Thursday, February 17, 2011

30-day Challenge Update

Obviously, it's a bust. Literally. Sat, Feb 5th, started out great. I got my first Mary Kay makeover. But, as I was on my way to pick my son up from a birthday party before heading out to a semi-pro football game, I got in a car accident, which rendered my Jeep useless. It was my fault. I'm okay. Physically.

What that did for me was send me in a downward spiral of shock, disappointment, and self-recrimination because there I was about to fail at completing something again. Without transportation or a "gracious" ride, I found myself without the means to complete several of the activities I had planned. Truthfully, thinking about it now, that's fine b/c most of the firsts I'd completed involved some kind of self-inflicted pain-- and I had yet to get my tattoo.

Maybe one day, I'll start the challenge up again.

But, for now, my car's still down with new problem after new problem being discovered with each repair. I'm just ready to throw in the towel on it. But I have a feeling I'm supposed to be using this down time for some God time.



Tears of a Lost Parent

I love my son. I truly do. But there comes a time when a parent has to make difficult choices, choices that can affect a child’s future in unknown ways. And it is the unknown that scares me.

My child didn’t ask to be born, Even if I subscribe to the theory that children choose their parents based on the lessons they are to learn in that lifetime, I can definitely say I didn’t get a whisper in my ear saying, “Please don’t abort me”. Or I don’t know, maybe I did because, if I let you in on a little secret, aborting him had been my long thought-about plan.

I was a single mom to a two-year-old already, a child conceived out of the violent act of rape. I was also a college student, going to school full-time and working full-time. I barely had time to spend with my first child so another child was definitely not in my plans, not for a long while. But when stupidity and lack of proper birth control planning reigns, consequences do too.

I tearfully sought counsel from my friends but was met with biased and heated accusations; “How could you even think to have an abortion?” “It’s amoral, a sin against God.” “I would never do something like that.” (I found out later, within that same year, most of them did do something like that). So I stopped looking for help and made plans for termination. But as luck would have it, a bank account I shared with someone, who shall remain nameless, became mysteriously empty. Meanwhile, I was climbing up there in pregnancy weeks.

When I hit twelve weeks pregnant, I stumbled on an abortion website, which had a movie called “The Silent Scream”. This movie showed a 12-week fetus being aborted and how it opens its mouth as if it’s screaming while some device moves in to either crush or sever its head. That movie did it for me; that movie sealed my fate. I was going to be a single mother of two children.

Little did I know that there would be days of sorrow that outnumbered my days of joy. Or maybe I did.  When I was eight months pregnant, I dreamed I was asleep under water and a whale swallowed me. The similarity to the story of Jonah and the whale did not escape me. I wasn’t exactly running from God but I wasn’t running to him either. I hoped it did not mean I had years of hardship ahead but that hope was futile.

My second son was special, intelligent, headstrong, and mature beyond his time since birth. When I first looked into his eyes, I was taken aback by the knowledge and intelligence I saw in them. It occurred to me that this child had been here before. Frankly, it scared me a little and I doubted my ability to take care of him alone.

Now, nearly twelve years later, following yet another phone call from his school’s principal, outlining the unlikelihood of him passing the fifth grade due to his attitude and laziness, I sit here, thinking the same thing: I can’t do this alone. Though he and his older brother started on similar paths of academic struggle, the older one sought to improve himself while the younger just, simply, shut down. They are, literally, night and day as far as their times of birth, personality, and spirit.

After trying nearly everything from punishments to rewards, I don’t know else to do other than to make that ultimate sacrifice. I love my son but clearly a mother’s love, my love, isn’t enough to ensure he has the best future possible. I feel like I failed and I worry about his future. Sometimes, a parent has to make difficult choices. So I’m sending him to live with his father. God help me.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I came, I saw, I blundered

Day 5: Nose piercing

Man, have I got a story to share but as my computer is sitting at 6% and I have to let my overheated charger cool down, I will have to relay it later. For now, enjoy pix.

Ok, I'm back.  So here's the story: yesterday, one of my best friends calls me right after she got off from work and said, "I'm going to do it. I'm going to pierce my nose. But I have to do it tonight before I change my mind." So I'm like, "Ok. I'll come with you." Stupid. Now, I was going with her for two purposes: 1) to be a supportive friend 2) to talk myself into getting one (I had planned to at some point for this 30-day challenge).

So we chat about it some more and somehow it became definite that I was going to do it and that I was going to do it first. We both knew that I would chicken out if I were to go after her. Night falls and I'm waiting for her call. I get it. She's upset because the people she's with are taking too long to bring her back so that we can leave. She tells me that she changed her find because it will be too late to do it (the shop closed at 10 and it was 8 and we had a looong way to travel, Hialeah). I'm relieved. I got a reprieve from the imagined pain (thanks Google) and I got ready to go out to Blue Martini for another friend's birthday.

Once done with showering and getting prettiful, I glanced at my phone. A message from the bestie, which simply read: "I changed my mind". Darn.  The original mission was back on. Ever the supportive friend, I called her to say I was ready to go. No answer. I called again. Voicemail. Relieved once more, I headed to another friend's house to await the appointed to time for meeting up at Blue Martini. I sent a text message to the bestie: hey, pick up. I'm close to your dad's. We could still make it. No sooner had I arrived at my friend's, TQ's, house did my phone ring. It was the bestie. The mission was on once again. My feet now slipped in my shoes from little beads of sweat.

We arrive. The lady running the place speaks the barest broken English. It was Hialeah after all. I spoke my smattering of Castellano Espanol. We had a little understanding. The piercing cost $20, the cleaning salt solution cost $10. Done and done. Off to the back for the slaying, er, stabbing, um, piercing. First up, as agreed, me.

I sat on the chair, heart thumping wildly against the ribs of my chest, my hands now lightly dewed with the same sheen as my feet. My mind cast about futilely searching for anything I could say to get me out of this self-imposed predicament. I Elmer Fudded my Spanish, feebly grasping for reassurance that what I was about to do would not cast me out of the realm of the sane and send me spiraling down the brittle staircase of insanity. She tells me that on a scale of 1-10 the pain is a 2. I am not reassured. She does this for a living.

After 10 minutes of stalling and "Wait, wait, wait"s and getting a bestie pinky swear that Adrienne would not punk out, I allowed her to insert the metal tube into my nostril and to hover the needle right the marked spot. With a deep breath and my eyes screwed shut, I submitted to her. Five seconds, no blood, and a level 4 pain (not a 2) later, I had a nose piercing. And I looked good.

It was the bestie's turn.

Now, I know I have a weak stomach. I know that the sight of a needle causes my legs to jelly. I know I can't stand the smell of blood. And I know that in a traumatic situation I would be no good. But I thought I could handle it. So what followed next is a pure exhibition of my level of stupidity and loyalty to my friends.

I made a series of mistakes. Mistake #1: I stayed in the room. Mistake #2: I held her hand (she made me). Mistake #3: I listened to the screams. Mistake #4: I looked down to see what was wrong. Mistake #5: I didn't leave at the sight of blood covering the lower half of my bestie's face. Mistake #6: I stayed despite my roiling stomach. Mistake #7: I listened to the screams. Mistake #8: I looked down again when the wielder of pain muttered frantically, "Oh my God, oh my God." Mistake #9: I wore tall wedges and didn't strap one down so I couldn't run to the bathroom. But once I made it there, I couldn't hurl so I sat on the toilet seat trying to will my stomach still. Then I returned to the scene of the crime.

Luckily, it was all cleaned up and my friend sported a pretty cute nose piercing. What went wrong with her is that she moved while being punctured and ended up having to be punctured three (3!) times before the piercing could stay. When I heard that, I had to return to the bathroom. Later, the woman brought me an alcohol soaked paper towel to inhale.

So my bestie and I left with mirror-matching piercings; hers is on the right and mine was on the left. I say "was" because, later during the night, when I fell asleep in my car upon returning from Blue Martini (and a horrible meet-up with a now ex-luva), I accidentally swatted my nose. The pain awakened me. I texted the bestie; we had a 15-minute textversation. I thought I just flicked the ring but, when I went into the house to use the bathroom, I saw the piercing dangling from my nose. And it hurt too much (level 2) to push back in and so I took it out. Bye-bye $30 and the proof of my bravery. Thank God I took pictures!

I want my piercing back. I thought it looked very fetch (I am going to make fetch happen). BUT I don't think I can endure the level 4 again. Besides, my stomach can't handle it.

Really nervous!
I'm so nervous!

We're going in.
I accidentally hit it and this was the result.
It really cuters up the face, dontcha think?

It is done! Eek!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Let's go to the movies; let's go see the stars

Day 5: Ditching homework to go see a movie on a school night

Yeah, that's right. We're badass rebels over here. Well, at least I am. The movie tickets I had in my wallet were burning a hole in my brain. So I surprised my kids by taking them to see Green Hornet. I'll write a better post tomorrow. I just wanted it dated for today. Until then...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No skirting the work out

Day 4: Tattoo was a bust but had another first that kinda made up for it.

Today I had planned to get a tattoo as I have been too chicken to ever get passed entertaining the idea of entering an establishment where they brandish needles and make them dance across your skin, leaving trails of permanent pigment. *Shiver* But I was going to do it as part of this challenge. I mean, I've always wanted one. It was an daring idea. But I could never summon up the courage. However, today I did.

I drove up to AAA on US1 and got out. Both of those were huge steps, HUGE. I walked up to the guy smoking outside of the building-- turns out he's the man I came to see. Asked about closing times (had to go to boot camp). Strike one: they close before I return from boot camp. Strike two: it was only 6 but he said he was done for the day and he was the only one there. Strike three: it costs $70 to get the words Never Settle inked across my wrist. That's $70 that I can't spare b/c I'm currently not working for 10 weeks and only have $200 to my name. Sigh.

Strangely disappointed, I climbed back into my truck and sat there, my mind scrambling to come up with another first so that I didn't punk out on my challenge on just the 4th day. I had nothing. I used the Facebook phone app to reach out to my peeps in cyber world. They got nothing. I was stuck. Frantic, I drove to boot camp.

Once there, I got out and went into the back seat for my workout shoes, socks, and pants. Shoes. Check. Socks. Check. Two of them. Double check. Pants...oh no. Where the hell were my pants; I just knew I threw them in the back seat too. I sat down and searched my mind. I got the mental image of me tossing my black w/ white stripes workout pants into the washer. Crap. My house is 20 minutes away. I'm not driving back there just to get them and then drive back to the park. The workout would be 3/4 over.  Double crap.

I painfully trudged my way over to Terek, the trainer. Painfully because my arse felt as if two little people took turns giving me 31 punching licks in each cheek and my quads felt as if those little people then took a concrete bag and swung at each thigh bone. So, with my head slightly down, I utter, "Yo, Mr. T. I'm not trying to skip out on the workout or anything but I left my pants. I mean, I got my shoes and socks but, yeah, no pants, just the skirt I'm wearing." Mentally, I've already cautiously climbed back into my Jeep and started the ignition. Patiently, I waited for his expression of sympathy.

Yeah, right. What expression of sympathy? Terek the Trainer, or T-Rex I shall now call him, replies, "Great. Go ahead and put your shoes on. I'm glad you decided to work out, even in that skirt." Um...yeah...that wasn't the reply I was going for.

Anyhoo, work out I did. For the whole hour. After the first bursts of sunshiny pain shooting up my quads, exercising got a little easier. Who knew the remedy for the soreness from exercising is more exercising? That's like drinking more alcohol to get over a hangover. Who comes up with this ish? God's got a funny sense of humor.

So, there you have it. My first time doing boot camp in a skirt. An experience not worth repeating. I will always make sure to leave a pair of pants in the trunk.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gotta feed a Cullen

Day 3 of the 30-day challenge: donate blood.

After arriving an hour before the opening of the center (I thought I was showing up an hour late) and wolfing down a non-nutritional lunch at McD's (gotta eat), I finally did it. I did the thing that I've been wanting to do since senior year of high school but was too chicken to actually do because of my abhorrence of needles. I gave blood. Technically twice too. I mean, the blood donation center chick had to prick my finger with this boxy needle thingy to see if I had enough iron and enough blood (??? could you really not have enough blood?) to give. So those 7 or so droplets count to me. I mean, after all, they are precious.

After doing all that, I thought ok, I'm clear. I even went so far as to type that as my Facebook status on my phone app. But before I could push send, homegirl whipped out a blood pressure cuff. My finger hovered above my phone and my pulse began to quicken as I saw the challenge coming to a crashing halt before my eyes. I squeaked out, could high blood pressure prevent me from donating blood. I had to ask because, you see, my blood pressure is the whole reason I was even able to be in the donation center during the middle of the day on a work day. I am on medical leave because I can't get the damn thing to stabilize. Teaching is such a stressful job when it's not your passion. I even have acne now and have lost 40lbs because of it (see my about me pic). What prompted my doctor to authorize a leave (actually, she's been telling me to quit since October) is that on Wednesday, January 19th, my bp hit 170/108 plus it initiated a massive migraine. Immediate leave of absence required to save my life (maybe not something so drastic but it was enough to scare me and really concern her).

So, here I am, challenging myself to do something useful with my time every single day-- which brings me back to the point of this entry.

The donation lady (ok, I'll share her name, Marie), wrapped the cuff around my upper left arm and began pumping away on the little blue ball (get your minds out the gutter).  I waited with bated breath and sweaty palms, dreading the number she was going to utter. She removed the cuff and said, "Not bad. 124/90". Maybe she's dyslexic. One TWENTY-four? Come on. But who was I to argue with a medical professional? I had my all clear; I was going to be a life saver. I was going to be a blood donor.

Skipping over the whole prep process in which Marie alcohol swapped the inner nook of my left arm so vigorously that I had to double check to make sure I still had my pigmentation ("have to be cautiously clean"), I want to end this entry with this: it didn't hurt all that much. In fact, it hurt less than the IV I had two weeks ago (in the same spot). And I'm glad I did it. I know I said it tongue in cheek before but I really do hope what I've done today can help save a life. I feel good and that's what this 30-day challenge is all about.

Take me, James (Twilight), I'm yours.
That's right!
She said, now that you've given once, you can come back to give again. And the look on my face says...?