my parents the best I can … with hope in heart and grace in my step.

 

 

 


Plan for my 50th BirthYear!

I’ve thought about this a lot. There wasn’t one big thing I could do today. Instead of a big birthday celebration or, I  have decided to have a birthyear! And I’m going to do 50 things that will make me happy, starting on my 50th Birthday, and go straight through until my 51st. It’s not a bucket list, but it’s things—that I know will bring me joy and will let me celebrate this wonderful birthday, for which I am grateful, for longer than one day.

It’s just my way of embracing the start of this important decade in a very meaningful and fulfilling way. I will share some of the things that are on my 50 Things I’m Going to Do to Celebrate my 50th Birthday list. None of them are a huge stretch, and most are simple, every-day pleasures. And, each and every one is on the list because they will make ME happy, not someone else.

Here is a peek at how I am planning to celebrate my 50th from March 20 2017 to March 20 2018:

  1. Actually, exercise … yeah maybe join a gym. Yikes!
  2. Visit Oregon wine country
  3. Visit my Texan friend
  4. Go to a dance class
  5. Rescue a puppy from a shelter
  6. Register at the police station as a line-up person.
  7. Keep writing
  8. Be more selfish
  9. Stop being afraid of failure
  10. Keep forgiving people
  11. For every three pieces of chocolate, eat a vegetable …Double yikes!
  12. Wear more colors than just black
  13. Go to the park – and swing
  14. Ride a bike
  15. Try yoga / meditation
  16. Write a love letter
  17. Cook for someone special
  18. Stop saying, “sorry”
  19. Schedule a massage
  20. Do / watch something scary
  21. Sleep more than 5 hours
  22. Start baking again
  23. Flirt more
  24. Go for a tarot card reading
  25. Give and get more hugs

Clearly my celebration list is a work in progress.  Celebrating me and my life is not something I do naturally.  This will surely be an interesting year as I dabble in and practice this thing called CELEBRATION.  Since today is the first day of my 50th year – I better go get this party started!


So Much Life After HS …

I have learned some very valuable lessons in my life – as I hope all have by the time they reach the age of 50.  I didn’t have a good time in high school; I attended two very different schools in those short four years.  The last few years, I find myself back home, close to where I went to high school and so many fellow classmates all still hang out together.  Still.  I have no problem with this until they made an issue with me not attending the school functions, the class reunions, etc.  Some remember those years full of angst or full of joy.  My four years of high school was more full of angst and I have chosen to try to put behind me -especially when many of the same people who made my life unbearable in HS tried to make my life difficult 30 years later.  So shame on them.   And to think many of these people now have children of their own.  I pray for them.  I was shy, sheltered by my immediate family, basically an introvert back then and now I like to think I have graduated to an ambivert.  I tend to only surround myself with calm people these days.  I don’t need to loud, crowd filled moments.  I prefer to look at the photos after an event or party then be the life of the party.  I wish more people would respect that some connections and so-called friendships from a tenuous connection from high schools days do indeed have an expiration date.  I attended my 25th and 30th HS reunions.  It was okay.  I learned I still have very little in common with most people there who showed up.  I tried.  I went.  Now I just want to be left alone by that ‘crowd’.

To me, it seems like some people never leave high school.  They are still jealous, bullies, immature, and many busy trying to relive glory sports days or prom queen days.

After attending the 25th reunion, so many of the same people who tried spreading gossip about me in HS invited me out; I went, I am a forgiving person, chalking all those HS moments to immaturity.  But sitting with these strangers around me, and all talking about things I had no true connection to nor memory of, I realized I still had very little in common with this group of tight knit high school friends.  I tried.  I wanted to know what it would be like to hang out with the HS ‘in-crowd’.  As an adult, being invited to parties I never got invited to while in HS, I thought would vindicate me and erase some of those sad HS moments.  But it didn’t.  If anything some get together’s just exacerbated it.

My curiosities were at an all time high, and I tried to just approach by observing, more like an anthropologist than an active participant.  I was learning a little of what it most of been to be popular in HS.  But curiosity wanes.  People show their true colors, and I was sad – but not for myself, but for them.  So many of these people, left high school, married someone from their local area, and settled in the same area or a place just like our hometown.  I couldn’t truly relate back then nor now.  Most of my friends are people I have met outside of high school.  I have a huge family and am close to my cousins, who will always be my friends, my source of home.  And have been lucky to have traveled and work in many different places, so many of my friends are from shared experiences as adults.

I have been busy trying to put those tough awkward years behind me – only to learn that I am still more awkward than not.  Daily, I battle depression, PTSD, body image issues due to cancer and scars, and have never been the social, bubbly, pretty cheerleader type.  I prefer to get lost in the background, in books, in words, in engaging all my five senses by enjoying wine and food.  I detest dieting and never go to the gym.  I don’t feel the need to look perfect nor do I believe in plastic surgery nor in spending tons of money on wrinkle cream or cellulite cream.   I am happy with myself, by myself.  I don’t need validation from many people, especially those from high school who never had my back then or now, and have never walked in my shoes, Jimmy Choo or not.

I have learned that I didn’t allow those four years of high school to fully define me. I haven’t lived there for a very long time.  I never allowed that HS shadow to linger.  Some feelings did arise whenever I get an invitation and then I write posts like this.  But for the most part, I realize that my HS years were hard but it doesn’t hold much glory days.  I was on the honor society, I had my cousins as my friends, and didn’t need much.  I graduated, moved on.  I don’t have that sense of melancholy from those HS days. I see that those HS years occupy a privileged place for many people.  They reminisce and want to relive their glory days.  Perhaps explains Ralph Keyes’s observation in his 1976 classic, Is There Life After High School?: “Somehow those three or four years can in retrospect feel like 30.”

About the only thing I still deal with since I was a teenager is still learning how to be myself, to not lose control and to continually keep learning.

 

So I wish when I chose to RSVP NO that people from high school could respect that and move forward.  And not feel the need to talk about me behind my back … but sadly, we all know that is not the case.  So I try to remember the saying, “What people say about me behind my back is none of my business.” (RuPaul).  They don’t know me, they can dislike me, well dislike what they think they know of me.  And I will continue being me, living my life, with its ups and downs, but me loving myself each day.

Most importantly, it’s my life, and if something doesn’t serve me, I am learning to let it go.  We have no obligation to someone else. When something upsets you, let it go.  And that includes what other people think of you. If other peoples’ judgement is bringing you down, ignore it.  Try to only hold onto things that make you feel good. Other people can make their choices. They can bitch about you and say nasty things. But don’t forget that you have choices too.  So let’s all try to make better choices.  Shaking off the negativity, moving forward with purpose, and looking forward to all the beautiful, positive things that make me happy … with hope in my heart and grace in my step.

 


Giddy at Fifty

In exactly 7 days, I will turn 50 years old … yes, me turning 50!  I am over the moon ecstatic.  I never thought I would reach this age.  I am a cancer survivor, a crisis survivor, continue to battle PTSD and depression.   I have lost so many loved ones when they were too young – my brother 25 yo, my Dad 57 yo, my fiance 37 yo, aunt 35 yo … I had decided that was my fate as well.  I have spent most of my life thinking I was running out of time.  I lived in the past or in the moment, never fully preparing nor planning a future.

I am almost halfway to 100 and I am so giddy lately.  I am finally midlife.   I will be half of a century old.  How downright exciting … to be me right now??   I am about to finally reach a true milestone and with this I have learned that a happy life starts at whatever age you finally grow up and realize that it’s yours to live … not dictated by family nor work.  It’s all mine.

Sure, I am not naive enough to think it will all be smooth sailing here on out.  I have been through too much to believe that.  But I have been through so much already, I know I can get through whatever life throws at me.

I do worry at times, financially I am not in a good place; nor romantically…even professionally.  Could I have accomplished more?  Sure.  I have spent way too many years in the past.  I no longer live there.  I have hibernated enough.  I have compromised enough.  I have sacrificed enough.  Cancer, regret, loss, crisis, compromise, sacrifice – all have changed the course of my ideal life.   I still have many anxious moments – I still work hard each day to keep my fears and demons at bay.  I have learned and accepted that even with the best planning, we are never fully in control of our own destiny. This lessons learned has come with a high price in my life; it’s a benefit that I have been gifted with the act of getting older, being wise, being experienced.  I am fortunate enough to understand that growth in life doesn’t just stop midlife – it’s a continual realigning, reevaluating, realizing, reexamining, renewing, reconnecting, reacquainting and renewing…and loving the alliteration as always … finally relaxing and just accepting me … yes ME.

Learning as I turn 50, there is so much of life to look back on …and there is so much more to do.  I live for all my loved ones who died too young.  I live for me.  Turning 50 is great because I am still here.  I have learned to be my own cheerleader, my own support system.  I am a survivor.  I have found my smile even through my tears.  I fight through any pain, any sadness, any setback.  I look in the mirror and am happy to see wrinkles, even the gray hair and the love handles.  I have earned this life.  I have lived this life.  And I will continue …. with hope in my heart and grace in my step.  #JustT

 


Need A Spark …

Well I am trying to be more social again and start dating …yes trying again to put myself out there and be open minded.  Agreed to meet a nice looking, age appropriate man for coffee.  The night before we talked on the phone for three hours…yes, 3 hours!  We talked about so much even politics.  It was refreshing.   So when we meet today – conversation is easy.  He is a great listener as well as a good speaker.  Bur we talked about work, skills – more professional than personal.  There was no romantic spark.  And I find myself home, writing this post, feeling a little sad.  On paper he fits all my criteria – he is dark-haired and handsome.  He is employed. He is Christian.  He believes in family.

But I touched his hand … and nothing.  We chastely kissed at the door – I felt nothing.  Well, ironically there was jolt of static cling electricity but not a true chemical spark.  So no spark, now what??

Now I am tired of all my friends saying I am too picky, or I don’t give men a chance.  But how long do you wait for the spark to develop?    How long should you give to see if there is true chemistry?  I am mature and intelligent enough to understand that sparks are usually temporary and they don’t normally last.  Compatibility lasts.  Logic.  But I have lived too many years without true love and passion.  Don’t I deserve it?  Don’t I deserve the butterflies?  Don’t I deserve to feel that zing, that unexplained must-have chemistry, pure magic??  Do I have to settle?  No I refuse to settle.  I need to feel that spark.  Soon!  I totally accept that love at first sight is beyond rare.  I need to accept that we may need to allow for the slow burn of attraction, let our first meeting date jitters to pass and try to get to know each other.

The guy I met today is into the gym and working out hard, faithfully and is very physically, outdoorsy active.  I am more a home body and I have let myself go a little sideways, struggling with weight, body image issues, hitting 50 and pre-menopausal.  So maybe he wasn’t physically attracted to me hence no spark.  I don’t know.  Maybe I don’t care too much right not to learn otherwise.  Maybe he has zero boyfriend potential; maybe he is indeed just a nice guy.  Perhaps there isn’t enough chemistry for a relationship. But seriously how many ‘dates’ do I need to go on to find out??

I will try harder to keep from closing off.  I just don’t want to be that girl – every man’s buddy – where they think I am a great lady, we talk for hours, laugh, but they use me as sounding board.  They want to hang out, talk about their job, family and dating woes, ask for advice but ultimately there is no shared attraction, no sexual interest.  No passion.

So we didn’t make plans to meet up again, but we did text already tonight when he got home.  Maybe we will just be friendly.  I don’t know.  I would go out with him again though if asked.  I think it’s rare to know whether we have real dating potential with someone after only a few hours.  I do enjoy conversing with him.  He has a great phone voice as well.  Easy on the eyes, yes.  Who knows….

So as much as I didn’t get that instant overwhelming attraction to him, we still got along.  Time will tell I guess.

Remaining positive … with hope in my heart and grace in my step … learning how to sashay.


Pawprints on my Heart

I put off today for as long as I could … I had to pick up my Chili dog’s ashes from the vet.  I thought making the decision to put him down, to sleep was hard but today was much harder for me.  So final.  My house is so empty.  My heart so shattered.  My head so confused.

When I put my first dog, Scruffy to sleep, I already had Chili, my second dog – so I found comfort in him.  But the past few weeks have been so hard.  Some people keep asking me if I am going to get another dog – they mean well, but I know they don’t understand.   Sadly, many people have been somewhat dismissive, not understanding this immense grief I am feeling from losing my fur baby, my best friend.  I am grieving, I need time to process all.  Moving on isn’t always that easy.   I need to allow the pain to subside.  I am feeling guilty because I think my time with Chili, I was very selfish, leaning on him too much especially after I lost my first dog, went through a divorce, cancer, and car accident.  All through this, my Chili dog always greeted me with kisses.

Coming home to Chili each day was the highlight of many of my dark days.  He was Home to me.  Chili let me lean on him when I was sad and I always counted on him after a long day.  Being barren and then single, my dogs were my family, they were my children.  Their unconditional love and trust filled such a void in my heart and daily life.  I never felt alone with them.  Chili was very therapeutic for me, as well.

I am still so raw and heartbroken.  The change in my daily routine and the pure emptiness and silence in my has been too much to handle these days.  I purposely been staying away from my empty home.   But today I had to deal with something all too real.  I started to put away my Chili dog’s winter coats, his leashes, his dog food.  I made the decision to go pick up his ashes because I needed him home.  I needed a part of him physically here.   Now he is with his older brother and their ashes sit next to other on the mantel.  Saying good bye was so hard but this trying to live each and every day without them is harder.  My two dogs were my number one reason to go home, my favorite hellos and now have become my hardest goodbyes.

A friend sent me the following poem and it more than sadly resonates with me …

dog.jpg

boys2.jpg

 


My Chili Dog

I no longer know who I am if I am not a doggie mom.  I have nothing to rush home to anymore.  It’s very disconcerting.  I have had dogs in my life steadily for the past 22 years … now only in my heart, memories.  My heart hurts.

Always greeted with such sweet kisses, wagging tails.  Today I walked into the vet with my precious 12-year-old Boston on a leash and walked out with an empty leash and broken heart.  Tears don’t stop.

I had that split second of indecision – should I bring him home, keep him next to me for a few more days or say good bye and hold him as his little heart stopped.   I pray I did the right thing.  I let him go.  Tumors and fluid had filled his abdomen and his heart was not working well.  His breathing was labored, he wasn’t walking nor eating.  I can’t remember him that way.  I want to remember him as the loving, kind companion he was.  My Chili Dog = my heart.

My first dog was my companion, my adventure seeker.  We traveled, we dined out.  He went everywhere I went, even to work a few times.  When my Cairn Terrier became a big brother, he became the protector, sharing his bed and toys with his baby brother.  He would bark if anyone got too close.  It was endearing.  Losing him was hard.  I never felt pain like that.  But my Boston would comfort me, snuggle up to me and together we forged a new life built on trust, love and patience.

My Boston was not much for adventure, he was more the stay in bed and snuggle.  It worked – I was going through a series of health issues – cancer, broken bones – and healing at home with the best snuggler was my saving grace.  He became my hero – just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore treatments, bad news, I was always met with wet kisses.  He just knew how to chase the demons away.

Today I am all alone.  But I know my two fur babies are playing together with no pain.  One day soon, this will comfort me.  Today I grieve.

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39 More Days

Only 39 days left until Sunday – January 1, 2017!  39!!  I don’t know where the time goes.  Most days, it all seems to pass in a blur … a blur of depression, sadness, hurt, tiredness.  The past two years, I have to admit, has seen me at my most vulnerable in real time and not just via words on my blog.  I have had some heart-to-heart conversations with family and so-called friends who have hurt me or not been there for me in my darkest hours.  I have done a lot of de-cluttering of my life.  I may still be alone, but I am at peace.

I have tried to make each year better but I failed so many times.   I pray that 2017 is it – the biggest year for me yet.  I have been living off the radar, under the bar for so long.  Now I just want to shine bright.  I want to be noticed – I want to be appreciated.

I wish I knew now what I have learned while dealing with the death of so many loved ones back-to-back.  I believe I wouldn’t have lost so many good years due to my mourning.  I put myself in such a dark place, such a sinking hole.

Ironically, I have complained that I had no support system but honestly I realize now how much I cut people out, and how easy immediate family made it for me.  As for new friends, I rarely let new people in my life the past 15 years.  Working hard on trying now.   I need and want people in my life – but worthy, deserving people.  I want to be able to build each other up, not tear each other down.

For so many years, being strong found me pretending to be okay.  I didn’t want to appear weak.  But this pretending came with a very high cost which I am still paying the price.  I shut people out, I lost interest in so many things, I gave up, I let depression and PTSD keep me mired down in grief.  I hid parts of me away.  I would not get really close to anyone.  I kept to myself, isolated.  I didn’t want to be completely vulnerable nor have anyone worry about me.  So today, I have no support system and no one is worried about me.  I guess I ultimately got what I thought I wanted.  Emotional seclusion instead of a complete and utter breakdown is where I have been residing.  And the few times I have let myself be honest, forthcoming, and vulnerable, I have been met with lack of understanding.  So I withdrew even more.

It’s such a cycle.  When a person like me who is already an introvert, keeps everything inside, never fully accepting how messed up I really was, it’s all downhill from there.  I find myself trying so hard to crawl out of the dungeon I found myself in.  Writing has helped me tremendously.  Social media  has helped me as well – I get to be somewhat social without actually investing in friendships too much or sharing true intimacy.   It has provided an outlet – a necessary one.  I need to search and bare my soul.  I need some guidance, acceptance, understanding – even if it at first it appears shallow.  We all need to feel connected.   I’m thankful that social media has brought people back into my life. To me, the past few years have been a rebirth for me – learning how to crawl, walk, talk … all over again.  Now I am more than ready to spread my wings and fly away … with hope in my heart and grace in my step.


His smile…

Lately I have been seeing my forever heart’s smile everywhere.  I was so afraid for years of losing the essence of him.  I can’t recall the sound of his voice, his laugh, anymore and that hurts my soul.  For many years, I hadn’t been able to look at photos of him, it hurt too much.  He has been gone for 15 years – I wish I knew then how important photos would become – since now I want to recall his face, and I have so few photos of him, of us.  Now if I fall in love, I will take more photos.  Photos have become so much more important to me especially after losing the three most important men in my life.

The other day I just was in total silence, alone, and found myself staring at Michael’s photo – he had such a beautiful smile.  That smile got me through so much.  And now after 15 years of isolating myself, of mourning, of hibernating, I am allowing myself to be fully vulnerable.  I have tried the past three years but I strongly believe the past few months have seen me at my most raw vulnerability and reawakening.

I am open to so many more things and experiences this past year.  I also see the beauty all around me.  I had died when Michael died but I have been given new leases on life and am finally, finally and finally ready to fully live … accepting change, opening my heart … no more  halfheartedly living.  I am no longer just writing about embracing life and I am living and looking for that embrace.

I came across this passage that resonates:

“I’m not sure I’ll ever know the meaning of life or what comes for us after death, but I know it’s more than the hysteria people make it out to be. It’s about freeing your soul when no one else can; turning thirty and still feeling like you’re seventeen. It’s about taking chances on a whim, embracing the rain during the storm, and smiling so damn much that you start to cry. It’s never regretting, never forgetting, and always being.  It’s kissing underwater and touching in the dark. Loving even when you think it’s emotionally impossible and surviving someway and somehow.   It’s about living life with a full heart and an overflowing glass.

I live life on the edge. I dream, I care, and I belong.  I know there’s a here and now.  I know that I want it.”  ―Nadege Richard, 5 Miles 

Yes!!!  After so many years of living like I was dead, I am ready to live life on the edge, in the here and now.  Fully present and aware and accepting.

I am seeing Michael’s smile in others, I am seeing the good and love in others.  I don’t want to lose that smile nor my own ever again.

I heard this stirring song the other day, and I know there will be many days where grief keeps me still, sadness will wash over me, but I don’t want to live there anymore.

I see your face
in the boy that stands beside me
and I just love the way that feels

I heard your laugh
in the cafe on the corner
but that voice belongs to someone else

And I hoped to find you
standing by my side forever
where we would have stayed
for always

And I’d hoped to feel you
holding my hand in your hand
where we would have stayed
always

I’m sure I felt
your warm breath on my shoulder
the breeze was playing with my mind

I know we had to be apart
these thoughts are locked away inside my heart
I know you never meant to leave me here behind

And I hoped to find you
standing by my side forever
where we would have stayed
for always

I miss you
and I need you

And I hope to find you
standing by my side forever
where we would have stayed
for always
And I’d hoped to feel you
holding my hand in your hand
where we would have stayed
always

My love for you has been torn apart
left me stranded
left me in the dark

Love that started out with open doors
has been put back into pause

My thoughts of you will keep me going strong
I think of you holding on
just one more day I forever crave
Always

And I miss you

 

 

 

 


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