What to expect when your only child goes off to college or: The misery of realizing you are old!

I only have one child. An amazing daughter who inherited many of my personality quirks and who also took that shared DNA and molded it into something even better than I could have ever imagined! She’s bursting with potential and I am trying my hardest not to fuck anything up for her as she moves into her second year of college and finally away from the home nest for good.

Today, I walked into her nearly empty bedroom and the instantaneous sensation of tears welling up in my eyes took me by surprise. I felt the tell-tale tightening of the chest, that vise grip around the heart feeling and I wanted to crumple into a ball on the floor and cry. The realization that this was most likely the last summer she would “come home” and from here on out I will only see her on brief visits over the holidays struck me hard.

Where did the time go? How could the years fly so fast? How did I get so damn old?

Well…I can and do sit around and talk about pooping ALL the time. The kid does it too. Kinda our thing much to Manly Man’s utter chagrin but, come on! Everyone poops, everyone gets old and if we can’t talk about it then why are we even here?

So, back to my sadness over no longer being the one getting asked, “Hey Mom? Where is my charger, book, this. that and the other?” No, wait…I just got a text from my daughter asking me where her Airpods are. And…now another asking me where her flatiron is. Mind you, I’m over 400 miles away but damned if I don’t know exactly where those things are! Mom’s know…everything!

I am thankful for the age of constant digital connection, the FaceTime era where you can see loved ones, often just in weird angle, poorly lit shots of their nose, eyes and forehead while they are lying in bed or lounging on the couch. It’s not pretty but its connecting and I’ll take it!

I’ll take any type of communication now because I know the “little girl” days are over and that is painful. So painful I now have a daily slideshow of memories from the past floating around every corner of my mind at any given moment. I see her room, in our new house and I flash back to an image of her crib, in our old house, with its cute bumper pad and mobile attached to the rail. I see the rocking chair I used to sit in, rocking her to sleep each night while listening to lullabies. I see the stack of favorite books and toys and I long for that again, with her.

Now, mind you, those days included some very irritating moments too which involved an ex-spouse and ex-in laws but I am able to freeze frame the good parts, the laughter and joy I shared with her. I know I will have many more opportunities to experience happiness within her current orbit but those sweet, silly and free moments from her childhood were so satisfying to remember! And, also so, so very sad to look back on now!

Damn it Buble!!!!!!

It’s hard knowing you can’t go back, ever. You can’t get a piece of that bliss, just a small sliver to carry with you now as a reminder that you did something right and your life actually had many amazing pockets of success hidden amongst the bitter experiences. I made it out intact and she made it out as well so now…I just want to focus on the amazing things and let go of all the garbage.

Yes, I made many mistakes with her father but in the here and now I want to move forward new and clean. She doesn’t have to worry about me because I am with a devoted partner who loves her as well and is so very proud of her just like I am. I am OKAY! I just need to learn how to remember wonderful moments with her without the twinge of regret or second guessing myself. I SHOULD have done a lot of things differently but the one thing I did right was having her. That will always be my greatest accomplishment in life, hands down.

https://grownandflown.com/empty-nest-kids-leave-me-behind/

And now I sit alone thinking about her and struggling to find my new path in life. No one really tells you that after your children grow into adults and take off to live their own lives you will be left with an aching void. You are left with a feeling of confusion over what to do next. Am I still a parent or has that chapter concluded? Do I get to go back to being a woman, partner, friend, coworker now or have I always been these things all along it’s just that society told me I could only pick one to be at a time? I was never told what to do with myself once that job was done. Is this a mid-life crisis or a no-life reality?

We give up a lot of our former selves to be parents but what happens when we forget where we left the person we used to be before our children came along? I think I remember where she is…but, do I really want to find her again? So many questions and to think our college age offspring are contemplating who they want to be at the very same time we are trying to remember who we once were. It’s a bit freaky right? I literally want to ask her where I left all my shit now! “Hey, newly adult child? Where did I leave my dreams, my ambition and my sanity?” I just need to know what my role is now.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

As much as we’d like…there’s just no blocking out those who try our sanity forever.

Unfollow. Unfriend. Report. Block.

All of the above are temporary actions that fail to access deep into the core of what is truly wrong within any relationship, whether that be online or real time.

Last night I had a dream that I saw my sister sitting at a bar looking at me from across the room. She looked sad and was beckoning me to come and sit by her. My SO moved past me in the dream to talk to her and after a few moments came back and said, “You made the right decision.”

What does that mean? That I was correct in placing her outside my life for a while, like a time-out for unruly toddlers or that I was right to stop letting our angry interactions of the past impact my here and now? There are days and weeks that go by now where I don’t give her or any of my other ousted family members a thought. That once bothered me a lot. It doesn’t anymore.

My sister and I haven’t spoken in almost two years so to have that dream was both a little alarming but also, telling. The telling part is that this was an obvious signal pointing to a tale of misguided jealousy and misinformation spun out of control, nudging my subconscious to either defrag and reboot the experience or delete it all together.

By delete I mean forgive, let it go, move on or any other trite word people use to describe an action they should do and want to do but can’t because they are cowards deep down inside. I don’t consider myself a coward. Stubborn and opinionated? Yes, but when you get down to the brass tax I will weigh in and fight to the death in defense of what I hold to be true. Count on it.

All of this time has gone by and the things I formerly did as a kindness and duty no longer hold the same amount of meaning. You buy a birthday card, sit down and think of just the right words to say that might touch the person receiving it. You try to find out exactly what they might like, love or laugh at and you get it, cost is no concern. Except now, a lot of those steps are taken out of the equation because you know that the receiver doesn’t actually care and just seeing a package or envelope with your name on it will instantly make their eyes roll in derision.

It’s really the ultimate kindness to stop pushing your name or likeness in front of them I suppose. To stop forcing them to think of you when they don’t really want to. Or, is it? Sometimes I think that I could just forget about acknowledging certain milestones because my milestones of late have all gone unacknowledged. But, then I remember I am an Aquarius! We love a solid grudge but we also fight for justice and to fail to extend a thoughtful gesture, even to those who have wronged us, is blasphemy!

Back to this dream. What was it all about? Was it a sign that I should reach out or was it a sign that I’ve done enough and have earned the right to move on down the road, free of bitter entanglements and resentment? I think I might be there, standing at a fork in the road, one sign pointing back to the darkness I came from and the other directing me to go forward without looking back.

https://blog.rescuetime.com/burnout-syndrome-recovery/

I’m just fucking tired and caring takes time, energy and effort. I don’t have it in me anymore. The well filled with this sad saga is finally dry. So, which way would you go? Back to attend to the wounded or forward to protect your hard earned sanity and serenity? Personally, I prefer the light that clarity and release provides because the heavy darkness of strife and drama is unbearable anymore.

And now, to commemorate this epiphany I have unblocked the door to my social observation deck, as it were. Run free upon my fertile fields of pithy prose! I will try to rake up as many offensive thorns as possible but cannot make any guarantees. Tread carefully though, it has always been my experience that offense is only taken if the insult, joke, meme, fault and so on applies to the one taking it personally.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

So, you disagree? Okay, and how is it now MY job to educate you?

“Cite your sources please!”

“Show me that study!”

“You need to back your opinion piece up with 10 reputable sources within 10 seconds! Thanks!!”

And, while you are at it go ahead and just transfer your hard earned college degree, skillfully honed street smarts and common sense over to me. I can’t be bothered with looking anything up myself because after all, my disagreeing with you trumps your opinion and even though you might be able to pull multiple credible sources that support your opinion…I still won’t believe them.

THIS is the fresh hell of FAKE NEWS bullshit we are living in now. No one is allowed to opine on anything without the Library of Congress resource librarian on retainer and those who dare to are shouted down with CITATION PLEASE, SHOW YOUR SOURCES, FAKE NEWS at every turn.

News flash…this is a fucking opinion based blog not a scientific journal or legal brief. Also, stop being so goddamn lazy! If your opinion differs from mine then hallelujah! Take the time to consider why you disagree, look up your own fucking information and present it to me politely, if you like, or simply keep on walking, this blog ain’t for you. It’s not that hard and it’s been working just fine like this for eons…until now. Why is that?

Here’s MY OPINION on the matter: If everyone with a differing view can be seen as discredited, deceitful or dishonest then maybe that will set the groundwork for continued marginalization and eventual silencing of dissent. Ya dig? Or not…both stances are acceptable and for those that don’t dig it’s still not my job to convince you otherwise. You have a brain just like me. Use it!

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/5/15/15585176/motivated-ignorance-politics-debate

I’m not your mama, your teacher, contractually obligated or anything else that requires me to work for you pro bono. Land of the free, home of the brave baby! I both paid for and earned my education through the use of God Money and hard, individual work so quit being an intellectual freeloader you mooch! Get your own learning! To even think that I should act as an eternal tutor for the perpetually oblivious and purposely uninformed is insanity. I’m fine with waiting on you to come back with your own evidence though. The only difference is that I don’t DEMAND it of anyone in order to accept they have a difference of opinion.

Now, now…I can hear the grumbles of, “Oh, you just can’t support your opinion with facts so in order to stop the debate you throw in a cop-out phrase like that?” Okay, cool, so even after debating my position with you for minutes, hours, days, years…decades even all you have to do is puff out your chest and demand stacks of research that you won’t read and won’t believe? Nah, I’ve read this book before and the ending is always the same.

Open thine eyes self-righteous ones! The fear of finding out you really might be wrong is blinding you and it’s keeping you from living. I’m fine with being wrong because being right about how truly sexist, homophobic, racist and utterly morally bankrupt a huge chunk of the population is disturbs me. PROVE ME WRONG!!! I welcome that research and will accept both qualitative and quantitative data on the subject.

Show me what you are really made of…

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A longing for situational tabula rasa…

Oh how I wish, after reading mind numbingly, willfully stupid comments posted online or after listening to politicians obsessively vomit purposely divisive rhetoric, I could hit the factory reset button on my mind and start anew. To have a “clean slate” mind in these troubled times would be beneficial but as it always is with wishful thinking…not very practical. That which has been seen or heard cannot be magically erased except by rather extreme measures. Head trauma inducing measures.


So, back to tabula rasa, a peculiar theory constructed by Aristotle as a ‘unscribed tablet’ or clean slate rebuttal (On the Soul, Book III, chapter 4), to his buddy Plato’s pronouncement that man was merely a ‘spirit with no corporeal manifestation.’ To say that I’m not really certain what either of these fine toga wearing fellows were yammering on about is a massive understatement so I will just stick with what I believe to be true: we came into being, we overheard the words of those around our maternal flesh-dome Airbnb and once pushed out into the world we hung onto some of those impressions. Once the bell has been rung the memory of its tone and timbre stay embedded in our memory so to say we pop out of the womb free and clear of any and all outside influences or DNA predispositions doesn’t hit the mark for me.

If you don’t clean your slate how can you have any pudding?


If it does for you then cool, I’m fine with that but what about the idea of reincarnation, the ultimate form of recycling? New body with a completely wiped hard drive? The claim that anything saved on a computer hard drive is never truly erased intrigues me…but then I think about the potential scenario where someone comes along and writes new code, implanting new memories over the preexisting ones effectively canceling out the old. What then? Can those old memories pop up in between the new ones when we least expect it doing a funky déjà vu cha-cha? A tricky virus of unknown origin that gums up the works and makes humans doubt how they got here, who made them and why?


I think about things like this often and attribute it to a bizarre need to peek into every imaginative room constructed within my mind. If you think about it this way, that we have many rooms in our heads just like the many boxes, bins and trash bags full of long forgotten stuff crammed in closets, attics, basements and garages then why would it be too hard to fathom the idea that pre-programmed ideas, beliefs or memories aren’t stored someplace we just haven’t accessed yet? It’s the ultimate treasure hunt! Doesn’t that sound more exciting than the theory that we blip into this world a blank-eyed dolt who knows nothing yet is expected to learn EVERYTHING in the time allotted them by a lazy creator too busy to be bothered with details. WELCOME TO EARTH GLOB OF FRESH CLAY! No roadmap, no guidebook, no direction other than, “See that vaginal slip-n-slide there? Go that way and good luck!”


Alrighty then, I’ve gotten way off topic here…where was I? Oh, right, I was talking about how I’d like a tool to drown out the negative noise the world is making currently. The anti-education, anti-anything that cues those not male and white into the fact that they are being subjected to constant gaslighting and purposeful oppression noise. Preferably a mode of mental relief that doesn’t involve driving off a cliff or jabbing an icepick into my ears to shut out the obnoxiously deluded or purposely misleading.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/why-do-republicans-suddenly-hate-colleges-so-much/533130/

It is my belief that there are people out there that wish harm on those who refuse to think or behave like them so if I had a temporary way to wipe their actions and words from my mind it would be the best No Harm, No Foul ever. It would be even better if my inability to hear, see or react to their negativity and need to control could effectively reprogram their way of viewing the world around them. “Just ignore them honey and they will go away”, that kind of thing except better…they literally evolve into a kinder and more considerate human being. Oh, how wonderful that would be!

http://www.stirjournal.com/2016/04/01/i-know-why-poor-whites-chant-trump-trump-trump/


Yes, how wonderful it would be if humans could get that being assholes to one another serves zero purpose other than scratching some perverse itch they have to make everyone as miserable as they are. Or, to make sure no one takes their spot in the line of privilege. I see you. I know what you are doing and you know what you are doing yet, here we are, stalemate with no possible checkmate in sight.

Please sir, may I have some more…nothing?

The negative throng of the world buzz and hum, creating an insanely annoying racket, a calamity designed to distract, redirect and restack the cards formerly set in their favor. Unfair advantage taken, lost and now feverishly reclaimed despite the odious stink it admits, signaling all who know better that the fix is in. It’s always been “in” the only difference is that now the game is being brazenly played out in the open, shit-eating grin in full display and the “what are you going to do about it” gauntlet dropped like a greasy Big Mac on the Oval Office floor.


I have many ideas about what I would like to do. One that would be particularly satisfying: a thunderous kick to the shriveled nut-sack of any old asshole who has ever called me cupcake, sweetie, little girl, snowflake…anything other than my given name. You do realize that misogynistic, racist, sociopathic dick-bags refuse to call those they fear or hate by their legal names because your name holds power right? If they say your name they acknowledge your humanity, they acknowledge that every degrading, demoralizing, dehumanizing thing they have ever said is false and only said to lay flat those who stand to take a piece of the abundant pie they are too greedy to share. It’s complete and utter bullshit, all of it. And, yet, they are allowed to march on with little to no resistance. WAKE UP WORLD! You are on fire.


Things aren’t right, they haven’t been right since day 1 and it’s high time we ALL recognized that. Longing for some long gone era some wistfully call “the good old days” is both figurative and literal horse shit! For every advantaged person’s good old days there are many, many disadvantaged, oppressed and cruelly disregarded people that don’t remember certain days, decades or centuries quite as rosy as you do.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself WHY? Probably not or we wouldn’t still be playing this perpetual game of It/Not It where one group consistently floats to the top after even the smallest set-back. It’s not that hard to figure out yet, old habits die hard and even older myths, lies, manipulations and purposeful control methods rise continually like a shit-covered specter clawing at and climbing over everyone to the side and in front of them even though it’s CLEARLY no longer their turn! Hello, old white dude! Take a seat, hand over the microphone and open your eyes and ears!


We are just getting started.


The slate has too much blood on it.


It will never be clear.


But, you knew that…right? Tap, tap, tap…is this thing on?

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Chiaroscuro in Us All

There resides within us all an inherent darkness and light. Good and evil, whichever shading you choose to assign each of our halves, waiting to be revealed. The wish to do no harm while destroying everything within reach simultaneously. It truly is quite the dilemma is it not?

With every passing year, every forgone lesson, every opportunity to elevate ourselves to a higher standard of existing we continually turn away from that desired space between dark and light. We attempt to call our inaction Grey, or Gray as some conclude it must be named and state that this moniker explains it all away. No need to step forward, no need to step back, we just stay in the middle and watch the world burn.

Chiaroscuro in art is simply the ability to document on paper, wood or canvas powerful contrasts between the world’s light and dark elements producing a bold creation for all to marvel and proclaim profound and realistic. Artists engage in this technique in order to achieve the visual presence of volume in three-dimensional objects and human representation and similar effects are found in cinematography and photography.

Life imitates art certainly and, it can also be said that art rightfully masquerades as humanity with its sharp edges, dark curves and unforgiving lighting. It illuminates the very soul of everyone within its grasp, sometimes favorably and other times harshly. It is truth just as we are truth standing in the gap between our own dark and light sides. Not one soul is either all good or all bad, they just allow one side of their human equation to win more than the other.

So, what if we choose to wipe away that vague grey void? What if we utilize both sides that make up the whole being? To combine the dark and the light to make one bold statement of who we really are once and for all? Is THAT not truth? Is that not the definition of reality after all?

We are neither good nor bad, we just ARE. The very realization of the fact that we are here without any concrete proof of beginning, despite what those who wish to deny their dark side say should be grounds for celebration! We are and will continue to be so until our light is extinguished into darkness making us once again…equal.

Yet, we fear, we smash down debate, we drown those who refuse to carry the mantle of shame in condemnation and judgment. How does denying the very essence of your humanity make any of us undeniably holy? Is there even such a thing as holy, pious and pure when the actions of those who work so hard to silence others beg to differ? We can’t all be one and not the other, especially when actively working to discredit, demoralize and dismantle the spirits of those who see both sides and embrace the chiaroscuro within. And, in doing so doesn’t this make us dark while, at the same time, pretending to be light? Such a manipulative, convoluted, dishonest quandary!

https://www.calmdownmind.com/dark-nature-and-light-nature-in-humans/

The point of this is not to enflame the religiously indoctrinated, that position is a personal choice just as it is a choice to enact an alternative stance. Art, much like life is a mixture of varying elements used to create a visual representation of feeling and being. We look at the sky and can see different shapes of clouds,the subtle shade gradients throughout our limited line of sight. We believe what we see and assign it a value yet, at the same time are told to also refrain from believing that which is presented to us as fact or science only because the presenter has a differing belief system and not because what they are saying isn’t actually true. How can this be so? Are we also not asked to believe in a higher power we cannot see or hear? If this is true for some then why not imagine for ALL the possibility that WE not HE or SHE are that higher power when we work together in harmony?

If we are asked to believe in ourselves at every turn in life, whether it be in school, at work or in our relationships with one another then why do we suddenly become weak, indecisive and in need of divine guidance whenever life gets hard? Wouldn’t it be lazy to just throw all of our problems onto an unseen caretaker in the sky and expect them to deal with our self-made burdens? Arrogant AND lazy in my estimation but still, it happens daily without regard to presentation.

We are the light and the dark within our own lives. We create our own chaos, our own worries, our own anger and jealousy. No one else does this for us and again, if that is so then shouldn’t we be the ones holding the paintbrush, feverously working to soften the edges of our darkness and highlighting the lightness so others may see the positive artwork we are making for and of ourselves? To recognize the power within is not blasphemy either, it is relief and it is freedom!

With all the words I have consciously streamed above I have no way of knowing for sure if any of it makes sense or if it just enrages those dedicated to being eternally offended. Either is fine. And, so it goes with the way of life; we make our choices, we paint them in either strong dramatic colors or faint wisps of hesitation. Both make a mark and both are okay. The artist has the power to change their creation at any point in time after all.

I simply choose to look at life from all angles rather than just from one side because in doing so I can truthfully wish to protect all while also doing no harm to any. I see your light, I see your dark and both share a place in this world. Recognition mixed with acceptance creates a different color all together and that color isn’t remotely grey.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If all you want to be is right then I guess I will choose to be happy instead.

I have been thinking about this topic for a long time. Right, wrong, in between and I don’t care are all positions people either fight over or simply walk on by without a single thought. I’d like to be in the latter category. To do anything else seems counterproductive and illogical.

There is a whole world of wonder outside of our own heads….

I will let you have your outrage, your vitriol, your angst and also…your misery. Many in that list are well earned so I would never want to take that away from the possessor; I prefer to err on the side of mental and physical well being now. You do what you think will get you by in life and I will do what allows me to climb mountains, sail seas and soar above the negativity. If I live by example, fully immersed in the current moment rather than frustrating ruminations then I won’t have time to worry about how others perceive me. That will no longer be my concern.

How Being Right Stops You From Being Happier

Okay, you enjoy that title! I’m just going to be over here enjoying life. Cheers!

Oh, please don’t think that I am stepping away from being passionate about causes and movements that matter a great deal, that won’t change. What I am setting aside is the reactionary response to little digs, picks, prods and manipulative lead-ins. Also, please don’t dish out the line, “Well, if you don’t speak out and stand up then you are just another sheep waiting to be led to slaughter!” Save your time and breath. When it matters I will speak up, no doubt there and when it’s an effort in futility and only feeding the ego of narcissism then I will have better things to do. Got it?

5 Ways to Handle People Who Always Think They’re Right

I don’t always have to be yelling to be heard and I don’t always have to react in rage to express my disagreement with arrogant and ignorant statements. Sometimes it’s not so much what you say as what you do that matters. I will be happy, despite ridicule over my point of view. I will enjoy my life and revelle in the wonder of new discoveries and new travel adventures and also the excitement over meeting new interesting people. All of those things involve both personal action and intent. There is no praying or hoping here. It’s all ME powered.

So, do you want to be Right or do you want to be Happy? Or, neither? Take a moment and choose wisely.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.