Happy Birthday to My First Love

birthday cakeImage by freakgirl via Flickr
Today is a special day in our house.  Seventy-one years ago, my mother, C., was born to Curry and Inez in New Orleans, Louisiana.  For all intents and purposes, she was raised by her grandmother, Irma, and spent time with her father. She was a happy child with numerous cousins to play and hang around with.


When she was a mere 18 years of age, she married. I was the first born child to C. and J., five days before Christmas in New Orleans. I was their first born of three girls.  My mother is an amazing woman who single-handedly raised me and my 3 siblings, when my dad made the poor choice to leave our family–on my 5th birthday.  Although I didn’t realize it for decades, this incident had a huge influence on my life and the person that I was to become.

After my father left our family, we had to move in with my great-grandmother. My mother, a very beautiful woman, who married young and never had the opportunity to attend college, had few job prospects. She had three children to care for so she soon accepted a job as a cook for the New Orleans Catholic Archdiocese, where she remained for over 40 years. Although we were poor, my mom always worked 2-3 jobs to make sure that we had food on the table and clean clothes to wear. Although she could have easily qualified, she steadfastly refused to apply for or receive any type of government aid. (The exception was the free lunch program that we had to apply for through the schools and were automatically accepted.) She is a proud woman and remains so to this day.

Her life has not been easy. She has seen a sister taken from her by violent means, her mother by a drunk driver, her beloved grandmother by cancer, her son by congestive heart failure following an earlier diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 23, and numerous other losses that she has handled with grace. Most recently, Hurricane Katrina, as well as health issues, made it impossible for my mom to return to the only home that she has ever known, the only one that she ever cared to know–New Orleans. Yet, in spite of all of this, she has never lost hope or faith.

My mother came to live with my husband and me because of serious health issues, but I think that I have gained much more from her presence. It is the first time that we have lived under the same roof since I left home the Summer after I graduated high school. I can’t say that I left on great terms, and I certainly did not understand her and what it meant to be a parent; especially, a single parent of four. The passage of time and parenthood have mellowed me and I think that I can say, made me wiser. With that, our relationship has been transformed. It has matured into something that I never thought possible, a friendship, and a close one at that. My mom is my confidant, (okay, there are limits.) friend, and at times, just my mother. For the first time ever, I think that I can say with certainty that, I get my mom and she gets me. Even ten years ago, I never thought that I’d utter those words. I know that I am blessed to still have my mother with me and that is why I couldn’t let this day go by without saying “HAPPY 71st BIRTHDAY” to the very first love of my life, my Mom. 

Blessings to you,



Enhanced by Zemanta

Only One Unique You

SHANGHAI, CHINA - DECEMBER 31:  Fireworks expl...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I  am Me

In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.

— Virginia Satir 

Celebrate and revel in your uniqueness and share it with the world. You have been blessed with gifts and you and only you can share them with the world. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Don’t Compromise Your Greatness!

Contemplation 1 B&WImage by DigiDragon via Flickr
Before I begin, I must clarify what this post is not. I am not a mental health care professional, and the intent of this post, is not to trivialize, disparage or malign those in the mental health profession or the individuals who truly suffer from the insidious illness that is “melancholic depression”. http://www.brighthub.com/mental-health/depression-mood/articles/81724.aspx.  Anyone who suffers from any form of depression should immediately seek medical assistance. As you will see, this post only addresses these matters briefly.






During the past week or so, some days, the weather has matched my mood of late, melancholy. Many of the days were overcast, neither hot nor cold and perfect for wiling away or sleeping the day away. As I have much of the past few days, I choose to succumb to the latter.  Before doing so, the word “melancholy” brings me back to younger days.

Since elementary school, I have had an intense fascination with the word melancholy. I had two favorite words then, “lucrative” and “melancholy.” In hindsight, “lucrative” was future economic wealth to a child from a single-parent home with a mother working furiously to raise, clothe and feed 4. “Melancholy,” however, was then and is now, enticing by its own right–at least to me. It is a beautiful word and I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I ached to use it in a sentence but my 10 year old attempts were always feeble, even to me. 

The problem was in the teaching. I was taught that the state of melancholy was one that I should not strive for, lest I be branded severely depressed or otherwise mentally afflicted. 


My fascination and intrigue with the word grew, as did my puzzlement as to its true meaning. Scholar I am not, so I embarked on a brief internet search that might answer my questions. Webster’s on-line dictionary defines “melancholy” as follows: 

Mel´an`chol`y

n. 1.

1. Depression of spirits; a gloomy state continuing a considerable time; deep dejection; gloominess.

2. Great and continued depression of spirits, amounting to mental unsoundness; melancholia.

3. Pensive maditation[sic]; serious thoughtfulness.

4. Ill nature.

a. 1. Depressed in spirits; dejected; gloomy dismal.

2. Producing great evil and grief; causing dejection; calamitous; afflictive; as, a melancholy event.

3. Somewhat deranged in mind; having the judgement impaired.

4. Favorable to meditation; somber.

I learned that all but two of the definitions listed above are in accordance with what I learned as a child. If one states, “I am in a melancholy mood.” Such a confession automatically imbues the speaker with a mental defect of some sort. In some cases that may be accurate, but based on the definitions for 3 and a.3, in many cases, such a label is a gross mischaracterization of the person’s emotional state. 


Although “melancholy” has strong roots in the mental health field, it appears that the word is also frequently used in the world of poets and poetry. Since I have no expertise on either, I refer you to the following web page, http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Definition-of-Melancholy, for a lovely take on the word and a discussion and examples of its use in the realm of poetry. For my purposes, it is the conclusion that intrigues me. He states:

There is a devious sadness to the world in which we live – a sadness that comes to find us in the night, when we’re all alone under the canopy of a million stars. Something within us knows that we ought to be better – that our love ought to burn brighter and shine more fiercely – that our passion and conviction for life ought to be strong, and lead us through that nagging temptation to settle for the ordinary and mundane. Something within us knows that life was always meant to be lived to the full. And this something, when it comes to find us, convicts us of all the cheap and common things we often settle for. This feeling, in my mind, is the definition of melancholy.

Yes, this is the melancholy of which I speak and experience. The emotion differs from one person to the next, and the scope of sadness does as well, but it is so much more and a far cry from severe depression.  Melancholy comes wielding a doubled-edged sword-a sword of truth if you will. One side bears a wrath upon us which, as the above author aptly quoted, “convicts us for all of the cheap and common things we often settle for”.  It replays all of those instances in our lives when we failed to live up to our best selves, our true selves. We lament all the lost opportunities for greatness that we allowed to escape our grasp due to fear, or any number of self-limiting emotions. This side of the sword is our WAKE-UP call. The other side, however, serves not to convict us, but to remind us of our forgotten hopes, dreams and aspirations. It brings to mind that time in our life when anything was possible and we’d let nothing deter us  from achieving those goals. It reminds us that greatness is ours to be achieved, to be embraced. To settle for less–well, that is where the state of “melancholy” steps in to remind us that: “It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us; Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”. Return to Love, Marianne Williamson, Harper Collins, 1992. 



Enhanced by Zemanta