Category Archives: My Story

I just told Danny about my book

I knew I was heading to BookCon. (And by the way, BookCon – meeting, and signing my book for, 100 strangers in less than 30 minutes – was so, so cool!) I knew I needed to remind Danny (my dad) that I’d written a memoir and to tell him that it was being published. I knew I was hoping to tell him in person, but – partially because of the book pub date and how busy that’s been keeping me – I haven’t been able to make it to see him.

So I decided I would have to tell him on the phone.

To say that I was nervous doesn’t begin to capture what I was feeling. A bit nauseated. Anxious. Edgy.

What if he gets mad at me? What if he asks me about it? What if he wants to read it? What if he doesn’t react at all?

The possibilities were many, and few of them seemed positive. I expected to get off the phone with him shaking. Or maybe crying. Or just feeling even more sick to my stomach. I thought of getting back-up – someone I could check in with before and after the call, in case I needed support.

Then Danny called me. The bad and sad news is that he has been getting physical therapy again, so he has been able to walk a little bit again…but he’s on Medicaid and Medicaid only pays for physical therapy while you’re improving. As soon as you plateau, they stop the therapy. And Danny had once again plateaued at about 100 feet.

He was, understandably, upset, and he called me to see if I could arrange for him to get physical therapy in some other way. Any other way. I told him I doubted we could. I told him I’d look into it. Then I told him about the book.

“Dan,” I started, “you may remember – I told you a while back – that I’ve written a memoir.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I’ve got a publisher, and it will be out in September.”

“Congratulations.”

“Thank you. I wanted you to know.”

That was it. That was enough. As my husband said, that was probably the best I could have hoped for. Danny’s not ever effusive. He didn’t explode. He didn’t say he wanted to read it. He doesn’t read anymore – since the stroke – and I guess he must have pretty much known he wouldn’t want to read it.

I don’t try to slam either of my parents in to the moon and back. I just wrote what I remember, what happened from my point of view. My brother says I haven’t been critical enough of everyone and everything – but, again, it’s what I remember and how I saw it…and see it now. That being said, my parents don’t look so good in the book. They may have done the best they could at the time, but that best is generally seen as lacking.

I’m pretty certain Danny would be hurt if he read it, and so I’m glad that he can’t and won’t. I don’t need him to understand my perspective. I no longer need him to grasp how I was hurt, or to apologize. Somewhere in my healing, I guess, that need has dissipated. Somehow I’ve been able to fill a few of the holes inside me and therefore need him to fill them less.

I just needed him to know that it was going to be out there. In public. A real book. Soon.

I just told Danny about my book.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: My Story, , , Tags:

I am not in control

I am not in control. That may not come as a surprise to you, but somehow it’s always shocking to me. Even as much as I know that nearly everything is out of my control, at times I think and act like I’m in charge of everything.

Or at least like I should be.

I don’t really think I know better than everyone else, but sometimes I think I do. Or I think I do for a few moments before I realize how crazy that is. I don’t really think I always have to run the show, but sometimes I think I do.

Sometimes that immediate response kicks in – and into high gear – without me realizing it. At least for a few minutes. Sometimes I’m acting as if I’m still geared for saving the world – and everyone in it – whether or not it wants, or needs, to be saved.

The truth is that I’m not in control. I’m not in control of you. I’m not in control of the outcomes. I’m not in control of what happens. I’m often not fully in control of myself.

I get triggered, and my emotions surge. I can’t always (ever?) control that. My emotions surge, and I lash out (or run away). I can’t always control that yet either. I’m trying to, but I’m not all the way there yet. I lash out or run away, and I notice it and apologize or step back into the moment and/or the relationship. That one I’m – a bit – more in control of.

I’m not in control of whether or not a yellow bird graces my day. I’d like to think I am, but I’m not. I’m not in control of whether or not Danny (my dad) decides to let me move him to a nursing home closer to me to make my – and hopefully his – life easier. I’m not in control of how well my book sells or doesn’t. I’m not in control of how happy the people I care about are. I’m not in control of how you feel or how you act or what you do. I’m barely mustering control over how I act and how I feel and what I do. That is my responsibility though (unlike the others), so I’m working on it.

But the rest of it? I’m not in control. And there is something freeing in realizing that. There is something freeing in letting go of responsibilities that we never really mine to begin with.

I’m letting go of my sense of control and of my sense of needing to control. I’m slowly but surely prying my fingers off of whatever it is that they were clasped so tightly around. My false sense of control probably soothed my soul – and maybe, at some points, saved my life – all those years ago. But I don’t need it now.

And I don’t have it anyway. I don’t have control. I’m not in control.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: My Story, , Tags:

Raising Yourself

I was raised in and torn between two conflicting, bipolar worlds. There was the world I longed for and lived in on weekends – my mother’s world, which was the fanatical, puritanical cult of the Moonies – and the world I was forced to live in during the week – my father’s world, which was based in sex, drugs, and the squalor of life in the East Village of New York.

As the child of hippie parents and the product of a “broken marriage,”  I was immersed in the “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll” culture of the 1960s and early 1970s. My parents took me to the Jefferson Airplane free concert in Central Park and Woodstock (the movie, not the festival) by the time I was nine. By the time I was ten, I was a devotee of Rev. Moon – the self-proclaimed Messiah and leader of one of the most infamous cults – spending my weekends standing on a wooden box in New York City’s then-seedy Times Square, shouting through a bullhorn, trying to save the sea of sinners around me.

I had a strange childhood. And while my parents may have done the best they could for my brother and me, it was a toxic environment, and I’ve spent the last few decades learning to not just survive, but to shine.

For those of us raised in toxic environments, and for those of us who “raised ourselves” because we had parents who couldn’t — or wouldn’t — be there for us, our childhoods were pretty much an exercise in learning to not be present.

And in an effort to make sure everything was okay, our experiences also taught us to over-everything. Our overachieving, over-sweetness, over-tolerance, and over-responsibility probably helped save our lives and psyches.

People who meet me now have no idea of my eclectic background. Not only have I survived my childhood, but I thrive. I am blessed with a happy marriage of over twenty years, two amazing children, and a successful leadership consulting and coaching practice.

In so many ways, because of my past I now have my today. I learned through my journey that it’s up to each of us to create the life we want. Some of us may have more to overcome in order to do that, but it still is up to us. We have the chance and the choice. We have the ability. Even when we think we don’t.

I learned to build a very different life for myself than what I knew as a child, and to integrate my childhood experiences into my life – doing my best to find and keep the valuable while letting go of the rest. I faced at least some of my demons and found ways to laugh or love them at least somewhat away. I can now look back on my past with a sense of humor and unexpected appreciation, and rejoice in my present.

I bring all I experienced and learned to my coaching and consulting work, helping others find their way to the life they want and deserve. I bring it to my writing and speaking — here on the blog as well as in my new book, coming this fall, to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence.

My intention in writing has been to find a way to offer hope and potential joy to others who may feel beaten or damaged by their upbringing or circumstances. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite lessons (that I keep having to re-learn) into a free, short, collection that I’d love to share with you. If you’re already on my mailing list, then it’s on its way to you shortly (or maybe you’ve already gotten it!?) If you’re new to my site — welcome! Just pop your name and email in the spot below and it’ll be in your inbox shortly.

Let’s focus on hope and joy together.

 

Categories: My Story