the hammock diaries: on ampleness

there is this feeling of completeness, almost like nothing i've ever known, in lying in the hammock, basking in sunlight, trees, birds of many kinds in the feeders and bath singing like crazy and building homes, foraging food, for their families. my laptop, an apple, water, pops on the porch researching my tummy thing (a doctor in the house sure is handy), mom resting after taking me shopping and to lunch, my son on the computer caring for his webkinz and coming out to give me stats, my 'other son' out front playing trucks with the neighbor.

there is peace, stillness even amidst the activity, fullness, family. i am happier than i have ever been. even though it has been a long period of losses, i am happy with who i am becoming, with my strength in this transitional period. i am slowly peeling back the layers to find my true wants and what i'm willing to be and do to have them.

and i'm spending lots of time at flickr, enjoying the glimpses into other people's lives and vision of their daily activities, their perception of the moments that we take for granted. i think that what i love most about photography is that it is us acknowledging how special a lot of these moments we take for granted as a whole really are, how lucky we are - as well as the fact that our personality influences our perception of the shot. you can give 4 photogs a camera and have them shoot the same thing at the same time, and the pics will be different. i love that - that the different angles, views, etc, that can come from a moment.
a lot of people i know who take pics have been through some pretty traumatic stuff, and i wonder if that influences our desire to shoot the way we do, to really focus on these moments and encapsulate them, because we know how easy it is to not have it as an option...we've been so close to the end of it that we want to seek out the beauty in the mundane, the joy of the eccentric, the brightness and color and smiles that comprise this world. maybe?

anyway, i've been looking at pics from people in places i dream about, far away, south africa, maldives, europe...and the thing i notice is how they celebrate family and see beauty in things differently than here in the states. the women that they hold up as beautiful are ample, curvy, generous hips and breasts and thighs, not very much makeup, if any. and i love it. it's rare to see a painfully thin woman in their pages, the sharpness of hip bones sticking out, and i find these people beautiful. i think, so much because, they are so happy with who they are...you can see it in their faces and body language. mostly on their beaches they are topless, some nude, everyone comfortable...pregnant women with stretch marks and hairy armpits, curvy women with big hips and small waists, small breasts, short hair, gigantic breasts, no breasts, no hair...and everyone looks content. they are not focused on hiding themselves since birth, the puritanical fascination with denying our sexuality, the aren't striving to look like kate moss or reach a size 4 no matter how much pain it takes, how much it's not their natural size. they are them, free to be who they are on the beaches and at home. and that culture, that perception - there's something beautiful in it...in acknowledging the beauty of our physicality/sexuality, the beauty of the differences in our commonality, there is such a freedom. such a large space in the range to find where you are on the spectrum and the people who appreciate what you have to offer.

we let our physicality, what we see as our lack (even if it's the lack of excess, not being stick thin) dominate so much of our lives...not being comfortable enjoying the beauty of an amazing day on a clean beach and warm water because of stretch marks or excess weight, not wearing clothes we love, not being comfortable accepting love b/c we don't feel deserving and most of it stems from our dislike of our physical selves - 'i'm fat', 'i'm gross', 'i have stretch marks', 'i have scars', so many things that really tell our story and yet we see it as reasons we don't deserve what we want...comfort, love, freedom.

i'm so saddened by it yet struggling every day to delete this from my life, from my personality. my physical 'flaws' are the testament to what i've overcome and what i've contributed to this world. and i don't want to punish myself and deny myself because of these testaments of my strength, courgae and learning.

i am sad that as i learn to embrace the good and change what i can of the bad, there are people who see my claiming my positive attributes as being arrogant or selfish or other things. i am a kind and generous and good person, often times hurting myself to make the people that i care about feel good, better - and being kind to people that i encounter in the world. but, i focused on the negative for so long, and it did nothing but make me feel bad and change nothing. now, i say...i have worked hard to lose weight and be tone and most importantly, healthy and strong. i am strong. i have good skin. i have pretty hair. my stretch marks signify the healthy child that i gave the best of everything by enduring the pain of choosing a family better for him than i could be, my scars signify my strength and endurance and the diseases that i have not only beaten, but chosen to be bettered by rather than hindered by, my extra weight signifies my persistence rather than my laziness, as it used to be more and i have shed a small person from my body.

i am choosing to focus on and vocalize my positives rather than my negatives, am choosing to state my self-love rather than self deprecation. it is a sad society when people are okay with us denouncing ourselves and yet are uncomfortable if we state the reasons why we are good, why we love ourselves, our own bodies.

i am not arrogant, only awaking.this life is only going to be as good as i let it be.

and all that i'm trying to say is this - no one else can love us if we don't love ourselves first. how can we expect unconditional love and acceptance, forgiveness of our flaws, appreciation of our good, if we're not willing to accept those things from ourselves? how can you expect someone to show you appreciation and kindness and love when you deflect it all the time? answer statements of your beauty and compliments by listing your flaws? how can you expect someone to always the see the things that they love if you are constantly pointing out your flaws?

i've been there but i see it for the unhappy and desolate place it was and i'm not going back there. i am now striving to love me as much as i want the amazing people in my life to do so, to appreciate the results of the things i work hard to maintain, to be able to accept compliments and praise when they are sincere and deserved as well as constructive criticism in the same way. i want to project self love and self confidence and pass that to people that i meet and know...i want to be able to give myself compliments the same way that i do people in the street.

the only person who is ever going to truly suffer if i keep myself locked in a bubble of self loathing is me - others will move on, find happiness and perhaps miss me initially but eventually i will just be someone that they knew once. and i will carry the hurt of pushing away sincere love because i couldn't see my own value. i don't want to be that woman.

and so - i am strong, and kind and patient and loving and beautiful. i am a good person, a good friend, a good lover, a good girlfriend, a good mother, a good aunt, an awesome baker, a tireless worker and cleaner, a fun and funny buddy. an open minded person who is tolerant and encouraging of differences, happy for the success of my friends and family, willing to accept my lumps and admit my mistakes. i strive for betterment and will sacrifice to make the lives of people that i love better. i will take the smaller side, defer to the preferences of my loved ones and to their wants as well - as long as it is acknowledged, reciprocated and i do not feel put upon.

i am intelligent, a verociouos reader and great conversationalist. i try to be as broadly knowledgeable as possible so that i have things to contribute not only to social situations but to the world around me as well. i am helpful, friendly and generous with my time and forgiveness.

but most of all, i just want to be happy. to feel at peace. and i want that for everyone else too...and if we don't find happiness in the same way, if our journeys are different, i wish you all well on yours and hope that you reach your destination. take care of you!


on: love, life and family

i haven't talked about it *really* on here, because i've just been basking...but, i reconciled with one of the kindest people that i have ever known. a man who is kind, nurturing, generous, loving, appreciative, affectionate, intelligent and so many other things. he was great to me and i was fucked up and falling apart. i, while talking to my therapist, realized that i had made a mistake by pushing away and fearing what was probably the best and purest love that had ever been shown to me. and so, i decided to rectify that...

so, we're at now. he came to see me this weekend - took some time off from work so that we could have more than a few hours, and made the cross country trek to visit me in my place of healing.

everyone adored him. two people that i love very, very much were celebrating their 22nd wedding anniversary & her birthday. and so, as our gift to them, we kept their kids for a long time and let them have time away for some friend time, a romantic dinner, a drive and some time on the beach at night, and then a morning sunrise on the beach as well. it's strange, how well this situation works for us & how many other people either don't understand it or don't even acknowledge it as an important part of my life when i talk about it. there are those who question it, doubt it, are perplexed by it...and then those who choose to pretend that i didn't say anything at all when i speak on it...

but, the relationship that i have with my son and his family - his brother who is also my 'other son' (more on that later), his parents, and most of his extended family - is so amazing. and how incredible? that they would let me keep their kids, one of them my biological son that they adopted, while they go out to celebrate? but we understand and love each other, all of us, and they know that my love is pure, for all of them.

so, they went away, and my boyfriend and i kept the kids. it was so much fun. we took them to see Shrek 3, which was great! they got kid packs, which have nerd rope, popcorn and i got them slushies!! then, we played video games, and we took them to McDonalds for happy meals so that they could have the Shrek toy! we went a couple other places, then came home and changed and rode bikes to the swim club. so funny, it was cold in the evening b/c a storm front was coming, but they begged us to get in the pool and i finally did. they climbed all over me and we wrestled and raced. then, we mapped out a plan for coming home. we got home and undressed in the laundry room to keep things clean, then while i ordered us pizza, they all took showers and picked up the bathroom. i cleaned the kitchen and gathered up laundry. then, when the pizza came, we went all the way up to the 'secret' 3rd floor and had a picnic on the floor - pizza, sweet&saltys, milk - while watching Night at the Museum. i let them stay up late to finish the movie, then let them sleep in the same room in the bunk beds and kissed them to sleep!

then, my BF & i hung out in the gathering room and watched the office & grey's anatomy on the big(ish) screen until we were tired - and he gave me a foot massage with Arbonne Sole Pampering peppermint foot rub creme the entire time!!

it was unbelievable in so many days...then we got up early the next morning and went to the beach and played Team Awesome swimming in the high tide and dug in the sand and played and had fun in the sun. and during that time, i concluded the thoughts that i've been having lately with a firm decision...i *am* ready to have a family. to be a wife and a mom. i'm ready to settle down and make dinners and take care of the people that i love. i've been thinking it for some time and wasn't sure if my longing for it would translate to the willingness to make the commitment to do it.

but, i surprised myself by loving the challenge. and the kids here love me - not just the ones that are my 'family', but their friends, her friends small kids, the kids that i babysit. they love me. the get happy when i show up. their parents love me. i'm good at it, at the mommy aspect of it. i'm nurturing and fun and kind. i play with them, and instead of yelling or arguing, i try to speak logically to them. and it works.

and so, i talked to my boyfriend to ascertain whether he had been serious when he said that he knew that i was his one true love and that he wanted to plan a future with me and love me and be good to me. and he means it - he knows what it means to me and he means it. and so, i told him that i want a family. i want to move here or somewhere like here, somewhere clean and green, where the people are nice and friendly and it's safe. where there is water and clean air and parks and animals and private schools and low cost of living. and i want to foster and adopt. i'm ready for my own family.

and he wants it too. he wants us to be happy, he wants me to be happy and he wants to have a family with me. he loves me, all of me, and thinks that the strength that i have gained from my disease and battles makes me even more beautiful and does not begrudge me the barrenness that my disease and treatment caused...he is happy to adopt with me. he is so great.

we talked about so many big things and spend so much time in each other's eyes, and got to see each other in action as a 'parent'. he was so great with the boys and they absolutely loved him and argued over him, and he was enjoying watching me be a mommy - he would come over and kiss me and tell me how awesomely i handled certain situations. :)

and so - we're going to make a family. and i am so excited. i'm so glad that my therapist has been working with me about accepting love and being less rigid.

i am so happy for my future and for my right now. i am happier than i have been in forever and getting happier every day!!


tired but can't sleep


my sleep is suffering this week. it's troublesome and annoying and so many things i don't want to deal with right now. i'm not handling stress well, falling apart a bit & have been arguing with the people who are important to me. :(

it is hard to be hormonally challenged. my meds are making me have vivid nightmares and that sucks, but most of what sucks is i fell off the top of a ladder and landed my lower back on a door knob so that pain is pretty intense.


but - my weekend is going to be fantastic and i'm holding out for that! yayayayaya!!


migriane is a bad word

i awoke at 4.19 with a bad one. i can feel them, in my eye and my gut before there's even any real 'pain' to speak of...it's the aura.

the precursor to the pain. like appetizers are the food you eat to make you hungry (™Cartman), these throbby little sensations are the signals i feel to make me scared of the impending pain.

my life is a constant cycle of one pain or the other. Pelvic Nerve Damage, post-surgery on everything abdominal, intestines that don't work right...

and still i hike and treadmill and yoga and swim. i want my body to condition, to strengthen, to feel better. except at this point, and i'm mostly serious, i don't know how much physically stronger i could get. my body is prime, in the shape of my life almost. the muscles that i have built from pushing myself so hard so that i didn't think about the pain anymore because it's all there ever was...the hiking for another hour because i still felt the cramps in my pelvic floor, the crunches even though i wasn't supposed to because i still felt the pain in my pelvic floor...

everything pushing beyond the pain. the internal reasoning being two-fold. 1) if all that i feel is pain on the inside because of this external pain, i'm going to make it a monstrous external pain to match the consuming internal pain, and 2) the stronger my body during all of this ailment, the stronger i'll be to recover, the less the muscle mass will matter as i lie for weeks and weeks.

my psychic and spiritual advisor told me that my recovery would be long, much longer than i expected...but that it would be an encompassing recovery. one of body, mind and spirit, but that my physical would take the longest. that i would ail beyond when i thought that i would. i almost forgot about that, since the morning after my 6.5 hour major abdominal surgeries and organ removals and organ revisions and the rest, i grabbed my morphine drip, stood up and walked to the bathroom when my nurse told me that i couldn't get out of bed. i looked at her like she was the anti-christ, and then i cried on the toilet from the pain.

i dried my tears, went back to bed and told them that i wanted to walk. they said no. so when my surgeon came, i told him that i was going home and that i wanted to walk. he told me after the surgeries i had had, i wasn't going home...i had to walk for a long time, pass gas and poop to go home and it wouldn't happen. i said - i want to walk. i'm going home tonight, i've hiked during chemo, i've worked 80 hour weeks during chemo, i'm a machine...a machine that feels pain, but i'm going home tonight. so, he called the nurse in and said for her to walk me. i held my morphine drip and walked and walked, pushing the button that did little good but walking.

i made them take the drip out and put me on oral meds. i put sweats on. i walked. everyone in the world knew i was waiting for my intestines to work, so they kept asking - pass gas yet?? poop yet?? finally, i passes gas - willing every cell in my body to create that one function.

they brought me down to the sunroom to talk to women who had had lesser surgeries than me and who were still in bed...sad about the state of their reproductive organs, about their fate, refusing to move, to act...choosing instead to lie in bed hooked up to the machines.

they brought me in and said...'this is A, yesteday she had a hysterectomy, appendectomy, double oopherectomy, double salpingectomy, intestinal revision, scar tissue/adhesion removal, kidney stent, bladder revision and abdominal revision.'

everyone's jaw dropped - 'yesterday?' they asked. 'and you're walking today, answering your cell today?' 'but i only had myomectomy last week and i feel so bad', a couple said, still on their morphine drips.

and i said - 'of course you feel bad, i feel like shit. every cell in my body is screaming pain pain pain pain. it hurts, i hurt. i want to curl up in a ball and put the morphine drip back in and watch t.v and go to bed, and they would let me. but i'm not. this is my life, i've been 30 for ten days and i had these surgeries and it hurts but i'm going to live. i'm going to live my life while i live. i eat organic food and i've worked and exercised and kept my body primed through the pain of getting to this moment, and i'm going to live my life now. i'm going home tonight. i'm starting hormone replacement today. i'm going to hurt, but i'm going to do it on my own terms.'

and so i have.

i still hurt. a lot. a lot of the time. which is surprising and hard for me to accept...how slowly the body heals from such trauma, how much i thought the surgery would be a fix it all when right now it is a tool. i know that i will gradually feel better, have a lessening of the other pains, but i'll always have the nerve pain and the migraines from the HRT, so they're a part of my life i have to deal with...i can't ask the sun to stay down while i hurt and am out of pain meds, so the day goes on and so do i. i live, i type, i answer questions from my biological son and find moments to be completely happy depsite or beyond the pain with the people that i love.

living is my only motherfucking option, stopping's not.

and so, i'm sitting here full of abortive medicine for the headache which isn't helping, drinking coffe which isn't helping, all of the things that are supposed to help not helping, with a dog curled up by my feet, the sun coming up over the water, the bluebirds back nesting for their eggs...

and i live.


somewhere along the way...

somewhere along the way, i became...

something different than i have ever been. somewhere along the way, i became light on my feet, a hiker, someone who works out, someone who people refer to as tone. i became honest and willing to say the things that are and have been hard for me to say. i became strong and aware and confident and so aware of how fortunate i am to be alive that i've decided to live every single moment as if it's on loan, to do what i feel that i need to to find happiness.

but also, along the way, i became a mom. someone who babysits 3 eight year old boys. someone who makes cupcakes for baseball games and screams "Don't forget to have fun out there!!" and who gets angry when the coach reprimands My Boys! somewhere along the way, i became wifey and i didn't even realize it was happening.

somewhere along the way, i sped up and slowed down at the same time, which sounds impossible except it's happening to me.

i got tired of things that i thought i was fine with, angry about things i thought i had resigned myself to, willing to have the things that i want, the things that will make me happy - without sabotaging myself.

i don't know who i am anymore, this new me, but it's kind of interesting figuring it out every day.



when i got to the airport, my reservation had been mistakenly cancelled...by the airline. so, i didn't make my flight due to the mix up...i had to wait 3 hours for the next one. i was rerouted due to this, far out of the way. then, my flight was over half an hour late taking off...the exact amount of time i had to catch my connecting flight. a woman was walking crazy, she smacked me in my face and then looked at me, mumbled something incoherent and passed out face first in the aisle.

i had to take a bus to catch my connecting flight. it barely happened. then, super small plane - 26 people. the stewardess was fucked up and serving minors and laughing about it. i was in the last seat, right next to the bathroom. i hadn't eaten anything besides luna bars, i didn't plan for this kind of day. tired and hungry. he came to get me, a change in plans b/c of the change in timing. i wasn't expecting it, because it was so late with the time difference, but the other he was awake when i arrived.

it's been almost 2 years since i've seen him. i wasn't expecting to see him tonight. tired. disoriented. hungry. just not prepared. on the drive here, his dad started crying telling me about him, about how amazing he is and about how sometimes, when he is talking to him, he closes his eyes and it's me that he hears. how he says words exactly like i say them, how he talks like me, has the same personality. how he's a mini-me.

when i came in the door he shouted 'is she here?' and came barreling down the stairs and into my arms.

my son. my nearly 8 year old son. a human, a person all his own. no longer a toddler or small jealous boy who dislikes me taking his parents time and attention, but an 8 year old man child in my own image excited about seeing me. he's an athlete and won his ball game tonight that i was supposed to see - told me the details of certain plays and asked me to see his room.

i tried to act as if it were no big deal, something i was accustomed to, this feeling in my chest.

he is beautiful. amzing. perfect. he's a mirror image of me. the face, the eyes, the neck, the shoulders. small hands and feet that look like mine, skin the color of my skin, shoulders that slope like my own. you would think that i made him alone, that i cloned myself in male form and was solely responsible for his genetic make up. you would think that i had raised him, the way he makes the same faces that i do, puts the same emphasis at the same place in his sentences.

my son. they have always called him that, calling me and saying 'your son...'. but i have never allowed myself to think of him as such. it was too hard, always so much easier to not think of him possessively. because he's not *mine*, not really. i don't see him every day, see the subtle changes, laugh at the moments, cry at his pains, comfort him when he needs it, hug him every night.

sometimes, it is easier not to think of him at all. when i think about being 30 and post-hysterectomy. when i think that he is the only one that i will grow within me and present to this world, and how he is not *mine*. but, because i did something in my life perfectly, better than anyone could possibly imagine, i realized someting tonight. he is my son.

because i chose the perfect people to be his parents, because i chose for him what i had always wanted and never been even close to having at all - loving, good hearted people as parents, mom and dad, because i found him that and formed a relationship with them and gave them their dream, he can still be my son.

they are more incredible than i could ever know. i cannot have children any longer. i am at a tough place in my life. and they have made it possible for me to come here and hug my son. they have given me the opportunity to see my son's first communion. to watch him play baseball. to take him to the beach and watch him eat ice cream and hear him sing songs and watch him play video games. i gave to them their impossible, and now they have given it back to me when it became my impossible as well.

they are willing to share with me the gift that i gave them. he's not their son. and he's not my son.

he's our son.

it is the most amazing thing. and now i'm typing this before i force myself to sleep, because he has promised to jump on my bed in the morning. tomorrow, against the odds and despite the impossiblity, i will be awakened by my son.