Saturday, November 19, 2016

Healing From Trauma

Because of some of my life experiences, I have often wondered what makes the differences in what one person experiences compared to another?  For instance, why did I always feel like women who had been brutally sexually assaulted, some beat beyond recognition, left for dead, seemed to be able to bounce back, lead productive, happy lives, enjoy meaningful relationships, and live otherwise “normal” lives seem to fare better than I did, someone who’d just been touched on and humped a little?

Before the thought could fully form in my mind, I saw the problem.  A couple of them actually.
In my past few years of studying human thinking and philosophy, I came across some Buddhist teachings that resonated with me.  One in particular was “comparison is the thief of all joy”.  And while I found it easier for me to say that when it came to accomplishments that I felt that I should have made, but hadn’t, I’d never thought about it in terms of comparing my negative life experiences to those of others.

Maybe another survivor came from a wonderfully loving family that spoke life into her, encouraged her, and supported her.  Or maybe she didn’t and that was her reason for survival and wanting change.  Regardless of how good or bad that I may feel that my life or family was, none of that has a bearing on my life NOW and that I continued to allow the negative experiences from my past cloud what should have been a bright future.

So, instead of making comparisons, I decided to do some digging.

And underneath the emotional fallout, the broken bones that never quite set right, was a scared little girl. 


She didn’t care that bills needed to be paid.  She didn’t care about civil unrest or celebrity drama or anything else.

All she cared about was the fact that she was hurt and that no one had ever acknowledged that pain or expressed remorse.

So, I began to do this practice for myself.

And, I’ll admit, at first, it seemed completely pointless and silly.

But, then, the wound opened up, as fresh as the day that it was inflicted.

And I cried.

I cried until my eyes ached and it felt like my breath had all but left my body.

I realized that I’d never truly acknowledged the seriousness of what had happened to me.

I jumped from trauma directly to “get over it” like everyone was telling me that I needed to.

Yet, my inner child, my subconscious mind was like, “Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200 until you deal with this.”

So, I did.

And I forgave myself for being a child.

I forgave myself for holding onto all the pain for so many years.

And I celebrated myself for surviving for as long as I did.

And I gave myself permission to let it go.

And I began to heal.

And every single day is a fight.

Every. Single. Day.

But, no matter how hard the day is, I take comfort in knowing that it keeps getting better.

It really does.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Before I was your punching bag
I was your princess.



A perfect portrait of all that unconditional love is supposed to be.

A love I've never known.
A love I've heard about, read about.

And just like the fairy tales my mother used to read to me at night about
The man who made the waters stand apart and the man who brought the dead back to life,
It sounded real good.

Only I dare not ask for a miracle.
I just needed another day to let my purple bruises turn yellow.

I dare not ask time to let them heal.
No, that might be more than I deserve.

So, I walk on egg shells and I try to cover my face and head
As your fists rain down, I send up a prayer,
Wishing for one last miracle.

Turn him into a pillar of salt!
No, a beetle!

So, that I may grind you underfoot
So that you learn the pain of being stripped naked of humanness.
So that no crown should be tarnished because of your many imperfections.

But, fairy tales aren't real and Prince Charming isn't coming.

Oh well.

At least, once upon a time, I was your princess.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Did animals just come carnivorous?
Or was there something broken in the ecosystem by us, the touchers of things?

My kids go through my make-up and make complete messes of themselves.

Is that how God feels?

Are we the Stuff Smashers of God?

Well, at least he thinks we’re cute.

In fact, we are more esteemed than the stars.

But, back to animals eating animals.

That just seems strange to me that a God who loves His creations would like to purpose one life form for the consumption of another life form.

I know God to be a God of love.

I get lightweight emotional when my son makes his toy cars crash!

But, I’m just some lady with kids.
What do I know?

I think it’s just what nature does.

And we can get mad about it and wish it weren’t so, but ugly exists.

It’s the reason we enjoy the bright spots so much.
We all KNOW that, but nobody wants to hear it or accept that it’s true.

Nature ebbs and flows.

The best thing you can do is make sure you’ve got your surfboard ready and ride the wave for as long as you can!

Don’t spend a MOMENT of your time frustrated, sad, depressed, angry.

If the moments are all we have, then why do we throw them away?

Because, in the end, when all of our grey hairs are counted and the wrinkles have overtaken us, we will be the compounded result of whatever we have spent the most energy on.

Shouldn’t it be something that fulfills your soul?
Makes you smile every day?
Makes you feel like you have purpose?
Aren’t just a cog in someone else’s wheel?

You know, some of us become slaves to children!
Did you know that that was possible?

There’s a mother right now reading this and wishing she can break free from slavery from her kids.
I’m praying for you, honey.

You can choose to be a slave to anything and everything.

But you can also choose freedom.

Did God create destruction or does he just allow it?

Hell, I don't know.

But, I know it's there.

It happens.

The best I can do is be the force for good.

Since I'm always either growing or dying, I choose the light.

So, dance.
Laugh hard.
Love hard.
And most of all.

Follow the Pleasure Principle :)

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Freedom is not free, but it’s right up there with oxygen.

If someone cut off your air supply, how long would you survive?

It takes five to ten minutes before irreversible brain damage can occur.

While we are not our minds, our thoughts become things.

And if the things that we see become the things that we think about, oppression, injustice, violence, hate, ignorance, why are we so surprised that the world is so cold?

The exception to the oxygen rule is when someone young is simultaneously put into a cold environment when oxygen is cut off. 

Survival has been known to be up to 30 minutes. 

Time has not run out, but it most definitely is short. 

Our children are growing up in a world that abuses, misuses, does everything but nourishes them to flourish. 

Deterioration causes desolation. 

"You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free. " 

Freedom is not free.

But, if your head is under water and water is filling your lungs and your blood is rushing to your head, you tell me.

How important is freedom, then?

We Survived A Fire

We survived a fire.

No one was hurt or injured.

We stood outside watching smoke billow out of the windows while firefighters ran back and forth.

Like instant refugees, my children and I stood, watching, waiting, with no more than the pajamas that we ran out in on.

It was a sea of faces.

The faces had questions.

"What are you guys going to do?"

"Where will you live?"

Not to mention our cat is still unaccounted for.

Once the camera phones had been put away and there was nothing left to gawk at except the family of half-dressed deer in headlights, the world slowly began to spin again.

Neighbors came and provided diapers and clothes for the children, sweaters for me and my daughter.
They offered their places if I needed to make calls or just to think.

I was so grateful.

Red Cross came almost right away.

They talked to me softly, pressed a folder with the words, ‘Moving Forward’ into my hands, and told me that this was just the beginning.

They laughed and joked with us, making sure that we had accommodations and basic provisions.

But, it was Independence Day weekend.

And how symbolic.

I didn’t anticipate having to stay in a hotel, but especially not over a holiday weekend where rates were at least three times what they were normally.

After exhausting my resources, I checked out of our hotel room and found myself feeling and being displaced.

Where do you go when you have nowhere to go?

People started to give us clothes and food right away.

Where do you put your things when you have no place for your things?

Where would I even cook?

I felt the children growing restless.

But, I couldn’t help the urge to say, "This is not play time!"

When IS play time in a crisis?

And when the sweltering heat started to affect my son’s breathing, my children were no longer full from the apple sauce packets and Lunchables, and all I could hear was the sound of kids crying from hunger, exhaustion, and frustration, I had to fight back tears myself.

The other part of it is that I suffer from Crohn’s disease, which is triggered by stress and poor diet.

My stress was at an all-time high and the processed food that I could scrounge up was killing my insides softly.

This was just a long weekend, I thought. 

Can you imagine what people go through who live this reality every day?

Well, let me tell you.

It’s the millions of questions, having to tell and retell the story countless times, to people who may or may not even be interested or able to help.

It’s the dirty looks and "this is what you should have done" comments.

It’s simply wanting to take a shower and sleep and not knowing when or if that will happen.

When you are in that situation, reality TV or Donald Trump’s hair or which celebrity is on a bender are like things that matter in an alternate dimension.

But, I began to understand why the displaced and homeless look so downtrodden.

Because people literally and figuratively trample them under foot.

With unkind words and looks, judgmental tones, and outright ignorance.

But, the truth is, we are all one bad weekend away from being one of them.

Our pretty clothes and shiny cars tend to make us forget that sometimes.

I was displaced for five days.

Five. Days.

Yet, there are people in one of the richest countries in the world, one that brags of unmatched freedoms, and people go without proper food, clothing, and housing every single day.

It’s disgusting.

I was one of the lucky ones.

Once people realized what was happening, they stepped in and extended themselves in a large way.

We survived a fire.

And it was an eye-opening experience, one that I will never forget and has added a driving force in my life and heart to do everything in my power to make sure that no man, woman, or children have to suffer through a tragedy with added, unnecessary burdens.


Coco Tubman

Monday, February 29, 2016

Underground Railroad 2.0

Something shifted in me.

I took a step back to unplug and refocus and it all became crystal clear.

Here I was, building my financial future! 

Finally having found the exit tunnel that  my ancestors never knew existed, you would think that I'd have taken off running like my life depended on it.

But, it did.

And I didn't.

And after I finished pointing my finger at any poor soul unfortunate enough to cross my path, I began to realize that there might be a bigger problem.

Why did I seem to always stop right at the end?

The answer did not readily come at first.

In fact, it didn't for many years.

But, after many failed situationships and a few babies scattered along the way, I began to think.

First, my thoughts went to my mother, a woman that I equally loved and pitied for the poor life choices that she made.

It wasn't until I heard my mother half think out loud, half talk to me, and say, "Your life mirrors mine in so many ways."

I remember a guy telling me that I would have a baby young when I  was about ten.

I was so angry at him for that.

And yet, there I was, living in the same project apartment that my mother lived in when I was a baby.

That was my answer: conditioning.

I was conditioned to struggle.

I was conditioned to be single.

I was conditioned to feel disempowered.

I was conditioned to be afraid.

I was conditioned to hate myself.

These were powerful revelations that I couldn't find on a meme or tv.

This was real.

This was me.

And I started to see how I kept myself stuck.

I heard the excuses when they came out of my mouth and they just didn't taste the same.

And I decided to act.

Now, let's be clear.

I HATE doing something that I'm not the absolute best at right away.

I excel at most things.

Which is good!

But, when I got into action, I had to force myself to keep going because I knew I wasn't doing it 100% perfectly and I didn't like it.

The more I moved, the more the fear dissipated as I realized that it wasn't all that bad.

I felt like the kid who thought a shirt in a closet was a monster.

And I would randomly shake my head and laugh.

And the people around me were a gift.

When they would say things like I had in the past (as the people around you will), I would think, "Is that what I sound like? Ewwwwwwwwww."

Then, I forgave myself for being in that place.

Then, I got really grateful.

For the small things.

Like my daughter's smile.

And good water pressure.

And simply touching the heart of another.

Not because of what they'd done for me.

Not for what I'd done for them.

And not for some potential future gain.

But, just to take in their soul, to know their joys and sorrows, to create memories to last for ages.

It was with this revelation that life began to open up abundantly.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Modern Day Miracle

I wish I could say when God made me, he broke the mold.
But, I believe no mold could hold me.
So, he handcrafted my marrow, my sinew, my bones
And then released me
From my mother’s womb
Into a world unknown.
A world of quick fixes and microwaves
Ignorant people and smartphones.
A world needing disruption
Much like my fluid soul
To stand up and question barriers
Of egos too big and minds too small.

I came here to make you feel good
But first, I have to piss you off
And any slight suggestion might feel like
I’m asking you to turn your head and cough.
But, I promise that freedom taste better
Than anything a drive thru can provide
Better than additives and hormones
Or any flash-in-the-pan diet you’ve tried.

And yet, truth is largely ignored
Steamrolled by voices all the same
Advice no better for wear or tear
Than the advisor from whence it came.
But, what should make me so special,
My fate different from giants in whose shoes I walk?
They dodged mobs and knives and bullets,
Opposition and negative talk.

So, I add my few salty tears to the ocean
And find solace in fighting the good fight
And if nobody else sees things like I do
I will leave knowing that I stood for what’s right.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

This scene is EVERYTHING!

Anyone who knows me knows that this is one of my all-time favorites, but there is so much KNOWLEDGE in this scene.

When I start giving motivational speeches, I'm going to use this.


1. Initaive: Whoopi didn't say, "Oh, well, dumb girl with so much talent. Go ruin your own life by playing small. I have my own life to lead."

2. Love: Sometimes, you have to love people enough to put your pride and ego to the side (and help them to do the same) to help them let their light shine.

3. BOOKS! She came at a high schooler, someone who may have felt that they already do enough reading with MORE reading.

But, books let us gain more wisdom by peeking into the minds of others.


Good job, Whoopi.

4. The book was about a writer.

5. The Icecapades. They were my ish, too. I don't do sports of any kind, except I think they qualify.

6. Lauryn Hill. I don't need to say more than that.

7. The message: Life is but a dream.

We need to nurture and live our dreams because it nurtures our souls!

So many people walk around like zombies, checking things off of their to-do lists and wonder why they aren't happy.

Do what makes your heart sing.


P.S.- Oh. And 8. It will give me a chance to wrap my throat muscles around that note that kid in City High did! :)

Monday, January 4, 2016


Who talks like that, really?

*sheepishly raises hand*

I used to.

I remember how reactive I used to be in life.

When I was told that my application for public assistance was lost “and there was nothing anyone could do”, I would resort to things like belittling, yelling at, cursing out, and, shamefully, threats of violence.

I allowed an action to dictate my reaction.

It would be motivated from a place of fear.

If this doesn’t happen, what will I do? 

I would assume the worst.  There WAS no hoping for the best.

I shudder now thinking about how shallow my emotional cup was.

It got so bad, it was to the point that I started hiding out from life to avoid these emotional moments.

Thing about life is that we all have the same types of problems.

It may not be the same set of circumstances, but we have all been in the position where things have not gone according to plan, whether it’s at our own hands or those of someone else’s.

But, I have finally learned some lessons that have enabled me to push through it with my peace intact.

1    1.       Look at obstacles as surmountable building blocks, not permanent blocks in the road.
When you begin to see that conflict is a natural part of life, you do not approach it with trepidation.  You step up to the challenge with a positive attitude, convinced that nothing will prevent you from pushing forward toward your goal.

2    2.       Stay positive.
As cliché as this might sound, whenever there is a breakdown in the system, acting out in emotion is like pour gasoline on a spark.  It might have come and gone easily if you hadn’t added fuel to it, but it turns into a big, old raging, avoidable fire.  I have found that, even in situations where “policy says” or it “can’t” be done, exceptions have been made simply because the person said I was being “good about it”.

3   3.       Do your part.
     The only person that you can control is YOU.  Do all that you  can do to make the situation go smoothly.  Take as much responsibility for the situation as you can by proactively monitoring things.  For instance, I have had situations where documents have been requested of me and I send it, maybe via fax or e-mail and I assume it’s received.  You know what they say about ASSumers.  What I found is that when things would come to a head, anger would surface, which really was only a mask for shame and guilt about not being proactive.

Don’t get me wrong; I still am working on this.

In fact, I expect to be working on this for some time, so this is going in one of MY bookmarks.

But, I am constantly aware of this and make efforts to settle matters the right way, whether it be by talking to the right person, appealing a decision, or going to court.

In this way, it becomes less about emotionalism and more about fairness, justice, and empowerment.

Because one perceived wrong does not justify emotionally abusing a poor soul who simply is doing the job that they are paid to do or what they believe to be right.

So, no, I no longer threaten to burn down establishments.

Instead, I look for a solution that is a win/win solution for all involved.

Best.  Philosophy.  Ever.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Dee and Me

The day that I met Dee was probably the worst day of my life.

And it had less to do with actually meeting her and more to do with the fact that I met her at my mother’s funeral.

My family wasn’t close, but my mother showered me with so much love, it more than made up for it.  She told me that she loved me every day.

“I love you more than the moon and stars and planets and comets and…” she would say, slowly combing her fingers the length of my dirty, blonde hair.  It seemed like the list got longer every day.

And I would collapse into a fit of giggles as she tickled me and sprinkled wet kisses all over my neck.

My heart felt ripped into a million bits as that memory permeated my thoughts as I stared down at her pale, lifeless face, her lips always curved into a smile, now in a thin line.

She would never smile again.

I would never see her cheerful eyes toying with me, waiting for me to smile back at her.

A guttural wail escaped from the depths of my soul and I collapsed into a heap onto the floor.

I barely noticed the arms that scooped me up and guided me into my chair.

But, the warmth of the embrace enveloped me and gave me brief respite from the pain until my cries quieted to intermittent hiccups and deep sighs.

“I’m Dee,” came the still, even voice.  Wiping away my tears with her shirt, she continued, “I know that we don’t know each other, but I am here for you.”

When the funeral was over, I stood trying to muster up the courage to return to my childhood home, a place where every smell, every decorative ornament, every room would make bittersweet memories of my mother come flooding back, threatening to drown me in sorrow.

After he last shovel-full of dirt had been patted over her coffin and the last mourner left, I stood in a daze, unable to move.

“I can come home with you if you want,” came Dee’s voice, sounding like a soothing song.
Relief washed over me as she interlocked her arm into mine and walked me to my car.

On the ride home, she chatted happily about her life, her home, her own mother and it seemed that we were kindred spirits.  I’d almost forgotten my sadness.

Until my 1996 Nissan Altima screeched to a halt in front of my house.

The air felt so thick, I couldn’t breathe.

Sensing this, Dee barked, “Breathe.”

And, so I did.  A few times.

When the oxygen had returned to my body enough for my legs to work, I slowly slid my feet out of the car and willed them to move toward the door.

Once inside, Dee flew around the house, catering to me.

She stayed with me through the night.

That was the hardest night.

And while my tears flowed like the Mississippi, Dee simply ran her fingers through my hair, just like my mother used to do, whispering, “I’m right here,” over and over, until I fell asleep.

The next day, I felt better.

But, I started to become afraid of what would happen to me once Dee left.

So, I told her as much.

“Well, that’s an easy fix,” she shrugged.  “I’ll just move in.”

Was this for real?  Was it really this easy??

I was convinced that my bad days were behind me.

How wrong I was.

In the beginning, it was like the most fun, longest, best slumber party ever!  We ate all kinds of junk food, listened to music, played games, watched movies, and just talked for hours and hours.

Days turned into months and she became the best friend I have ever had.

At around the seventh month, I decided that I was ready for my life to go back to normal.  I had a job that waiting for me.  Many of my co-workers sent flowers and cards of condolence. I had friends who told me that I could call them if I needed them. It just seemed that the phone weighed a billion tons unless I was playing Candy Crush.  I even had a boyfriend who gave me my space and told me to take all the time that I needed to heal from the loss of my mother.


Basically, everything and everyone in my life was waiting for me to be okay.

And I was finally starting to feel okay.

So, I put on my black and white checkered skirt suit and heels and got ready to head out the door.

“Where are you going??” came Dee’s voice like a razor from the darkness.

“Oh!  You scared me!” I exclaimed, clutching my heart which was threatening to be its way out of my chest.  “I’m going to work today.”

I honestly thought that she would be proud.

The look of disgust that shrouded her face told me otherwise.

“And what the hell am I supposed to do while you’re at work?” Dee asked, venomously.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged nonchalantly, ready to launch into some constructive suggestions.  “You can stay here, I guess.  Or you can go home if you’d like…”

“I don’t have a home, you ungrateful bitch!  I gave up my home to be here for YOU!  And now you just want to leave??”

At first, I was trying to understand why she was speaking so harshly.  We’d NEVER had an exchange like that!

But, then I started thinking about how well she cared for me, listened to me, made her entire world about me and decided that she kind of had a point.  For all that she’d done for me, all she’d given up to be there for me, how could I just leave?

So, I slumped down into the couch next to her and settled in to watch Days of Our Lives.

Patting my hand and smiling, she said, “This will be so much better than some boring, old job.  You’ll see.”

It wasn’t better.

Every day for a week, it was the same routine.

About a week later, I called Daniel.

“I’m so glad to hear from you,” he said.  I must admit that I was relieved that he still cared for me and hadn’t moved on to someone else.

He asked to take me out to dinner at my favorite restaurant.

I feel ashamed to admit that I snuck out while Dee was sleeping.

I had a wonderful time!  I felt so ashamed that I’d left Daniel blowing in the wind for so long.  He chattered excitedly about all that was going on in his life.  He was such a gentleman.  He seemed happy just to be in my company.

I felt special.

When I came home, I was still glowing from the amazing night, the sweet taste of his lips lingering on mine.

Dee greeted me at the door with tear stained eyes.

And a knife.

“Why did you leave me?”

I was so afraid, the words seemed stuck in my throat.

“I…you were…we…” I stammered, gesturing toward the door.

She took off like a bolt toward me, letting out an animal like scream.  She thrusted the knife toward my midsection with purpose and precision.

She missed.

I ran.


I threw myself into the bathroom and, hands shaking, I managed to lock the door.

I climbed into the bathtub and crouched into a ball.

I had forgotten to lock the second door.

By the time I heard it burst open, she was already on top of me, plunging the knife in and out of me.

Her bared teeth and droplets of blood smattering across her face was the last thing that I saw before everything went black.

I woke up in a strange bed.  I couldn’t move.

“What’s happening? Where am I?”

A cheerful nurse came over and gentle touched my shoulder.

“Lie down, dear.  You have been through a lot.”

I laid back down, more from the pain and sheer exhaustion than desire.

“Where’s Dee?” I croaked.

“Dee?” asked the nurse, thoroughly confused.

“Surely you see the wounds that I have!”

“What do you remember?”

I told her the whole story.

She patiently waited for me to finish my story before saying, in an even voice, “You tried to kill yourself.  If it hadn’t been for your boyfriend going back to check on you after he called you and got no response, you would be dead.”

At that moment, the last seven months flashed before my eyes.

It was me who kept me at home, shut off from the world.

It was me that called me names, telling myself that I was worthless.

It was me that tried to kill me.

There was only one sentence playing over and over in my head: Dee was a bitch.

Depression is a bitch.

But, I survived.