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acknowledging my pain body

acknowledging my pain body

In The Power of Now, Tolle defines a pain-body as “the human tendency to perpetuate old emotion” which is accumulated in their “energy field.”  He says any negative emotion not fully faced and seen for what it is in the moment becomes a remnant of pain we carry with us throughout our lives.  According to Tolle, the pain-body is addicted to unhappiness and seeks out negativity like nourishment to grow bigger and stronger.

Here, today, I’m going to recognize my pain body, so I can send it away into a dormant state in my being.

This is 74 Doremus Street in Paterson NJ, (as it exists now from google maps).  At the time I lived there it was a 3-family house and our famiy rented the ground floor.   I lived here with my family from elementary school years through age 13. At 13, my father died of esophageal cancer and we moved to West Milford, NJ.   My family consisted of my mother and father, two sisters (one older, one younger), older brother and (in the final two years), our baby brother and then me.

At the front of the house was a parlour.  Next to the parlor was a back bedroom, shared by my father and older brother.  My father worked third shift, which meant he would get up at 11pm and work until 9am the following day, thereby sleeping during the daytime hours.  He worked 6-7 days a week. This bedroom had two twin beds and was brown.   Everything was brown.  The walls, the door, the furniture, the bed coverings.  The shades were always closed.  That room was dark and out of the way.  I remember it being a quiet, unfamiliar place.

I remember what happened to me in that brown room.

I had been in that bedroom only twice during all the years we’d lived there.  Once was with our father and my younger sister.  Our dad was a smoker. Muriel air tip cigars were his undoing, leading to his death in 1979. While he worked, to keep from smoking, he would buy Wrigley’s gum from the candy machine.  On the nights when he bought Juicy Fruit gum, he would offer the remaining sticks of gum to my sister and I.  This day in my memory, she and I were jumping on Dads’ twin bed, (probably getting yelled at for doing it), excitedly waiting for our sticks of Juicy Fruit.  It was a treat, and our dad loved how delighted we were for it. That was a lovely memory.

Our father slept during the day.  That room was off limits most of the time.  I think this was why it was easy for my brother to lure me into that room on the second occasion.  How old was I?  8?  9?  10?  In that ball park.  A kid.  A little girl.

The house was an old house.  It was always cold in the winter and sweltering hot in the summer.   I grew up wearing flannel pajamas.  It’s just how it was. My brother lured me into his room and I climbed into his singe bed with him to get warm.  He reached his hands into my pants, under my underwear and fondled me.  He took my hand into his hand and made me touch his penis under his underwear. I had no idea what was going on.

I ran from that room and never went in there again.   From that day, this brother became an enemy. Someone who made me feel bad. Someone who does bad things to me.  Someone to be avoided.  As a child, I remember telling my mother and father that he was touching me.  My father would smack him on the back of the head and tell him not to touch girls.  While I told them….I never told them what he really did. How do you tell your parents something you didnt understand but knew felt bad? I didn’t know how. Back then, girls in our family wore dresses.  I only owned pants for when we played outside in the snow.   I owned my first pair of jeans the year after my father died, at 13.  My brother would incessantly pull up my dress, threatening to touch me.  It was a terrible way to grow up.  I never told my mother and father what happened that day.  But I began to yell.  And he soon turned his attention away from me.

When we moved to West Milford, we were both in high school. The house was small, with one shared bathroom. He would walk into the bathroom while I was curling my hair or putting on a little makeup and unzip his pants and pull out his penis to pee right in front of me. I’d scream and run out of the bathroom, and he’d laugh. He took my security as a young woman from me. I saw him as a disgusting person I had to tolerate until I could get away from him.

All my life, I have worked to avoid this brother. I have never been alone with him.  I’ve never visited his home or gone on vacation with him.  When we were together in a place because of family time, I was in another room, or at the other end of the table.  The distance was my protection and it was the way I became able to keep the secret all these years. However, the distance also created my pain body. I kept my pain a secret to protect our family.  But, no longer.  I won’t carry his shame any more. I’m putting it down.

Last year when our mother went to the hospital in FL, his wife asked me if they could stay at our home down there.  She didn’t understand what she was asking.  She has always been his stand-in our family.  Although ironically, she never asked why these relationships were so distant.  I’m sure he sold her a story and she chooses to believe what is easy.   I traveled down to get to see my mother, whom they told me was dying. And there in my home, my sanctuary, was the person I learned to tolerate through avoidance. It was very very difficult.     What happened during this time with mother and our sister stressed me beyond belief and I let my stress out in the form of pent up anger toward him. I was full of rage. Rage that no one understood and everyone was quick to judge and push me away.

Fast forward one year to the present… this brother has taken our mother to live with him.  He has cut off my ability to see her.  He is the POA for our sister and will not allow me to be involved in her care.  Our younger brother says “I have burned my bridges with him”.  Such a foolish thought.  There was/is/and never will be a bridge for this man.  He is a source of pain for me, having never acknowledged what he did to me.   I told my younger brother that he touched me inappropriately when I was a girl.  Nothing.  No response.  Gone.  Ghosted.

So this is my story.  This is what happened to me.  I remember what happened to me.

From here, I’m recovering.  I’ll do it without my sisters, my mother and my younger brother if I have to.  Life is complex and people come to acceptance in their own time.  Hope transcends time.  I will always be hopeful. 

Ciao for now…Diane

I own my choices

I own my choices

Friends who have known me for a while, know that I’m a strong-willed, dedicated person. I’m smart and I’m disciplined. And most of all…I don’t like asking for help. Even when I need help. I wanna do it myself, for myself. This year, I’ve learned how to ask for what I need, and to own my choices. This is going to be a story, so…pls get comfy.

I’ve was a chubby kid, an overweight teenager and eventually became an obese woman. Morbidly obese for a period of time. Damn labels. I hate them. They just push on my emotional buttons, the sensitive, soft spots that got me here to begin with. Anyway…what this indicates is that my life was a series of small incidents of indulgence. Of excess. Repeatedly. For years. Eventually, I became 277.2 pounds. My Weight Watchers log says that was March 20, 2010. That was my highest weight. That was the date I got scared. I don’t know why it took that long for me to realize….there is no upper limit to my weight…..Nothing was going to stop it. Unless I changed.

Enter the strong-willed, disciplined driver. ME. The one you don’t usually see. The one I hide inside and weild on myself. To the outside, she looks positive and strong and admirable. Trust me, she’s a punisher. …and I began to work the problem. Hard. I joined WW on March 20, 2010 when that weight record began. I began eating better, and I began walking. Which over time became running. I ran so long and so far and so much, that I ran the Disney Marathon on Jan 13, 2013 — the day I achieved my lowest weight (post 2 children) of 197.2. That was 80 pounds! Pounds that I ran my ass-off (literally) to lose. I was a success!

Or was I?

What happened next was a crash and burn. I was so physically and emotionally tired from all that I had put myself through…that I stopped. I stopped all the habits I had taken on. Well…it was OK to stop, right? Because the marathon was over, so let’s let all this bullshit be over. Yea, that’s how it went. Slowly, week by week..through a series of consistent excess, I regained 62 pounds. By December of 2015, I was sedentary, fat and angry with myself again. Again. So much hard work, and I lost it all by gaining it all. Again.

Here she comes again….the driver. The type A, dedicated to do IT Diane. She’s back. Only this time I was 1 knee surgery older and couldn’t run anymore. So I had to find another way. This time, I joined a kettle bell gym. I found another balls-to-the-walls, punishing way to kick my own ass everyday. So it began again. I thought at the time that this was how it was done. I thought this was me being strong. It was many years later when I finally had the clarity to see how punishing this all was. I didn’t love these workouts. (I guess I loved some of it…..but then I took it too far). They were supposed to deliver my goal. They were supposed to be the means to my weight-loss end. They were supposed to help me be thin and to stay thin. Didn’t I make that clear? That’s what I wanted. But my behaviors weren’t in line with that goal. Forget the fact that I was a sugar addict and often bingeing on cupcakes and donuts that I would buy and eat in secret in the car on the way home. I was a mess. But I as a kick-ass strong mess…that’s good, right?

Um. No. I was so fucked up. A jumble of inconsistency. An emotional bully to myself. Don’t get me wrong, I had successes. But h.o.w. I was achieving those successes was wrong. It was harsh. I was hard on myself. Creating more new scars, when I should have been healing old ones.

On Feb 8, 2020, I had done it again. 75 pounds gone…one swing and one burpee at a time. Many many swings and burpees later. Hooray..I was 200 pounds again…just as COVID 19 shocked the world. Like everyone everywhere, I went into lockdown at home. My workplace went remote. My gym closed and went remote. And somehow it seemed to be a civic duty to get Mexican food and margaritas via take out to help our local favorite restaurants stay open. Oh this was JUST what I needed. A boat load of fear, isolation and depression…PLUS a good cause for which over-eating all the wrong things was r.i.g.h.t.e.o.u.s ! By spring of 2021, I had gained 60 pounds (AGAIN) and was struggling to fit into my work clothes when the call to come back to the office was beginning.

Really…I’m here again?

Motivated by the fear of no clothes to wear to the office…I began again to get my sloppy self together. It was up and down. Just like my emotions and my heart. The roller coaster was real, and as hard as I tried to be positive and to coach myself into new lifetime habits…I was losing faith. No, no, real honesty Diane…after 12 years of d.r.i.v.i.n.g. myself as hard as I could…I had lost faith. If all that work and punishment hadn’t worked, what would work? I just didn’t know.

In December 2022, I sat in the chair in my doctor’s office for a checkup. Oh yea, by this point I was T2 diabetic, with emerging high blood pressure, asthma, my knee was very strained again. I was in a place where my health was at risk. This wasn’t just vanity. The fact that I was wearing a size 22 pant is what hurt my spirit, but the fact that my health was at risk is what was hurting my future.

It was in that meeting with Dr K (my primary care physician) that I asked him if he thought I would be a good candidate for weight loss surgery. I walked out of that appointment with a referral and hope, wrapped in a bunch of nerves and questions.

Late December, I phoned the bariatric center and made an appointment for Jan 26th. That day, I decided to start eating with health in mind. Made a New Year’s Resolution to do 4 things: 1) Keep a food journal everyday, 2) Drink 80 oz of water daily (and no more alcohol), 3) Focus on protein in every meal, and 4) to walk every day. 1-3 miles. I got on the scale every day for accountability. And for the first time, I wasn’t driving myself, I was just living. But that was just the start.

I began a daily affirmation habit with my #365daysofhappiness on Facebook. I challenged myself to begin to deal with the emotional stuff that drove my food choices. Just a little bit every day. By the bariatric appointment on Jan 26th, I had lost 6.5 pounds (from NY day) and gained a lil h.o.p.e.

Through the weight loss center, I met a wonderful nutritionist Julia, who began to teach me how to eat. I had to complete a nutrition program, which really taught me things I never understood through years of dieting. As good as WW is, what I needed was a food lesson and someone who would review my food log and talk to me about how to refine what I was eating and how much, so i could learn to properly fuel my body. I began to see what portion sizes should really be and what calories were behind my food. I gave up Weight Watchers tracking (sorry, I needed more transparency) and began MyFitnessPal. It was good for me to see what my foods really were in macro and nutrient form. How could I own my choices if I couldn’t see what the choices were?

I went to therapy. I did behavioral therapy and started the work to understand how my fat brain and my skinny brain were at war, and how my choices were driven by a life time of body dysmorphia and fat shaming. Over the next three months, I lost 37.5 pounds. I was doing the real work. The head work. The mental work. And did I say…my happiness was growing every day. I began rediscovering who I was, without food. Would you think me crazy if I said, that before this year, I rarely could think about myself without some tie to food shame? I learned to be my own friend. To see myself, with clarity and love. And I kicked the sugar addiction. No sugar, no alcohol, no bad carbs. I was cleansed. At least for the moment. And I feel so much better. Unburdened.

So, on April 26th, I went through with it. I had bariatric surgery. I had the procedure call the Sleeve. This is going to sound severe but they removed 80-90% of my stomach and created a pouch that looks like a small banana, LOL maybe a cheese stick. I took 2 weeks off from work, and recovered well. My husband and my daughters could not have been more supportive. I’m really lucky.

Beyond them, I didn’t tell anyone. I wasn’t hiding. I wasn’t being secretive. I was just focusing on me. I was giving myself time and attention. I was resting and learning and eating and breathing. I had a new baby stomach and this time I was going to be patient and kind with myself. Time was going to be my friend. I had no expectations. I am working for myself, not in spite of myself.

Many people in the bariatric community are afraid of telling their friends they had surgery. Many so-called friends are quick to judge and say…”you took the easy way out”, “you cheated”. Well, let me tell you, there is nothing easy about this. It’s a new, different kind of hard. But no regrets. I have a calm about me that I have never experienced before.

Today, I am 9 weeks post op and my weight loss has been steady and consistent. I still have to do the work. I’m preparing healthy meals, eating 3 meals and 1 snack a day. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day. I walk a 5K every day. I take multivitamins. And I continue the therapy and the mental work. THAT work is the only thing that is going to help this metabolic reset I am undergoing….be a forever change in my life. The time to do that, while losing weight, without the punishment….that’s why I took the leap.

So, here I am. I own my choices. And I chose to ask for help and take the help.

I think I am still a Weight Watcher. I hope I am. Because all those lessons I learned for the past 12 years are really coming in handy now. But now I’m able to execute on all those behavior changes without a constant food craving and metabolic drive pulling me down.

I’m in the honeymoon phase now, but nothing comes for free. What I do now will determine my success or failure. I had blood work this week and my A1C is totally normal. My T2 diabetes is gone. Health. It’s real. 33% of weight loss surgery patients regain all of their weight within 5 years. I’m going to try my best not to be one of them. I’m going to work on me, on my choices, on my thinking and the issues that drove my choices all my life….and learn to be different. A different me.

That’s what this year is all about.

If you made it this far, please know this….I’m grateful for you. My circle is small. My friendships are real. Know that I carry with me memories of how you and I met. How our lives intersected for a time. I remember you. I cherish those memories. And I am who I am because we spent some of our lives together.

My heart is full. I hope the same for you.

Ciao for now….Diane

Thoughts or feelings…which come first?

Thoughts or feelings…which come first?

Chicken? Egg? Chicken? Egg?

If you know just one thing about me, you know I am an empath. An empath is an emotional sponge. Emotions first….logic later! (So, the chicken first! I digress….). That means I soak up the emotions — both positive and negative — of those around me. This can be lovely, but it can also be painful and heavy and unhealthy, for me. Empaths are often described as good listeners, intuitive and empathetic. However, we are also highly sensitive which can be overwhelming and draining for ourselves and those who love us.

Over time, I’ve learned (with the help of my astute and honest daughters), that I never built proper boundaries with some of my family. My “savior complex” kicks in when my empath soul can’t bear the happenings going on for those I love…and i will run myself into the ground to help. To Save. To protect. But what happens when you are trying to be a seatbelt for drivers who insist on speeding around corners, every day, every hour? What happens is — you begin to get sick. The empath begins to internalize the stress and your own health begins to drain…until you are empty. This happened to me this year, and perhaps finally, forced me to face that my boundaries were unhealthy for me, and for my speeding family members. So I stopped. It was the hardest thing Ive ever done. But after that….I began to heal. Both on the inside, in my health, and in my soul. I suppose the final thing I learned to accept is — I’m only responsible for 50% of my relationships. Only 50%. So when I’m struggling with those I love, I accept the struggle. I don’t try to fix, to please, to s.a.v.e. All I can do is g.i.v.e. o.f. m.y.s.e.l.f. Even when the other person doesn’t find m.y.s.e.l.f. to be enough.

Whoah, hold on Diane. Who told you that? That you are not enough? That’s so mean. And untrue!

Well, no one told me that. Not exactly. Here’s what i mean.

All of us….each one of us…have this filter, this translation software loaded in our brains. It’s the microprocessor through which everything is seen. Some….have rose colored glasses as their software. The world, no matter how cruel or shady, see the best in everything and sunshine rules their kingdom (or queendom) shining down on everything.

I’ve been thinking alot about my microprocessor. How do I see my world? What is its name? What color is my queendom? What I came up with is “lack”. For many many years of my life, I have seen myself through a lens of what I “lack”, how I was “less than” others, what was missing in me, a void of some kind.

It was a hard moment of real truth. To accept that no matter my achievements or the love I was receiving from friends, family and my husband…..that I was N.o.t. E.n.o.u.g.h. And the color of void is Blue. Blue rains down on my queendom and filled my life with puddles of sadness. Sadness that I have tried to combat with food. I fed my sadness. But this void could not be filled. There wasn’t enough food in the world. So I have learned…the hard way.

So I’ve been a sad little blue chicken all my life. Allowing my feelings to consume my empath soul. Trying to cater to that little girl and help her with twinkies and lemon pies. When in reality…what I needed was a sharp kick in the pants. Someone to shake me and tell me — DIANE, YOU ARE NOT L.A.C.K. That is not you. Your soul, your being, is NOT less than. All these years that I have been fighting my weight with Weight Watchers and running and salads and whatever….I was trying to cure the symptoms without curing the disease. My sense of LACK.

So this is what has been going on with me since January 1st – when I started my most recent #365daysofhappiness daily reflection on Facebook. Each day, I have been posting something, at differing times of the day, after I have spent 15-20 minutes actively talking to myself about Who.I.Really.Am. A girl, a women, with so much. A person of significant value. An empath who can care am much for herself as she does for others. I’ve been realizing what a privilege my life is, and joy began to rise along with my desire to live it.

I’ve been missing “the Egg”. The knowing of where I came from and the purpose for why I live. My queendom will not be Blue anymore. No more puddles of sadness behind the mask I wear everyday, everywhere. I’m going to fill my life with colors. The yellow daffodils that are blooming, the green forest lettuce growing in the woods, the blue and orange birds I see fly, the purple sunsets in the evening. I’m finding being outside helps me get out of my head. Out of the Lack. I refuse to call it ‘My” lack anymore…because frankly, it was never mine.

Thoughts come first. Feelings are born of them. The power is in You. Use it for good or evil. As the thoughts of being less than are leaving me….so is the desire to feed the void.

Ah ha!

Ciao for now….Diane

accepting distance as best

accepting distance as best

My year started with my mother in the hospital in Florida, in intensive care. I was miles away at home in Maryland. It was a scary time.

My older brother and his wife live 3 hours away. They weren’t reading the text and WhatsApp group messages my younger sister and I were sending. A couple of days into this, his wife calls all frantic (and a little angry) that they didn’t know. Didn’t know? Looking back, this was the first sign of what was to come.

They drive from their home in Georgia and help support our mom. We were all grateful. His wife would call me and give me updates. She sounded grim. My brother has never called me. He doesn’t share anything. Not even the good stuff. He has a closed up emotional persona when it comes to his family of origin. I understand from his wife that he is a loving father and husband. I’m glad, for them. But somehow, his mother and brother and sisters are just supposed to “know” his feelings. Give him some kind of “credit” for the Christmas cards and boxes of frozen steaks that arrive every December. I’ve held it in for a long time. That was about to end, I just didn’t feel the boil that had started.

By Tuesday, January 4th, his wife told me…I’d better come. Mom might not survive this. Of course she made it my decision. Subtly, she was winding me up, poking my fear, igniting that need of a child to be with their mother at the moment they leave us. What else could I do? I booked a plane ticket and flew out the next day, Wednesday. My heart was a knot of choked tears that I held inside during my flight. I was emotionally raw….flying to my dying mother. That’s what I was lead to believe.

I arrived in Orlando where my brother and his wife picked me up, it was late in the evening. They were staying in Peter and my home in the Villages. We had freely opened our home to them, to give them respite from the rushing around. An obligation I knew very well, after all I had been running around – physically, financially and emotionally supporting my mother and my younger sister most of my adult life.

It was too late to visit mom, so we went to bed and first thing the next day we were up and over to the hospital. Jan 6th – my birthday, and I am heading to the hospital to see my dying mother. When we arrive, only two people can go up, so his wife and I go up. Mom was weak, thin, on oxygen, fighting pneumonia. This entire day was full of tiny baby steps I did not notice as they happened. My sister-in-law introducing me to the nurses. Getting a notary to come to sign a POA for me on behalf of my mom. Change my brother’s name to mine as hospital contact. Stood in front of me and introduced me as the decision maker for the Home Health people, for when mom needed to move to rehabilitation. I didn’t see it. I was in a blur. My mom isn’t dying? I was just so relieved at that fact thet I just leaned in. Thats what I do. I take it all on my shoulders.

That. Is. Exactly. What. They. KNEW. I . Would. Do.

That night, my brother takes us to dinner, my birthday celebration. I felt grateful the day didn’t end unnoticed, but I was still just settling myself to gratitude that my mom might not be dying. Soon – it all became crystal clear. When we got back to Peter and my house in FL – she told me – they were leaving the next day. Going back home to Georgia. She had a doctor’s appointment and my brother was building a shed. A shed? What did she just say? Something about needing to be home for a shed? But…our mother was dying. Or….

I didn’t say anything. I was so overwhelmed. I felt the comfort of their support fading away, and the overwhelming burden of my mother’s future being leveled upon my shoulders. I don’t live here? I’m supposed to work remotely while I am down here. How am I going to do all of this.

The next week was a cluster of crazy. Racing to care for my mom, racing to visit rehabilitation centers, racing to my sister who would fall and needed help with her Parkinson’s. I had to take time off from work. After a week of this, I snapped.

I wrote an email to them, I was not polite. I was rude as hell. I told them I felt manipulated by them. And that they should get their asses to Florida and take care of our mom. His wife told me that thought I should take care of mom because she raised my kids. WHAT? Mom raised my kids? Wow, over time I realized that when you live a life disconnected from your family, they just make up the reality they want to see. Years ago, my mom left her part time job at Dunkin Donuts and watched my kids from Monday to Wednesday, and I paid her more than her job. I worked from home on Thursday and Friday, so she went home Wednesday night and would come back Sunday night. She raised my kids? More like I supported our mom.

Fast forward to the end of this tragic novel……..of course I am the villian. (Bet you saw that coming). My sister in law tells me how my brother has been a saint to care for my mother her whole life. I dont mean to mention his wife so much, but here is the thing….she has been his voice and spokesperson for decades BECAUSE he does not have any connection with his siblings. Any connection I had with him was through her. By their design, not mine. I can’t speak to what he feels. I have no idea what he thinks, feels, does, or doesn’t do. I can only speak to his absence in our lives. I would have liked to have had a big brother who was like the man his wife describes. Unfortunately, this man was only reserved for his wife and kids. I’ve never met that man.

So my brother is now my mom’s POA. It makes sense, he is retred and lives 3 hours away. It is good for him and for mom to be hand’s- on involved. He will be able to see what is really going on now, rather than just calling or FaceTime and doing his weekly check in, so his conscience is clear.

I get a text, don’t contact him anymore.

I had to laugh out loud. What was this supposed to be? A punishment of sorts? A lesson that Diane needs to stay in her place. Keep quiet little sister, I decide things and you follow instructions. Hey dude, this isn’t the Navy, people expect you to talk to them, listen to them, and formulate a compromise, a plan to care for our mother. To do it together. Signs seem to indicate that is NOT how things operate at his house. Allegedly 😉

The truth at the end of all of this is…. I don’t miss my brother. Well, maybe I don’t miss him any more than I have missed him all my life. He has been an absent person most of my life. I have memories from being kids and some of those are not good at all. Maybe I’ll miss the box of frozen steaks at Christmas, but I doubt it.

The only painful part is – now when my mom goes back into the hospital, it can be days before I find out. He doesn’t send me updates. No texts. No Whats App messages. The Irony. The last text from his wife was something like… they communicate with the rest of the family like they always have. Bad Diane. You’ve been banished. Sorry, that doesn’t hurt very much. You folks are not who you pretend to be. No loss, sorry.

I reach out to my mom. She answers sometimes. She doesn’t other times. My sister lives within her abilities. That future is as unknown as our own. I found my peace with my mom and her and we had our final words of reconciliation.

I’m settled. I’m at peace. And I have put the burden down. My brother? He can carry his own and he has a lot to answer for at the end of his life.

Ciao for now…Diane

imperfect reconciliation

imperfect reconciliation
Relationships between mothers and daughters are complex things, mine is no exception.

My mother’s heart issues go back years. First the pace maker, then the unstable blood pressure. The last two years, the reality came. Congestive heart failure. The rushing ambulances to the ERs, the prolonged ICU stays, the rehabilitation. It has just made her weaker and weaker.

I’ve spent many hours while watching her sleep in the hospital overwhelmed by anxiety. Coming to terms with the one fact that I have avoided as long as possible. Diane, you cannot save her from this journey. It’s one we will all have to walk for ourselves.

As I grew from a girl to a woman, somewhere without notice, the roles reversed and I became the care taker of my mother, instead of the other way around. She has lived close to me and recently, far away in FL, but I’ve tried my best to provide for her. She made sure we kids grew up with everything we wanted….now it was our turn to ensure she wanted for nothing. That’s how I saw it anyway, even though that plan went awry. A story for another day.

My mother lives with my younger sister. They are loving companions, they’ve sewn their lives together, like sisters almost. In the end, I’m glad they have each other, although it has been complicated, challenging, painful sometimes.

I’ve had periods of my life when I’ve not spoken to my mom. The longest period was an entire year….probably 6 years ago. I broke the ice and called her when I was going in for surgery. As stubborn as I can be (trust and believe!), my mother is the most stubborn person I’ve ever known. She will suffer pain in her heart so deep…just to avoid saying, I’m sorry, I was wrong. She’s a beautiful woman, in every aspect, but she can’t bring herself to that humble place. My mom has endured a lot of hardship in her life. She has that Irish dna that affords her super human strength to pull herself up from her boot straps and move forward. Warmth and love….well, its sprinkled in there….but you have to look hard for it. Love is expected. She expects you to know she feels it. My troubles have come when I’ve asked her to show it to me. Here is where our antlers have locked and well….thats the water. Now here comes the bridge….

January 2022 began with mom in the ICU. Her first rehab was at home in FL because we couldn’t find a rehabilitation hospital to take her. She went back into the hospital in May, this time was much worse. She was severely anemic and had lost her conscious awareness. She did not know where she was or what was happening to her. They had to tie her hands to the bed, to keep her from ripping out her IVs, her oxygen and attempting to leave. By the time I got from Maryland to Florida, she was a tiny little woman in this big hospital bed.

She was so glad to see me. She had the wide eyes of a child. I sat at her bedside and talked with her, softly. Taking time to explain to her why she was there, and what was happening to her. And to say….I know this is scary. I’d be scared too. But it’s OK, it’s behind you now. Now let’s look forward. We talked about what we’d need to do and that she had some work to do to get strong enough to go home. Truthfully, I don’t know if I was lying then. I don’t know if mom is going home. We can hope though.

Days later she moved to rehab, and these conversations continued each night as I visited her. One night we were selecting her meals for the week and spent longer than was necessary visiting all our food favorites. Waffles with strawberries and cream for Sunday breakfast, and catfish (yes, you love catfish, mom, even though you always say you’ve never had it. LOL) for dinner. We talked about the days when I was a girl and we went camping with Dad. We laughed about crazy dinners she had made, and Christmas trees that my older sister fell into and knocked flat to the floor.

One day as she napped, I looked at my mom and realized….I had a choice to make. I was going to either “fight” with my mom till then end….OR….choose to find a way to love her by believing she loved me, even when she couldn’t say it or show it.

Leaving Florida to go home to Maryland while Mom is in rehab was difficult. Bargaining with myself, I manage by calling her every day. I pick up the phone with a story in my mind….I live the future with my mom by remembering the past. It’s easier to connect with her from those days long ago. It’s imperfect, but I’ve decided….I’ve decided to love my mother this way.

Last night, she ended our call with this….Diane, I love you, I’ve always loved you.

I know mom….and I’ll never doubt it again. I’m on the bridge with you mom. There is no way you will walk this next journey alone. I’m with you mom.

Ciao for now…..Diane


Was it a break? Did I snap? Or did I run out of ability to pretend anymore.

No matter. Whatever happened, it has become a choice. A choice that I am settled with and that feels like the right way to spend the remaining energy that will be my life. My circle has always been small. Small family, small circle of friends, small connections that comprised my small piece of this big world. Some people must life large. They become the “mayors” of the street, the PTA presidents, the class moms, the rumor mill, the celebrities. Those folks feed on the energy of others. Eating attention like cheese-its and collecting friends on FaceBooks like stamps. I don’t judge, I just don’t get it. It feels like an awful lot of work, so much wasted energy, for a whole lot of inauthentic stuff, in result. Words that fade, love masking jealousy, friendship in fair weather only, and attention as long as you serve a purpose…usually their purpose.

The object of my affection has always been something simpler. something quiet. something true. something genuine.

A page from my favorite book, The Velveteen Rabbit, says it best…

He said. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why
it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have
sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally,
by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your
eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these
things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except
to people who don’t understand.”

So my circle gets smaller, as fake friends or family in name only, are shown to be as inauthentic as a raggedy old bunny. No worries. No pain. No r.e.a.l. loss. What remains is beautiful and deep and dependable and trusted. What remains is genuine. And I rest my head on my pillow tonight knowing, you will be there when I wake.

Ciao for now…..Diane

my happiness project

my happiness project
When I wandered into this place again today, I knew it had been a long dark while. Almost a year. Wow. I’ve been unhappy longer than I’d realized. The only thing I know for certain is — it’s not going to get better unless I work on it.

The next year will be that work. My own little happiness project. LOL, that might sound like I know what I’m doing. Eh, long ago I leaned toward the belief that the best thing’s in life happen when you let gooooo…..when you don’t know what you’re doing. More than anything, what I need is to get my thoughts out of my head, and to start “doing” again. Maybe doing new things, old things, whatever things….but just doing, moving, forward momentum in my life, my feelings….and eventually I think that will move me toward my happiness.

I’m committing to a renewed habit to come here each day, and leave behind some feelings and thoughts. In the end, it doesn’t matter if anyone beyond myself ever reads them. I reminded myself how cathartic the act of writing has been for me during high and low periods of my life. I’m going to lean into it now, and if any bit of what I leave behind helps you…well, that is the gift of community. When you are low, you need the community. When you feel strong, the community needs you.

So please, come….go…take and give…to this community. Happiness….we’re coming for you.

Ciao for now, Diane

When Two Good is 3 good things

When Two Good is 3 good things

Around 2pm, my stomach starts to rumble for a snack. THIS IS GOOD!

It’s hunger. And this snackity expert (me, this girl right here) hasn’t felt that very often. Back in my “before” days when I was grazing constantly…it’s hard to ever f.e.e.l. hunger. Instead I often felt discomfort and shame. But that’s another story for another day.

So, yesterday was shopping, planning and prepping day, AKA Saturday. At the Publix down here in Florida, my husband Peter and I found a good thing. Well, it’s actually Two Good.

I walk the aisle with my WW scanner App AND my education on carbs. As a T2 diabetic person, my #1 job for myself is to eat well. Weight loss is a derivative. I OWE myself good nutrition. I’ve managed to regain control over my blood glucose levels, free of medications, and I want to keep it that way. I’ve made the progress I’ve made by making good choices. Along the way, I shed many foods that used to be staples in my diet. For instance, I rarely eat fruit these days AND its been forever since I’ve had a yogurt.

Back to today. It’s 2pm. I’m hungry. First move – make a pot of tea. See if what i am feeling can be satiated by a nice hot cup of #JOY.

No Go. Didn’t cut it. I’m actually hungry. GOOD Diane. You are actually hungry, so f.o.o.d. IS the appropriate answer.

I pulled one of these Two Good yogurts out of the fridge, opened the lid, slipped in the spoon and tasted.


TWO GOOD will be my 3 small good things for today. But Diane, they are TWO good, how can they be 3 good things?

Well – here is how this yogurt sizes up on my 3 good things list for today.

#1 – It’s coconut. s.w.o.o.n. <3 <3 <3

#2 – It’s only 3 grams of carb and that is due in large part to the fact that it only has 2 grams of sugar in the whole thing! Very carb friendly for a yogurt.

and #3 – The entire 5.3 ounce container is only 2 Weight Watchers smart points. For COCONUT! Hey, all of you coconut lovers out there know, when you “ZAP” a coconut yogurt, you get ready for 7 points on average. I had to zap these three times in the store (um…and once more just now before I ate it)….I just couldn’t believe it. All this coconut yumminess for 2 points and I can make a good carb choice.

Two Good is my 3 good things for today. Maybe you will try it….but however you feed your hunger this afternoon – make good choices for yourself. You. Are. Worth. It.

Ciao for now….Diane

security is under-rated

security is under-rated

I woke up this morning, like every morning, in safety, security, warmth and comfort. Gratitude abundance!

Before I even opened my eyes this morning, I could feel the things for which I am grateful.

Today’s small things are warm, soft and fixed.

#1 – The safety and comfort of my bed. I perhaps don’t think enough about the women and children in this world who live without this…and what it must do to their sense of self and security in the world.

#2 – Sometimes when I wake up an hour or two too early, I reach out, eyes still closed, and find Peter’s hand. He responds and clasps his warmth around my hand….and I drift back to sleep. Peter’s love is a fixed mark and it grounds me to the planet.

#3 – Quiet mornings where my shuffling feet are the only sound in the house. I make my coffee and sit outside, listening to the birds for a few moments…waking up slowly. There is security in this quiet. Our world, in big places far away, and small neighborhoods nearby need more peace.

Find your joy….

Ciao for now…Diane

Bacon, eggs and avocado!

Bacon, eggs and avocado!

Those are my 3 things today. I’m grateful for 1) Bacon, 2) Eggs, and 3 )Avocado.

This combination is my breakfast most days. In some combination, form and function. G.O.N.E. are the days of a tiny yogurt and berries. Eating bird seed and drinking water to save calories and opportunity for a treat later in the day. Those treats would spiral me into sugar oblivion. I’ve learned that those milk and fruit options were also a trigger for me. Not a key to success for me anyway. Of late, I am following a low carb, keto type diet, with focus on protein and healthy fats. It’s working. What does “working” mean, well… firstly, I. AM. SATISFIED! I am full, satiated both physically and spiritually. Hey, don’t discount the spiritual aspect of food. The universe gave us taste buds, so life could be sweeter, spicier, full of flavor and zest. Add those things back into your life, but in a healthy meaningful way.

Conclusion….my 3 small things today fill me with g.r.a.t.i.t.u.d.e. I am HAPPY. And…I’m losing weight and gaining control over my appetite and choices. A+ Diane.

Ciao for now…Diane