Welcome to Between the Lens…

I’ve gained quite a new following since I’ve introduced myself to my readers, so I figured I’d go ahead and reach out to some of you that have recently started following my page… This post is for you!

First off, thanks for following! I’ve been posting on this blog since February of 2018. I haven’t always been consistent on when I post new content, but I don’t like to force my writing or write about things that I don’t take an interest in. So I may go offline for a bit, but I’ll always return. I’m constantly looking for inspiration out in the world, and when I find it, I always make my way back to put it into words.

What kind of content do you share?

I use WordPress as a journal, of sorts. Sometimes I vent about life’s mishaps and sometimes I write abstract about nothing in particular. I have a broad life view and I like to use words in an experimental and creative way.

When I was a young girl, my sister and I were taken from the custody of our mother, and taken to live with our five cousins, aunt, and uncle. I was raised alongside my cousins in a big, blended family. I like to write about my experiences of trauma, heartache, and growth throughout this period of my life, so you’ll also find many posts speaking about addiction and its impact on my family, motivation tips to move past family hindrance, and how that time in my life changed who I am today. I also talk a lot about reflection – something that I do a lot. I believe it’s vital to becoming the person you think that you truly are. Because a lot of the time, you may not be the person that you’d like to be, or even that you thought you were. Honest and deep reflection into yourself and the relationships that you have with others is important for growth.

I’ve always been a lover of words. When I was a young girl, I spent a lot of time with my grandma. She was (still is!) the best because she filled our lives with the love of drawing, writing, painting, and creative play. She would sit back and let us express ourselves in a way that we chose. I’d ask her for a notebook and she would head to her bedroom and pull out a tote that would be FULL of new, clean notebooks, new markers, colored pencils, drawing books, canvases, paints, anything you could think of. I’d sit at her dining room table for hours writing, drawing, and painting. She still has the notebooks from my childhood and she can still pull them out to this day (She is going to be 97 years old next month).

I like to write poems and abstract pieces that flow the way I want them to. The great thing about language, is that there is an endless amount of creativity that you can inject into it. The words can flow however you like them to, because, like a painting, you are the artist and you have your own style and flow you prefer.

I also have always loved research and learning new things, so I often also write up articles sharing interesting information that I’ve found. Most of these kinds of articles are linked to further information you can look into on your own if you share the same interest as I do.

I’m also a mother and am pregnant with another one – due in October around Halloween. So I also like to write about my kids and our experiences. I like to write a lot about pregnancy, motherhood, and parenting – it’s one of those difficult but rewarding experiences that are fun to write about.

So let’s chat!

I’ve made a plethora of pals on WP, and I’m always looking for more! Let’s link up and let the words flow!

Please reach out if you’re interested in partnering on some work – I’m still searching for another blogger to interview for a new series!

It’s so nice to meet all of you and I can’t wait to hear from you!

Mother’s Day

Today is different for everyone.

I’m thinking about those of you feeling conflicted today.

I’m thinking about those of you feeling mournful today.

I’m thinking about those of you still holding onto hope today.

I see you. I’m rooting for you. I’ve been you.

💘

EOD Thoughts: 01.16.2021

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on WordPress. Not because I really needed a break, but because I’ve just been so busy and tired to sit on my phone and really put some thought into writing. I’d like to get back into more of a routine, but life is crazy and you never really know what your attention is going to be focused on.

On a positive note, I did end up deleting some social media apps – so that usually results in less of my time being wasted scrolling mindlessly through feeds full of politics and division. I was so tired of getting on Twitter and reading through tweet after tweet about the coronavirus and politics. It’s exhausting seeing everyone arguing and pushing conspiracies about every little thing.

Then I’d get on Instagram and scroll through pictures of models with “perfect” skin, hair, bodies, lives… I’d fall obsessed with everything I wasn’t. I’m bad at comparing myself to social media influencers. It makes my confidence plummet even if I do tell myself that social media stars get paid to portray a perfect life for their followers. Social media is truly detrimental to society.

A few months ago I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix. It really goes into depth about how the creators of social media design their apps to hook you and bring you back. I highly recommend watching it – it’ll give you a better understanding of how they gather your information and use it to modify the app to better interest you. Social media apps literally keep track of how long you look at certain ads so that they can use more ads related to the ones they know you didn’t just scroll past. This documentary will make you question your internet usage and possibly even encourage you to delete your social media apps.

……………………..

Tonight’s Reflection Quotes (From The Social Dilemma):

EOD Thoughts: 11.19.2020

My weeks are starting to feel longer. Each day of work is stagnant and uneventful and I’d even say they’re becoming mind numbing.

No real thoughtful work. Just data entry.

Every day. For weeks.

Just eight hours of thoughtless data input and no responsibility or ownership of my tasks.

I like the company I work for and I liked the job I had before the virus, but since it hit our company hard, work is limited and roles are much different than they were before.

I don’t know how much I can hold onto this position without losing my dignity and sanity.

I feel like I’m being held back from my real potential and it’s degrading.

Working from home leaves more opportunities to take selfies LOL

30 Miles

Tonight I want to get vulnerable with myself. I want to examine reality and determine what parts of it aren’t real. 

And since it’s part of my story, I think it’s important to share it all with you. I consider myself a writer. It’s something that I feel proud of myself as. But I’m not just a writer. I am a sharer. I am a personal, stretch-the-limits kind of writer. I share the deepest, scariest, and most exposing feelings of my life and I think it’s why I always receive messages from people saying that my story helped them, or inspired them, or intrigued them. 

So I won’t stop. 

I can’t stop.

I have a story to tell and it’s important for me to share so that people like me know they aren’t alone. 

Growing up, I lived about 30 miles from my mom. Just a short 25 minute cruise away. It wasn’t necessarily hard for me to search for her if I wanted to, and I think that made our separation feel deceiving. We weren’t really that far away from one another, yet we were living in completely different worlds.

In high school and even a short time in college, success was hard for me to feel appreciation for. I’d hit one milestone, feel the warmth of victory, but then put my nose right back down and focus on what was coming next. What was the next life trophy I can knock off the list? 

The thing that made success the hardest for me was that every time I hit a moment of pride, I knew my name would be in the paper, or on the news, or on the radio. 

And my mom was only 30 miles away.

Surely, she saw what I did? 

Surely, she is proud of me?

With these wonderings, I quietly held onto the hope that only being 30 miles away gives you… 

She probably knows where I’m playing basketball this week because she watched the news last night.

She might be at the next game. 

Maybe.

OR

She probably read my name in the newspaper for my good grades last week.

I bet she was proud when she saw my name.

30 miles. I mean, how is that all that separates my mom and me?

30 measly miles?

It was enraging and sanity-deteriorating because I drove myself crazy looking for her every time I left my house. I’d walk into Wal-Mart and stare at the backs of any blonde-haired woman, daring it to be her when she turned around. I’d run across the river for gas and look at every pump. 

I scanned the bleachers of every game of every sport I ever played. 

Because she was only 30 miles away.

It was damaging in so many ways because I didn’t know how to release the pressure that built up in me and I didn’t know how to live a life where I felt like I always had to search for her. But then I got old enough to roam the world when and how I wanted to, and suddenly the clouds parted, and I was no longer searching. 

I was suddenly only 30 miles away if I wanted to be.

And that had nothing to do with where I lived.

I accepted what was and quit being infatuated with any short, blonde woman that had her back to me. I knew that if I ever did find myself in a room with her, I was finally in a place to remain in control of my emotions. And that was something I never felt throughout all my high school years.

30 miles apart and I had no idea if she was following my growth or completely oblivious to the person I had become. Earlier, I stated that success was hard to appreciate, but it was still something that I was dedicated to and worked very hard at. 

I wanted her to feel bad about missing out on supporting me while I followed my dreams.

I didn’t want to give her the easy way back in because I was doing just fine without her. 

I became educated.

I got stronger.

I chose to serve my country. 

I grew independent and caring and gentle.

I rose above every situation that was designed to set me back.

I made it to the other side.

All while missing my mom

From 30 miles away

EOD Thoughts: 11.10.2020

My company has scaled back their return to office plan so instead of two days in office, I’m cutting it down to just one day in office. I could have chosen to go completely remote, but Mondays I have meetings that I would rather be there in person for.

Not a whole lot new going on. I started Christmas shopping and wrapping and I’ve already got probably ten presents under the tree. I’m so very ready for the holiday season.

I’m tired of the ever-changing life we love now. Nothing is the same and it’s draining my mental health because I rely and appreciate schedules and planning. And in 2020, there is no planning.

2020: The Year of Flying by the Seats of our Pants

……………………………….

Tonight’s Reflection Quote:

The Apology That Never Came

I was a hot head for a long time growing up. I think it had a lot to do with the resentment and uncertainty I had in the relationship I had (or lacked) with my mom. I often got in trouble well into my junior high years for hitting my siblings. I was angry and I took it out on the people that surrounded me.

When I was in high school I secretly wrote letters to my mom in prison – against the wishes of my aunt and uncle who were raising me at the time. They, with their adult wisdom, knew that engaging with my mother during such a detrimental stage of my life would be very toxic. But I was young, foolish, and full of feelings that I wanted my mother to know about. I had a friend who let me use her address for my mother’s responses and she would bring me the letters at school, without my aunt or uncle knowing.

In those letters I would spew my deepest, darkest emotions of hatred and retaliation with such imagery it would have made a film maker gasp. It felt good to know that my mother would most likely weep when she read the awful things I wrote in my letters to her. Writing those letters was the only sense of control I felt I had at a time in my life when I felt like my life was controlled by other peoples’ decisions.

The letters came and went for months, but the more and more I expressed my disdain to my mother, the more pain was piled on top of me. I though I was somehow transferring the pain she she’d given me back to her, but instead I was secretly hoping I’d recieve the one thing that was never going to come.

For whatever reason, my broken heart had always hoped I would receive some sort of apology. Some sign from my mom that she had remorse for the irreparable damage she’d caused. But I was naïve because even if her response back to my heartfelt letters was an apology, her actions never backed it up to make the words mean anything. I thought that if I saw the words “I’m sorry” in her handwriting, it would make the pain of her actions go away. I now understand that an apology without changed behavior is just empty words. It doesn’t heal, it just aggravates your sense of hope.

Part of me is glad that my mother never responded back acknowledging her mistakes or vowing to change, because it meant that never acquired the impression that she that she had any intention of changing. Her letters were instead filled with excuses and placing the blame of her actions onto anyone and everyone except for herself. Every letter I received from her threw me back into a pit of rage until one day I made the decision to not reply.

I like to think that was the true turning point when I accepted what was and made the decision to stop allowing her choices define who I wanted to become and what I wanted to accomplish. It empowered me to move on and release some of the anger I had been holding onto for so very long. It allowed me to enjoy the presence of those around me – the people that cared if I failed or succeeded; because at the end of the day, they were the people pushing me, loving me, and rooting for me.

I am forever grateful to the people that picked me up, held me accountable for my mistakes, and showed me the value of love outside of the norm; but most importantly, taught me just how great life can be when you are no longer waiting on an apology that will never come.

Love is Hard

I don’t know how to love my mom. Or if I’m ever even going to be able to.

Some people can easily let the words “I love you” spew from their mouth, but I have never been that kind of person. Of course I have no issue pulling my daughter or fiancee in for a hug and telling them that I love them, but the words to people outside of that circle do not come as easily.

This makes me think back to growing up. My sister Victoria and I were five months different in age and we did nearly everything together. Strangers would even ask us if we were twins. Anyway, we both went through our own different stories of trauma in our childhood, which was probably part of the reason we grew to be so incredibly close. We both had sassy, smart mouths and often got in trouble together for running them when we shouldn’t have. We were close – and she is still one of my absolute favorite people on this planet – but we did not put that love on display. We even mocked displaying love to others. We rarely hugged, because we both never felt totally comfortable with it. When we said “I love you” to one another, we would say it and then immediately *gag*. We did this even into our twenties and now that we live in different states and both have a kid, we’ve kind of outgrown it.

My mom came to my house last week to visit. She has been clean for almost a year and I am super happy about that, but we still don’t talk all that much and being around her is just super uncomfortable for me. I can say, though, that having her around last week was actually very enjoyable. My daughter even let her hold her and they played on the floor together.

My insides were smiling, but then I noticed the gaping hole in my heart, realizing what could have been if drugs hadn’t taken her from us for so long.

She stayed and visited for a few hours and when she got up to leave I stayed sitting down. My younger sister got up saying, “Wait! I want to give you a hug!” When she said that I immediately got nervous because I knew that my mom would in turn expect the same thing from me. So I got up and gave her the hug, but when she said she loved me I fell silent.

I don’t know how to love her. I don’t feel comfortable just sitting across from her on the couch. There is so much water under the bridge, and I don’t know how to let go of what was and accept what is.

I’m not actively angry (I’ve said this before). I’m just simply unsure of how to heal from the past. I don’t know how to let her in.

I’m happy for her progress and I’m happy that she gets to see her grandbaby, but I don’t feel like that means that I owe her anything. I just don’t know how to love her.

Did you know? Or did you just not care?

Mom,

You’ve read my words on this blog and I’ve tried to explain the anger from my side, but I still have received no real apology or any comfort from the idea that you may be remorseful.

Did you know that in three instances the way I found out you were going back to prison was from teachers’ and classmates’ snide remarks at school?

Did you know that I got a blanket from the DCFS worker the day that we were taken from you and I clenched that blanket and cried nearly every night for months? And the only reason the monthly streak of crying out for you ended was because I gave up the hope that I would ever even see you again?

Did you know that sometimes I’d wonder if your death would comfort me so I’d have closure that you were okay instead of wondering if you were out on the streets?

Did you know that the first time I ever saw your mugshot was when I Googled my name in my freshman computers class?

Did you know that every basketball game I played in I scanned the gymnasium hoping that you’d be there? You never were.

Did you know that it’s because of you that my first tendency when experiencing trauma is to get so angry I want to punch a wall? I held so much anger for the greater part of my life that I still have a hard time finding the healthy way to release it?

Did you know I held a handful of pills in eighth grade because I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore?

Did you know I cut my wrist with a broken razor blade just so I could feel pain that was physical instead of emotional?

Did you know? Or did you just not care?