Archive | August, 2011

Rainbows

31 Aug

I sat in our family’s van crying in protest. “Please don’t make me go, please Momma. I can’t make friends again. We’ll move soon anyways, please Momma. I can’t do this.”  My mom took my hand softly, trying to calm me. “We won’t be moving honey and you have to go to school. You have to try. We don’t have any other options Lace. It’s the first day for everyone and you won’t be the only new person, that should be comforting.” Comforting? Really mom? No, not feeling that emotion now. I sat in the van trying to dry my tears, prolonging the inevitable long walk to the office where I would get my class schedule and map of the campus. I didn’t want to start over. I didn’t even know if my body could handle going to school, it couldn’t 2 years ago…

It was drizzling misty rain as I walked ever-so-slowly to the main office. I gave the woman my name and she handed me my class schedule and the map. “Welcome to Lake Stevens High School, Lacey. Please let us know if you need anything today, we’re here to help!” Ugh, she was so chipper. I thanked her without making eye contact as I stared at my classes, walking toward door.

First up, Physical Education. GYM!? No, this wasn’t right. Oh great! I should have turned and told the plump, chipper lady that I can’t take gym but I didn’t think she’d believe me. No teen wants to take P.E. and I looked totally “normal”. I didn’t want to cause a stir while the office was full of other new students and bustling staff. The last thing I wanted was to draw attention to myself. So I left the office and headed to gym class. Lucky for me it was only the course orientation and nothing was expected from me physically that day. I was removed from P.E. the following week when they found a place for me elsewhere; the attendance office with the plump chipper lady.

The first day went by fine, lonely and long but fine nonetheless. It wasn’t until a week later that a girl in my English class noticed my last name and told me it sounded really familiar to her. I don’t know why it did, I’d never seen her before in my life until I came to this class. The next day she came to English class armed with a wealth of history, history her and I shared…and a picture of the two of us in adorable Rainbow outfits (kind of like girl scouts but in miniature form). As soon as I saw this picture I fully remembered who she was to me. Our families had attended the same church when we were little girls and their family happened to be the neighbors of my grandparents’ life-long friends. We had spent countless childhood hours together. I remembered playing dolls with her, being at rainbows together, eating popsicles on her Grandma’s porch…she was my first friend. Wow, miniscule word much!?

Upon catching up with her, she invited me to join her at lunch and meet some of her friends. I was excited! I really hoped I could reconnect with my first friend and make friends with these other girls. And I did.

It wasn’t long before I was accepted as one of the girls, there were 12 of us give or take a few. We were an awesome group, self-named “The Lake Posse”. Every girl was attractive, all of us had a unique quality to contribute and held a level of popularity around the school. Even I had gained some popularity at school soon after joining the group of girls, and it felt nice to be liked.

I know what you are thinking. Something along the lines of the female characters from that movie “Mean Girls”. No, we weren’t “plastic”, we weren’t mean or overly conceited. Well maybe 1 or 2 of them, but nothing cruel. We were fun girls, some of us a little more crazy than others but we were all nice girls; accepting of all types of people. Sure we had our “mean girl” moments when a fellow friend needed some backing-up, but that’s just friendship if you ask me.

I even got my first real boyfriend that year. He was an instant crush since the first day of school and the day he became my boyfriend, I thought I had one the life lottery. Oh how I loved him! I had never felt that way about a guy before, I truly did love him. Well, as much as a 14-year-old knows about love and what it is, I felt all that.

Everyone in my life was understanding of my muscle issues. No one ever questioned the validity of my illness, although they made it quite clear that they missed me when I’d be absent from school and I should “work on that”. Haha, they were wonderful. I did my best to manage my disorder but high school was very demanding on my body. I think the key reason I passed the 9th grade was because of my awesome group of girlfriends and that special guy. Knowing I had these people to meetup with really drove me to push on and find a way to operate through the pain. And I did more often than not.

I have countless memories from my freshman year, it was my favorite year of high school. In fact, it’s one of the favorite years of my life. When I think back I don’t remember pain or other physical struggles, although they were ever-present. All I can think of is how much I loved my life in Lake Stevens. I loved the family I had nearby (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins). I loved the friendships I made. I loved the rain and the smell it would leave in the air long after it had stopped. I loved Seattle and the diversity of people the city drew in. I loved the beauty of Washington, all the nature that surrounded me was breathtaking. Sure my family struggled financially but money is irrelevant to me when love is so abundant. I didn’t care that we were living in the projects, I would have been extremely happy living in Washington for the rest of my life. Washington is home to me, it always had been and it always will be. I truly hoped we would stay there. Of course, that wasn’t the case.

My dad took a job in Meridian, Idaho two weeks before I was to start the 10th grade. I was heartbroken. My girlfriends wanted to send me off in a happy way, so they threw me a surprise going away party. The boy my heart would always belong to as well as every friend I loved showed up. Each one of them gave me a special gift that represented a memory we had shared together. They even made me a scrapbook full of all the fun memories we had shared as a group. They truly were amazing friends…how would I ever replace them? I gave them all tearful hugs, hating that this would be the last one we’d share for a while. I lingered in the embrace of the guy who was no longer my boyfriend but that I would love for years to come…and said goodbye. I didn’t know when I would be back again, but I was determined to not let these relationships disappear.

We packed up everything once again and relocated our lives back to Idaho. This time I was not welcoming or understanding of the move. I was angry and more sad than I ever had been. I left my heart in Lake Stevens with everyone I loved. I was completely set against making friends or setting up a new life. I hated it. Idaho sucked, the people were weird and seemed to all look the same, and I didn’t like the smell. It smelled like dust and occasionally cow poop when the wind would blow in the wrong direction. Did it ever rain here? Come to find out it did rain once in a while, but that only made the air smell like dirt, not dust. I longed for home.

 

Whether I wanted to or not, there I was starting the 10th grade a week late. Apparently I walked into school looking like a freak to all those around me (or at least that’s how everyone stared at me). Idaho was a bit behind on the latest trends when it came to fashion, and I was basically wearing a bright neon sign that said “New in town, make fun of me.” And they did…

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Choose a job you love…

29 Aug

and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. ~Confucius (smart dude knows what’s up)

I dived right into all things Nanny! My bosses gave me a list of what was expected of me as their children’s nanny, and I settled into the routine with ease. I even took on cooking dinner several nights a week as my employers had a crazy schedule and I much preferred home-cooked meals to take-out.

I found my job to be fun and fulfilling, it never felt like work. The girls I looked after were 10 and 12, both very easy to take care of. I could tell immediately that they craved attention and were very happy to be getting mine.  My days usually consisted of waking up the girls, insuring they ate breakfast while I packed their lunches, took them to school, running back home to do a few household chores and prep dinner, picking the girls up from school, helping with homework, feeding them and then seeing they got to bed by a decent hour when a parent wasn’t home. I also played the role of chauffeur during the week and some times on the weekends; taking them to their many sport practices and games. I really was loving life and loving my job. I thought I was doing a great job and reassured myself that I was by the happiness both of the girl exuded constantly. They loved me, and I loved them. The closer I became to the girls the more apparent it was that even though they now had me, they longed for the affection and attention of their parents. It was obvious my bosses put their careers above raising their family and this saddened me. But, if they weren’t workaholics I wouldn’t have this job… So I tried to be everything I could for the girls. I couldn’t replace their mom but I could definitely show them I cared through everything I did. And that was the most satisfying part of being a Nanny for me.

I also loved my new environment, it was big and beautiful. I had a separate entrance and a wing of the furnished basement was completely mine while I lived there. I had been given a brand new Jetta to use as my own without any of the costs related to owning it. And on top of all that I was receiving a really good wage and enjoying every payday!

For some reason my employers weren’t as happy or satisfied as I was. I had been working for their family for nearly 3 months and as far as I knew I was doing excellently. The girls and I were getting along great, I had helped both of them improve their grades, and they were so happy in general. But this wasn’t enough.

In fact, they called my parents expressing concern for me. They told my parents that they didn’t think I was healthy enough to be working (I made the mistake of telling them about my past muscle issues) and that they weren’t fond of the guy I was dating. My parents told them they needed to be discuss these concerns with me and not them, as I am their employee.

So there I sat opposite the mom-boss and dad-boss. They started off saying they thought my health was declining, noting I had been very tired recently and not very active on the weekends. I reassured them this was only because I had been working longer hours as the girls’ schedules were getting busier with sports and they (the parents) weren’t home much recently. See, I didn’t hold a 9-5 type nanny job. My work-day began at 5am each morning with the girls and did not stop until around 10:30pm most nights. So yes, come the weekend all I wanted to do was sleep-in, relax and go visit a guy I was seeing in Portland. With the mention of “the guy”, they disregarded my reasoning for being a bit tired and pounced on their dislike of him. They made it known that they did not like him and did not want me driving in their car to see him. I asked why they disliked him as they had never met him and what they did know of him was his love of motorcycles, his job and his career goals. They had no response to my counter question, they just reiterated that I was to no longer use their car to visit him. I again, without feeling intimidated by their aggressive and out of nowhere questioning, added that they never gave me stipulations in regards to my use of the car. “Did you not say it was to be at my disposal for whatever I wanted to do? That I could leave my vehicle with my parents because I would have one here to be mine?”  They didn’t answer me. They just stared at me, and then each other, and then me again. With the long silence and stare-fest not ending, I again reassured them of my good health and added in that I was sorry they didn’t like my male-friend but that if it was of any consequence, I had no intention of introducing him to the girls or themselves anyways. I let them also know I did not want to mix my personal life with my work life, they needed to be separate in order to maintain good boundaries between everyone. At that, the mother-boss broke their silence and said this was unacceptable. They wanted their Nanny to be like a part of the family, like a big sister to their girls, like a daughter to them. They wanted to be 100% involved in my life and that is why they felt they needed to sit down with me and discuss their “concerns”.

I gave this all some thought before I responded. It felt like hours with stare-a-thon that was transpiring while I pondered. Finally I responded that I view myself as an employee. I am a Nanny, not a family member. This is my job, I already have parents and siblings. Without even giving thought to what I had just said to them the dad-boss stated  he felt on top of the other concerns voiced, that they were needing a nanny that could also incorporate responsibilities of a maid. He said their last nanny did so much house work that they were unaware of now up until now, since I do “very little” it is apparent she was going above and beyond. (Are you kidding me?)

Even this did not discourage me though. Sure I was reaching the “pissed off point” but I wasn’t wanting to quit. I asked him to make a list of household chores he would like me to start doing in addition to my Nanny duties, and we could agree upon a new salary. At this statement I reached a wall. He hesitantly said, No… that will not work. We don’t believe your health is good enough to be our nanny, let alone add more responsibilities. I tried to argue how wrong he was, that this was insane… but I was interrupted.

“We no longer desire you to be our Nanny, we will be seeking someone else to be our maid and to take our girls to their after school activities. They are old enough now that they don’t need the constant care of a nanny, our home needs more attention.” I couldn’t believe he was firing me… “But no need to rush away. You can stay downstairs until you find a new job or a way back home. Please don’t feel as if we are throwing you out of our home. ” I stood up silently and shook my head in understanding, tears now falling from my cheeks and left the room.

I sat in my room stunned, trying to make sense of everything that just happened. The girls did need me, I knew they did. They needed someone until their parents would be around for them. That wasn’t going to change. They were wealthy enough to employ a full-time house-keeper as well as a nanny, I even offered to do both jobs! This was so very out of the blue. I felt so wronged… None of it made sense to me. All of their strange “concerns” should have been put to rest with my explanations…they were determined to fire me by any means and I didn’t know why. What horrible people! They moved me here 3 months ago and now they are telling me they don’t need a nanny, shouldn’t they have given that more thought before moving me 1,600 miles from my home?

No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I called my parents and gave them the short version of what transpired, they were very upset to put it lightly. Then I called my Aunt and Uncle who lived 45 mins away and asked if they would come get me, and let me stay with them till I can figure out where I am going… They were there in less than 30 mins.

The girls were heartbroken once their parents told them I leaving. They came into my room as I was shoving all my belongings angrily into big black garbage bags and chucking them into boxes. I paused to settle my anger and looked at both of their saddened faces. I didn’t know what to say to make them smile, this truly was horrible and I knew they were feeling loss. They were losing the only person in their home who made them feel important and showed them love by actions and not money…they were losing a friend and their nanny. I made it very clear to the girls that I care deeply for them both and that my leaving is by no choice of my own. That this is just as much a shock to me as it is to them. I continued to pack until my Uncle barged in and started moving me out in record speed. I left my email address with both the girls and was out of there within an hour of being “let go”.

My bosses didn’t offer to help me with a ticket home, they didn’t give me that weeks paycheck, they didn’t even say they were sorry.

By no fault of my own I was out of a job and living with my ever-so-wonderful Aunt and Uncle for a month. I broke up with that guy I was seeing a few days after losing my job, funny enough. I realized I desired more than a casual romance and that I deserved far more than he was willing or even capable of giving me in our relationship.

I look back at this short period of my life and I am proud of myself. I was an exceptional Nanny and I handled the firing with a lot more grace than I would nowadays… I lack grace people, its true. Unfortunately I don’t have any life lessons from this experience to share. Well, maybe the obvious and annoyingly true one we’ve heard time and time again, usually from people we don’t want to hear it from: Life can be unfair.

I decided to take my sister up on her offer for me to live with her and her husband in Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. Boy I hoped that was the right decision. Leah and I hadn’t always had the best relationship (putting it lightly)…this sure would test its limits. I also happened to meet a guy on Myspace while waiting for my grandparents to drive me back to Idaho with them. Little did I know he’d end up being more to me than just another internet friend….

Bryballs

29 Aug

More than a few words come to mind when I think of my younger but much bigger brother Bryballs: Funny, Compassionate, Crazy, Unpredictable, Loving, Money lover, Carefree, Loyal, Adventurous, Stubborn. All of these words describe my brother, but they only scratch the surface. He’s so awesome. Anyone who knows him on any level is blessed and better because of knowing him. But beyond all those adjectives he is so much more to me; he’s my first best friend. He’s been my best friend since the day he was born(a year after I was), and I am not exaggerating. The day he was born was the day I received a live-in best friend. Sure we’ve had times where we wanted nothing to do with each other and only drove each other nuts, but those times were rare and short-lived.

I could list off memories or favorite moments but there are far too many to do so. I’ll just say we grew up doing everything together. Learning to ride bikes, playing outside, getting in trouble, learning to swim, shared a bed-time and a bed room until I was 9, almost everything connected to my childhood experiences is linked to my brother. We even had a nickname that referred to the both of us, “The little ones”. Because we were a 2 for 1 deal, inseparable.

When I started struggling with my health, it affected Bry. To an extent he lost his play-time friend. I couldn’t easily keep up with his endless energy and when I tried, I’d pay for it. We were so young that I don’t know how Bry processed this or how it made him feel. I’d ask him but he doesn’t remember very much from his childhood, especially before age 10. That being said I’ll tell you what I do know.

Bry was about 13 when he took the job of my caregiver when both of my parents had to work. When I would be in too much pain to go to school, he would stay home and take care of me. He took on the responsibility without hesitation. He’d bring me food and make me tea, give me my medications, keep me company while watching movies or tolerating my mid-morning habit of watching Star Trek… He’d even carry me to the bathroom, set me on the toilet and stand outside listening making sure I didn’t fall off while trying to adjust all my clothes before and after “going”. He did all this without complaint, I never felt like a burden to him. Although I often felt bad I couldn’t just be a “normal” sister, whatever that is…

We were still best friends through our teen years. We shared friends, experiences and the same form of rebellion. We were thick as thieves you could say… We’d take each others secrets to the grave. Although neither of us really have them anymore as we both enjoy the freedom of being who we are and not hiding anything. Most people know his past, everyone will surely know mine soon if they don’t already…and neither of us care. We are who we are and carry no shame in that. You can take us this way, or find someone else to fit your needs…

The relationship I have with my brother is one of the most special and meaningful relationships that I have, some may say sacred. He has been a constant player in my first hand and my re-deal. He’s aided me usually without even knowing he was. Mostly with his friendship and unconditional love, but also with his strength and wit.

 

Bryballs,

There is nothing I can write to you that I haven’t told you already at some point in our lives, whether in the distant past or just last week. There is nothing I keep from you, good or bad. We have a friendship based on honesty, unconditional love, and a mutual admiration of our individual awesomeness. There is no comparison to what we share as brother and sister, or even as friends. We may live over 4,000 miles from each other but you never feel far from me, from my heart. Thank you for being you and loving me just as I am. I have been doubly blessed to have you as a player in my first hand and an ever-present player in my re-deal as well. You are growing into such an amazing young man as I always knew you would, I’m so proud of you Bryballs. I look forward to the happy day when we can bask in each others’ awesomeness…Tougher Mudder 2012! I love you.

Always,

Lace

 

Success is not final, failure is not fatal:

25 Aug

It is the courage to continue that counts. ~Winston Churchill

Leaving the city associated with my physical and emotional pain, as well my countless regretful choices, made it so much easier to find perspective concerning the past 3 years of my life and to focus on my body’s healing. To put it mildly though, I had a lot of crap to sort through and learn from. Over the course of a couple of months I stayed strict to my body’s healing regimen and used a journal to recount the prior three years. Sometimes I would just write everything out as it happened, and other times I would express my emotions through poetry. I addressed everything I was proud of and everything I was ashamed of. I addressed every type of pain and what or who was associated with it.  It wasn’t easy looking back in with a clear mind, no longer clouded by narcotics. To see my past as it truly was made me feel terrible inside. What I did to my body and how I misused my parents’ trust was shameful in the least. Oh how I regretted so many things! How do people continue on in life with this feeling and still feel good about themselves? Is it possible?

I found that it wasn’t possible for me. In order to feel good about myself and move on happily in my life, I had to address each regret. I had to “right the wrongs” so to say. Whether it was to my parents, my siblings, a friend, God or myself…

God came first on the list of righting wrongs but he was already in the know. There wasn’t much to tell him since the guy sees everything… I repented for all the sins that stained my soul. I knew I had found forgiveness when he granted me the strength and courage to forge on to the next in line, My parents. I knew there was nothing I could tell them that would change their love for me but seeing their hurt and disappointment was going to be so much harder than baring it all. And it truly was. That day I made an inner-vow to always be transparent and honest with my parents. I kept that vow consistently to this day, excepting one more recent period of time where I felt justified in my reasoning (this will be covered soon). Sometimes I even share when it’s totally unnecessary and contains somewhat inappropriate content for parents… But they love me just the same and take me as I am!

Communicating my regrets with the people I loved became very freeing for me.  There were no more secrets looming about. Lacey has some ugly history and everyone knows it. Talk about a weight lifted off my shoulders! Once I took accountability for my actions and everyone I loved had forgiven me, I had to convince my biggest critic that I was deserving of forgiveness and a clear conscience. It wasn’t easy in the least, but I eventually managed to win myself over. I turned the negative choices into positive learning experiences. Then I let go of all the shame and regrets…time to move forward happily.

 

Now it was time to pursue a life adventure. I was just itching to get out into the world on my own in someway I never thought possible. I was positive my body could handle this now, I could feel it. I wish I would have chosen to go back to college and give a second go at becoming a Child Psychologist, but I didn’t. Perhaps I was too afraid to try again, or maybe it was God’s plan, I really don’t know. But for some reason I got it in my head to become a nanny.

I signed up on a few nanny-search websites and had really good luck right off the bat. Three families were interested in hiring me and actively pursuing me within a month of posting my ad. When it came down to choosing there was one clear choice: The family from Oregon City, OR. They claimed to be a Christian family who was very down to earth and loving. They had two girls ages 10 and 12 who were very active in sports and in need of an “older sister” figure. To top it all off they were very wealthy and offered me a generous wage, a new car to be at my disposal along with a gas allowance, as well as the entire basement of there near-mansion-sized home to call my own. There really didn’t seem to be a down-side to this arrangement. After several emails, phone calls and a background check I shipped my belongings off to Oregon City. Soon after I drove up to Boise with my brother, where I hopped on a plane and arrived at my new life adventure!

(There is a story completely in itself pertaining to the drive from Las Cruces to Boise with my brother, but I’m going to save it for a post that’s coming soon.)

 

So there I was, Lacey the Nanny. I was living my re-deal and it felt good!

Hello Goodbye.

25 Aug

We had lived in Wilder, Idaho for four years, my mom would say this was “4 years too long”. But if you asked me then, I’d have said I loved my life there. I had an awesome circle of friends from school and church as well as my maternal grandparents, my aunt, uncle and cousins who lived nearby. I liked Wilder in general when it came to the life I had there, but the church congregation my dad was the Pastor of started to cause our family emotional pain.

For the most part I was ignorant of all that was going on between members of the church and my father. I knew some people weren’t happy with my dad as their church’s pastor, that they all had different ideas of what my parents should be doing concerning a number of things (what they were, I didn’t know), and that a select few thought they should be in charge…and my dad should leave. The ends and outs of all that transpired within that church body are irrelevant to my story, but it did make an impact on me in one way.

At the age of 11 I thought all Christians were truly great people. That somehow this meant they all were constantly living in a way that was pleasing to God. That they all had good hearts, good intentions, and would never hurt another person. What I didn’t realize then was being a Christian didn’t make you invulnerable to human nature. I was very disappointed when I finally understood this. From then on I ignored the word Christian entirely and rarely said I was. I wanted people to judge me based on how I live my life and how I treat others. I didn’t want them to think poorly of God when I fell short of societies understanding of what a Christian is. Whenever someone happened to ask if I followed a religion I would never hesitate in saying that “I try to live my life in a way that makes God happy. Yes, the Christian God you hear of.”. Being a Christian is a way of life. By saying you are a Christian is identifying yourself as one who has a relationship with God and tries hard to follow his word. This doesn’t always mean we succeed, it just means we TRY…

At just the right time God opened a door out of Wilder and my dad lead our family through it to Omak, Washington. He had taken a position as the Sr. Pastor of Church there. I was sad to leave my friends and family but I was really happy for a new beginning.

Omak was great. Everything seemed to fall into place quite quickly. There were several girls my age who I became close friends with (some still in my life to this day). My dad enjoyed his job, enjoyed his colleagues and his congregation. My mom as well fit right in and was welcomed by everyone. My brother who has never known a stranger he entire life had no issue re-making friends. My sister struggled a bit though. I know she was happy to be out of Wilder, but there was something in her that was not content. She’d pursue early graduation to enable herself to go to college within a year or so of us moving there. But we as a family hadn’t been this happy in a while, it felt so good.

Ya know what also felt good? Not being on food-stamps and having real healthcare! I never was one to care that we were poor but not being poor had a wonderful effect on my parents. My parents didn’t have to worry about finances like they had been for many years. They were able to provide for us kids as well as for themselves with more ease than they ever had before. We enjoyed living in a beautiful (but pretty old) house, we took several family vacations, we worn store-bought clothes, ate name-brand cereal and from a kids perspective had THE BEST CHRISTMAS’ EVER!!! But regardless of how happy and secure I felt in Omak, I still had my ever-present pains, weaknesses, and general health struggles to live with.

I started the 6th grade and I gave it all I could to attend, oh how I loved learning (not joking, love learning). Unfortunately as much as I tried, I couldn’t physically do it. Half-way through the school-year it was obvious we needed to approach my education differently. So we turned to a local Christian School that offered home-school curriculum and the use of their teachers for questions and testing. My brother seemed to like the idea of homeschooling also, so he joined me the following year. Needless to say I excelled at the whole “go at your own pace” type approach and finished the 6th grade with ease and early. The following school year I ended up blowing through both 7th and 8th grade (told ya, love learning). My brother on the other hand did the bare minimum required of him to finish in time and got that done.

Around the age of 12 I found a way to manage my hand and enjoy playing it while living in Omak. Nothing happened to my body anymore that wasn’t normal, well normal for me anyhow. I learned how to live within the perimeters of my disorder and the importance of balance (I knew the importance, doesn’t mean I exuded it). I knew what choices were good for my body, and which ones would cause extra pain. Not going to lie, I sometimes chose the extra pain in order to have more fun…but doesn’t everyone once in a while? By the age of 13 I had accepted my life will always have physical pain, weakness, fatigue and occasionally paralysis but that the degree of pain and frequency of paralysis would be completely dependent on my own choices.

A few short weeks after graduating 8th grade we had to leave Omak. I was devastated and so angry… I loved it there. I had the most amazing friends! I was a part of their families and they were a part of mine. Why did we have to leave a place and a life we loved so much, everyone loved it, not just me. Well, to put it simply and honestly, for the same reasons we had to leave the last church in Wilder. People and their desire for power. What was really hurtful about it this time though was it was brought on by people my dad considered friends. People my dad had grown close to, trusted and respected. People that I knew and had become a part of their family. I didn’t have a personal relationship with the church members in Wilder that created the chaos there, but I did with these. What they did hurt me and made me so angry. They had spread lies throughout the church body to the extent that the damage was irreparable. The congregation stood divided, some people even left the church sickened by all that was happening…can’t say I blame them. But we didn’t do anything wrong! My dad was an awesome pastor who loved everyone and always had the church’s best interest at heart. It felt like the innocent were being punished, it wasn’t fair to me. I can only imagine how my parents felt though. They were betrayed by their friends. My dad now had to try to find a new job to provide for his family. How could they do this to us? At least the Church Head Office gave my dad several months severance pay and an apology for having to replace him. It was nice knowing they never held my dad responsible for the breakdown of the church, and that they cared enough for our family to not leave us penniless.

It took me a long time to forgive these people for their actions but unfortunately I have not forgotten. I would advise against any of them approaching me to say hello and inquire about myself or my family…. Remember, Christians aren’t above human nature but we do try…

It felt like it was just the other day I was saying my first hello to my girl friends and now I was saying tearful goodbyes as my dad delivered his last sermon. With our van packed, belongings in storage, we we’re moving again… After a small and much-needed family vacation we set up life in Lake Stevens, Washington. Just in time for the first day of high school…

Poker Face

25 Aug

People in my life have been emailing me after reading my posts and are expressing that they had no idea I was in so much pain (they all knew I had muscle issues but not always the full extent of the impact), or that I faced so many challenges or disappointments so early on. No one has told me this, but I am getting the impression that they are feeling as if they may not know me as well as they thought. Or that they now think our friendship/relationship wasn’t as deep as it should or could have been. Almost like they are just now getting to know the very core of me and why I am the woman they love.

I wanted to take time to validate your feelings and let you know that it is by no fault of own if you did not know the in’s and out’s of all that was “me”. I am completely at fault and so beyond guilty for you not knowing what you are reading of.

Years before Lady Gaga wrote the song, I had mastered the art of the “Poker Face”. From the moment I was dealt my first hand I utilized it fully. The Poker Face was essential to my overall happiness in life for two reasons. One, I was determined to not let my friends and family see my true level of pain, or any other emotion that would make them feel sympathy. Sympathy was not something I wanted from them. I wanted these teammates to be strong and not stricken with worry. Secondly, I needed this face to give me strength to get through whatever challenged me. I used the face as a distraction from the reality of my hand, making myself less able to dwell on whatever I was suffering from physically or mentally. My poker face was mostly made up of non-stop humor and the smiles brought to the faces of the people around me often supplied the driving force behind my perseverance.

When I wore the Poker Face I was able to fool people who knew me and even myself sometimes. After reading emails and talking personally with some friends about my posts, I can’t help but feel I lied my way through my hand and even to some of my key players. Maybe we will call it omission, yeah that sits better with me somehow…

I wish I could say I regret wearing the Poker Face so very often. That I wish I could go back and discard it, to be transparent with those around me but that would be a bigger lie than the Poker Face itself.

I (as a child) wouldn’t have been able to find the strength to persevere  if I could see worry and pain permanently etched on the faces of my players, my soul would have disintegrated.  From the perspective of the woman I am today, I can’t help but think I robbed my players of a chance to challenge themselves. Had I not worn the face so often, maybe others could have risen to the occasion and worn the Poker Face for me… For this I am regretful. I regret not having faith in my players to be strong enough for me to be weak and depriving them of an opportunity to lend me their strength. I wish I would have allowed myself to show weakness and vulnerability more often and to more people.

At 24-years-old I now understand the importance of showing weakness and being vulnerable with the people I love and trust (and even some strangers). I’d be lying if I said I retired the Poker Face completely as sometimes it’s necessary for the greater good of life in general. For the most part though, when faced with a challenge (physical, mental or emotional) I can not easily overcome by myself I do not hesitate to call upon my exquisite teammates for help.

God places people in our lives so we never have to be physically or emotionally alone. Have faith that God has purposefully chosen your teammates, who are all capable of aiding you in whatever hand you are dealt. In fact, God may have placed specific people on your team to give them the chance to show his love, his strength and for their own person growth. Please do not rob them of the blessing they could give you, and in turn, themselves.

Fear not for the future, weep not for the past.

23 Aug

The title of this post comes from Percy Bysshe Shelley, one of my favorite poets.

At 16 1/2 years old my world opened up as my body began its healing. Over a period of 6 months I stuck to a vigorous regime and I could feel my body literally healing from the inside. Against my doctor’s wishes I took myself completely off all pain medications, muscle relaxers and antidepressants, cold-turkey. I was on the fast-track to a new life, and I was ready to take full advantage of this re-deal.

I guess you could say I got a little ahead of myself by picking up my re-deal before my first hand was completely played out. Two months into my seemingly new life I started to dream and see that they could now be a reality. I never thought to go to college because honestly I figured, what’s the point of continuing education if I wouldn’t be able to use my degree in a life-long career? But now I could! I could dream and I could force those dreams into reality, my new reality. I was determined to pursue a degree in Child Psychology and hoped to minor in Sociology. I wanted to help children who struggled with disabilities and dealt with chronic pain. I wanted to be someone they could talk to because I had been there. Who better than to offer perspective and support than myself? I literally knew all they were feeling physically and emotionally. This would be my way of giving back to God for the gift he had given me.

You are probably thinking I had a few years to finish high school and then I would pursue college. Well, because of my inability to attend high school regularly due to all my health issues coupled with my immense brain power, I graduated at 15, right before turning 16. This meant I didn’t have to wait, I just needed to get accepted and sort out financial aid which was easy enough. I charged off into the adventure of college that fall!

I enrolled at Boise State University and took 4 classes to start. My classes consisted of Psych-101, Sociology-101 Creative Writing and “Bonehead” Math (Me and Math never understood each other, and never will).  My parents were a little apprehensive as this whole “no pain” thing was relatively new and college was going to be very demanding on me mentally and physically. I brushed off their concerns thinking they were overreacting, as parents are known for doing. But a few weeks into classes I started realizing they had a valid cause for concern.

I began feeling very fatigued and started peeing out muscle protein again. See, my classes happened to be on opposite sides of the large campus and I was walking back and forth all day. My body also wasn’t getting the rest it needed as I stayed up far too late being a perfectionist on my assignments. To the average, healthy person this wouldn’t have been an issue. But my body-on-the-mend, couldn’t handle this kind of exertion. Contrary to whatever I believed, I wasn’t that average, healthy person yet.

We began calling around in search of a power scooter to help me get from class to class. There was no way we could afford to buy one, but we did have several resources through MDA and hoped they could give us one from their medical equipment loan-locker. We got lucky, they had one for me! The scooter worked its wonders and enabled me to get from class to class that month. But like I said, this was on loan, they needed it back. So now what? There were 3 weeks left in the semester and I was determined to see it through. I was going to force my body to deal with it.

I had no intention of giving up, but my body had no other choice. 1 week before finals my legs failed me. I ended up in the hospital with lower extremity paralysis for the longest period of time I had ever experienced, nearly 36 hours. The pain upon regaining their use was excruciating  as it usually was, but this time I felt something that never had accompanied my paralysis episodes. I felt the sting of defeat, I felt failure. I had never allowed myself to have dreams before in fear of being unable to achieve them because of my body’s limitations. I had crafted this idea of my new future, I had given my heart over to it. I had poured all of myself into this dream and within those 36 hours of paralysis and the days of pain that followed it, my dream had shattered.Well actually, I just threw it in the trash like a 16-year-old twit.

I missed my finals, I failed my classes. Had my body not flaked out I would have finished that semester with a shining GPA and been well on my way to completing my goal. I like to believe that if this scenario had played out when I was 18 or in my early 20’s that I would have given it a second go. That I would have seen this failure as a minor road-block, not a dead-end. Oh how I wish I would have found the determination to dust myself off, figure out a new approach, and gave a re-try to achieve my goal…but I didn’t. I let negativity consume me and I rejected my dream. I could have learned so many things from this experience but instead I walked away thinking there was no point in dreaming, because my dreams will never be able to enter the realm of reality. I felt humiliated, foolish and defeated.It was quite a pity-party I tell you.

After that event my life consisted of the vigorous healing regimen, continuing the process of ridding myself of not-so-great “friends”, resisting the old habits of alcohol and smoking pot, all the while trying very hard not to get mad at God again.

As I was starting to get over my “college failure” and the depression that came with it, my dad got a job in Las Cruces, NM as a Truss-Plant manager (a totally different storyline but my dad left the ministry when I was 13 to give our family a more stable life. Surprisingly enough, church ministry is very taxing on the family of the Pastor in many ways…). It was time to move…again. Usually when it was time to move, as we did nearly every 2 years when I was a child, I cried. I never wanted to move, and often times I would refuse to make friends for several months upon arriving in the new town. Eventually I would get over it, make friends, and fall in love with my new surroundings…usually just in time to be uprooted again. This time was different though. I would miss my best friend K but I was secure enough in our friendship that I knew distance wouldn’t break our bond. I had nothing else tied to Boise besides her.

I welcomed this fresh start. Maybe it would bring me far enough away from my past that I could clearly focus on the present.

Momma

22 Aug

Where to begin? So many emotions and memories flood into my mind and make it nearly impossible to define a start point for this post. I’ve been staring at my laptop for about 5 minutes now running through possible starter lines, or a clever way to ease into all that is awesome about my Momma… No luck. Whatever, I’ll just piss off the perfectionist inside me and just put it all out there void of any flow and in a non-eloquent fashion.
My mom is awesome to put it mildly. Pretty much any word synonymous with spectacular can be used to describe her. She has been a consistent player in my game of life since the day I was born. I could even go so far as to give her credit for that whole 9 months of pregnancy thing (I suppose she has something to do with my life even before I was aware I had one).

 

She was and is Wonder Woman to me. She did it all. From the standard mom jobs of cooking, cleaning up after her slob-ish family, helping with homework, running us around to friends houses, as well as the occasional 9-5 job mixed in there. But she had a much more demanding job when it came to taking care of me.
I know you’re thinking it would be such a pleasure to take care of me, I’m supertastic! And you are right, I am supertastic. But its true, it was demanding and very emotionally draining for her at times. Many late nights/early mornings she would hold me as pain consumed my body. I know she must have felt so helpless and worn down from the constant fear of losing me. But her arms around me gave me a relief that no medication could. She spent every night in an uncomfortable chair next to my hospital bed any time I was admitted. She only left my side when my dad wasn’t able to pick up my siblings or she had to pee or something I guess. She was always there (whether I thought I needed her or not), she was my voice when I hadn’t found my own, always my advocate. She’s a fighter and a do-er, she gets things done…I get that from her. She was constantly praying for me and when she wasn’t praying she was tending to my every need and I mean EVERY need. I won’t go into detail but being a caregiver, uhh…well it’s not always just fluffing pillows and massaging muscles. So much of her life has been consumed by caring for others. Rarely did she ever take time to address her own needs.
Some may say, “Well, that’s just being a good mom”. No, you’re wrong. She’s not just a good mom, she’s more than that. She is something that has yet to be named in the English language. I hope to someday discover the word that encompasses all that she truly is. But until then saying that I have the most ‘consummate mother’ on the planet will have to do.

 

To you, my dearest Momma:

You are a blessing to my life. I know what we share as Mother/Daughter is something unique and special, I wouldn’t trade it for ALL the Whoopass in the world. (You know that’s saying a lot because I’d trade several adults, animals, and countries for that delivery of Whoopass.) You are not only my mother but you are my friend. I can share anything with you and I know that you will give me the blunt-honest-truth in return. I’m glad I inherited your ability to speak the blunt-honest-truth. Although, you have found a way to put more grace into your deliverance of truth than I currently have. That leaves me something to aspire to. You and I (and unfortunate others) know I lack grace… =)
Without your consistent game-play and the sacrifices you made in your life to secure my hand, I wouldn’t have lived long enough to receive my re-deal, I truly believe that.
But Momma, I can see the residue my childhood of pain left inside your heart. It affects you still to this day and I can feel it any time I tell you about something slightly odd going on with my body. Momma, you don’t have to carry that burden anymore. God has lifted my burden out of me, now it is time for you to let him lift yours as well. Let go of the fear, heartbreak and stress my first hand left you with, that hand is over.
Come join me (sans the anxiety) in my re-deal where all I need from you is you and nothing more.

Thank you for your unconditional love, support, encouragement, prayers and friendship over the past 24 years and for all I can expect to receive until we leave this earth. I love you more than Costco apple pie and Whoopass combined plus a bunch of other stuff… Hmm, doesn’t really equal my love for you. Mom I love you so much, right up there with how much I love God. Yup, right there, captured the love amount.

Your favorite middle daughter,
Lace

P.S. You are always right. I’ll admit it.

 

 

To my reader: I still don’t feel I was able to convey how awesome my mom is. But that’s ok. People really couldn’t grasp it unless she was their mom too. And I’m not willing to sell her, or trade her as stated above and as it is I have to share her with so many other people its ridiculous! Just take my word for it, anyone would be beyond lucky to have her as a player in their game of life. Unless you are looking for a good “poker face” because hers sucks… What? It’s true! I’m not being rude, she knows it as well. You can read her face like a children’s book…

The “Non-Conformist” Card

22 Aug

Usage Guidelines: Play it when you are trying not to conform (remember those “emo” years…? I do.)
Expiration: When you realize there is no such thing as a non-conformist (replace with the “I’m a Unique Individual” Card)

As I was going through my old notebooks I came across a 2-page rant about non-conformists. Funny enough, I wrote the rant while I viewed myself as one of the “non-conformists”. Hahaha, oh, the younger me. I was 16, I had purple/bright pink/dark brown synthetic dreads that stretched the length of my back. I wore skater brand clothes/shoes, sported dark eyeliner and bright eyeshadow, listened to underground punk music while writing “meaningful poetry”, wore eclectic accessories and things like “arm socks”, oh and smoked a large amount of pot…

That being said, I had thought I was a non-conformists until one day I saw a button my friend R was wearing and something inside of me went off like a bell. Wow, a button bought from Spencer’s Gifts helped me realize something… What is this world coming to when you can learn life lessons from a BUTTON? Haha. Anyways, it simply stated “You non-conformists are all alike”. I immediately hit the web searching for the actual definition of ‘Non Conformist’. What I found inspired the rant I will now share.

Written by the 16-year-old Lacey (The 24-year-old Lacey wanted to EDIT so bad, but refrained for the personal challenge of punching down my inner perfectionist):

Have you ever wondered why people have the power to control your whole being? Your life is constantly in others’ hands, and we just go along with it. You allow “them” to influence your emotions, dreams, how you live your life, even the type of clothing you wear. I mean, it’s insane. We strive to be independent and define ourselves as different. But when it comes down to it there’s something that has already determined or influenced the type of person you are or will be. Like my friend’s button says, “You Non Conformists are all alike”. You can deny this or get offended…but take a step back, open your eyes and mind. The word ‘non-conformist’ means to resist conforming to others’ expectations. So you do this how? Well, for one, you do what you like, say what you want, wear whatever you want. That’s great… if you were to live in a way that is true to who you are.  But then, someone sees you, gets to know you, and starts to admire your individuality. And takes on characteristics that define you. YOU the non-conformist. Someone has conformed to you…little by little they take away what was once defining you. Soon you are surrounded by miniature copies of yourself. I bet all your friends dress, talk, and act like you don’t they?
This is where the button makes sense. This is a world that strives to belong and fit in. We do things to ourselves to prove something. To find acceptance even if it’s by rejecting societies ideals, others will soon follow.
What people need to realize is the outside appearance doesn’t make you a non-conformist. We live in a world that mass produces EVERYTHING. Do not even attempt to be an individual by wearing certain clothes or by piercing and tattooing your body, cuz trust me there are always 2 or more of something. OR there will be once you fork out the cash to acquire your uniqueness. Nothing is ever original. Even what I am writing now has been covered before…
There is no way to be a non-conformist in every sense of the word. And there is no way to avoid being influenced by society, it’s inevitable. But you can be a unique individual. Follow your heart and be happy with who you are. Make your decisions based on your desires and not anyone else’.  Life is so much more enjoyable when you are true to yourself and not societies expectations.

So there it is, the perspective of my 8-years-younger self in its entirety. I wrote this out while I was the epitome of a person who truly believed nonconformism existed.  I actually thought it was a card I was playing, and playing well. I was smug about it too. Hahaha. Oh well, I learned from that button. I kept my dreads because I truly liked them, I listened to music I actually ENJOYED over the underground punk that suited my clothing, I started to live in a way that made me happy…not in a way that made me look different from others. Well, not different from the friends I had but different from “mainstream”. Ya know…”the bad guy”. Lol.

I can honestly say I now live a life that brings me joy. I stand up for myself and others who can’t. I speak with honesty, respect, and love because that’s the best way to speak. I live a life that brings true happiness to myself and to those who surround me. I’m a “unique individual” because of my heart. So thanks 16-year-old self for letting a button cause you to think, motivate you to change your view on individuality and apply it to your life.

*Boy I hope a couple like-minded 16-year-old’s read this post… The younger people learn this, the better our society will be*

Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.

22 Aug

I love Shakespeare for his ability to relate life circumstances through such beautiful verse. Often times he’s stating the obvious, like in the famous verse from Romeo and Juliet. Juliet asks, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It’s so beautifully written but so very plain in meaning. Which is how I want my posts to come across, beautifully written but plain in meaning.

As I stated in previous posts, I grew up poor. My dad had chosen to follow God’s calling and become a Pastor. The clergy do not make much money unless they are apart of those huge, televised congregations… So yeah, the whole family was dealt the “I’m Poor” card because a servant of the Lord doesn’t receive a large salary. We had to stick together in order to get through that deal.

The amazing thing is I never felt poor, I never felt like a poverty stricken child. Even when we were living in a tent in my grandparent’s yard (My mom burned our house down. Hahaha, had to Momma), getting food from the food-bank, receiving hand-me-downs from our financially better-off friends and family, or getting Christmas presents from strangers who picked our name off the tree at a local church. Why didn’t this affect me you ask? Well, because love holds it’s weight in gold. The love freely given by our family and friends, by our church and community but mostly because of the ever-present love in our home, made  me feel so very rich.

Love was so abundant in our home that it created its own force, like the pull of gravity. Our home became the “local hangout” for all our childhood friends. It was the place to be even though we had very little to offer in the form of luxuries, or even food. It was a magnet to children and teens, everyone felt the love inside and that’s all they were coming for.

Twice we were blessed with amazingly timed cash gifts. Still to this day we have no clue who left the wads in our mailbox, but we are eternally grateful to the person or family. If they happen to read this blog, thank you so much for your unconditional giving. I hope you were blessed as immensely as we were by your blind faith.

We as a family have several people to thank for the aid they gave us time after time. For the money, food, gas, shoes, clothes and the occasional awesome hand-me-down video game console (thanks cousins)! All of this giving translated to love. By being surrounded by people who unconditionally loved me and my family, I was able to be poor and content. I indeed felt more rich than anyone I knew.

We may not have had a penny to offer anyone, but our family always had an open heart, an open house, and a willingness to serve those in need however we could. So when things get tough financially and you feel you can not get through it, hold to hope and hold to those who love you. If you allow yourself to focus on love and not possessions, I can guarantee you will feel rich as well. Have faith that God will provide what you need but do not sit idling waiting for provisions to be delivered via FedEx. You must be proactive as well. You must give to those around you in whatever form you have to offer. Whether it be by donating your time, your skills, or simply offering up some unconditional love. God will bless you as you bless others, it’s just how he works.