Saying goodbye to my dad….

On Friday, February 26th 2016, I lost my Dad. He was 59 years old.

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It’s been over a month. I’m still dealing with the fact that I will never see him again… My dad is gone.

My father was a auto mechanic by trade, but his love was the sea. He was a dive instructor (though he hadn’t taught in many years), he loved the water. His passion was wreck diving, he was a pirate on a search for treasure. He worked hard, and played harder. My father never stopped, always on the go. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing. My dad was a very gifted photographer of both land and sea.

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Photo by Bruce Sanders

                                                               Photo by Bruce Sanders

He loved his family. He loved his friends. He was a good man.

My father and I had a strange/hard/loving relationship. See he wasn’t my biological father, he fell in love with a single mom. The first memory I have of my dad was my fifth birthday party. My mom brought this stranger to my birthday, a month later they were married and I had a daddy. Not only did I have a dad, but now all of a sudden I went from being an only child to one of three girls. I inherited two little sisters. When I was younger he would take me hunting and fishing. He taught me to scuba dive. He was the first person to put a camera in my hand (a love I never let go and still have, yet never fully fulfilled). We had a good relationship, that is until I became a teenager. I was rebelious and basically out of control. He was short tempered. As an adult, I know he was just disappointed in me – he just wanted more from me. I get that now that I’m a parent.

The last twenty years have been different. We were friends. I could talk to him about anything. Becoming a grandfather softened the man I thought was so hard. He was always smiling.

My dad was a prankster. I love hearing stories from his friends of all the rotten, yet ingenious jokes my father would pull. I looked forward to his dive season videos and his photos. There will be no more Facebook videos…. No more jokes…. No more stories. No more silly pictures of him from my mom, or pictures of my Mom from him. No more memories.

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Photo by Bruce Sanders

I think about him everyday. I still cry everyday. Songs repeat in my head. Stories. Memories.

Shortly before his death my father accomplished one of his biggest dreams, he got his Captain’s license. He was so proud. We were all proud. As I said before, other than my mother, his love was the ocean.

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Photo by Bruce Sanders

For his funeral I chose the song “Come Sail Away” by Styx. I knew he loved that song as much as I did. I knew every word to that song, though the words didn’t hit me until I fully listened during his funeral…. It’s funny how a song that use to make you smile, now brings a flood of emotions.

I am grateful he chose me to be his daughter. He never gave up on me. He pushed me when he knew I needed it. I am who I am partly due to him, and I am grateful for every memory we made. In the words of Brad Paisley….. He didn’t have to be. He didn’t have to love me. But he did. I had 36 years with the man I call my dad. I’m grateful for every one of them.

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I love you dad. Always. I will see you soon.

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Living with the truth…. Celiac…. What?

Best and worst day of my life.

It’s not just a diagnosis, it’s a “life” change.

I can’t explain how hard it is to give up foods you love. Do you realize how many things are made with glutens? It’s insane. It’s in everything!

Unless you live alone, have plenty of money to de-glutenize your entire kitchen, and the entire family goes gluten free, you are constantly contaminating yourself. You are always in pain. Your gut controls your life.

Do you understand Celiac Disease?

Celiac is not curable. You can’t just stop eating gluten and poof, you’re cured. It’s not just “a watch what you eat” diet. If you are lucky to catch it at a young age you can help prevent other long term diseases, but you will always have the disease.

I was diagnosed at a later age, almost forty. There is damage that has been done that cannot be reversed. I live with that, do my best to be positive and allow my body to do what it can.

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So… I’m going to tell you a story about a girl….
This girl had dreams, big dreams. Those dreams disappeared slowly until the day they were no more. See this girl spent so much time in medical offices getting all the wrong diagnosis, trying to get better, only to get worse. She started to feel unbalanced.

Her hands would crap, and shake real bad. (She gave up painting)
Her feet continuously cramped. (She gave up running)
Her back would hurt so bad, she couldn’t stand. (She gave up sports)
She would go months with a headache. (She gave up going out with friends)
Her skin would be covered in these bumps, almost blisters, on her legs. (She stopped wearing shorts)
Her stomach would swell, and get rock hard. (She gave up getting dressed, stayed in pajamas)
Her hair was so dry, nothing helped. (She cut all her hair off)
Her skin was so dry it would crack. (She just cried)
Her teeth started rotting. (She stopped smiling)
She spent more time in the bathroom then she did outside. (She lost her friends)

Her immune system kept failing her. She was sick all the time.

She could no longer look in the mirror. She hated herself and her body. She became extremely sad. Tired of the pain, tired of the comments from others. Tired of living.

This girl spent too much time worrying about the pain, she forgot to live, she forgot her dreams.

Then one day she reconnected with an old friend, he made her feel alive. She felt healthier, and felt control come back into her life. She was happy. She was still in pain, but happy. He came with a beautiful little girl, she loved her like her own. Then they started a family, a miracle actually considering she couldn’t have them. They had two beautiful babies. She thought… “I can do this! I can live a normal life.” Then it came crashing down. The pain, the weakness, the no drive to do anything. So afraid she wouldn’t be good enough for them, So she pushed herself. She pushed and pushed, until she broke.

Back to more doctors, more specialists……

Then one day they figured it out! She wasn’t crazy, she wasn’t over dramatic, she wasn’t alone. For once someone cared enough to do the right tests, to find the right answers.

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So that’s where her story began… Starting over. 

Well my story, that’s where my story began.

I have good days, I have bad days. I have days that are so hard to even try to explain. I still suffer. I still cry everyday. I awake with a headache every morning. I still don’t like mirrors. My teeth are in bad shape, and it makes me not want to smile, that’s hard for me to not do. I’ve been gluten free for over a year and a half, though I do feel better my stomach still burns everyday, I am still contaminated daily for I have to cook for my family. I have extremely low if not null vitamin definacies – D, B, B12, iron, magnesium, potassium among others, not only from the Celiac also in thanks to a blood disease. I am often weak, or as some may say lazy. I can’t stand for long periods of time, my feet and mid back hurt and cramp. I can’t sit for long periods, my lower back spasms and sends electric shock up my spine to my brain and my feet fall asleep. Thank you Mr. Arty for that. I paint as often as I can, but with shaky hands I have had to relearn how to paint.

I get sick more than most. I am always cold, even when I’m hot. I am always hungry no matter how much I eat. Eating hurts. I am not healthy no matter how hard I try or what I do. I am constantly in pain. I’ve spent too much time in hospitals. I am often sad, and I hide. I have few friends that I rely on and trust. I don’t leave the house often, only when it is needed. I don’t give my children as much as I wish I could.  I feel sorry for myself.

Get over it! You aren’t the only person living this way!

And so my story continues……

I have so much in my life. I have a husband who I believe honestly loves me. I have crazy, out of control, loving, adorable children that keep me going. I’m still here, I’m still breathing. I do what I can when I can. I still push myself, sometimes to hard, but I have to. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I’m learning to “re-live”, live around my multiple challenges. I’m trying. I’m grateful for what I have, and those that will stay for the journey.

So my painting skills are off…. Hell I was never a Picasso.
So my teeth may fall out…. I’m sure there is a funny play out there with a hillbilly.
So long hair may not be my thing…. It’s OK, I look good in wigs.

It’s hard for people to understand what another is going through. Even people with the same disease are different. We all suffer in one way or another. It makes us who we are.

Who am I?

You ever have one of those days….. weeks… months…

You look in the mirror, it’s your face, but it’s different.
You’ve changed.

You look around and notice little changes. Your friends distance themselves… your children stop listening… your interests are gone. Your children are growing, your partner is growing…. you not so much.

I had so many dreams, so much to give…. Now I’m just an empty shell.
I was once surrounded by people I loved, and whom I believed loved me back…. Now I feel so alone.

Who is this person staring back at me?

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I use to smile, cause I wanted to
                          Now I smile cause I have to.

I’m sad. Truly sad.
I feel like someone else has taken control of me. Control of my thoughts, my fears…. My happiness.

I use to be the person that made others laugh.
I use to be the one people would confide in.
I use to be a friend.

Now I’m the one no one really wants to be around.

I am hiding.
I can’t leave the house without fear.
I can’t drive, I can’t talk.
I cry more than I laugh.

There is no passion or creativity in my art.
I lost it. I’m not good enough.
I fear of stepping on stage.
I lost it. I’m not good enough.
I have no control over anything, including my children.
I lost it. I’m not good enough.

I’m not good enough.

I have battled depression before. I know that thinking positive can help. I know I’m good enough….. just not good enough for myself.
I have been to hell, lived in hell, and came out of hell.
I have hit rock bottom, and used it as a springboard.

So why can’t I now?

I see what is wrong, I feel what is wrong. Though I have no control. I can’t come back. The fears… the anxiety… the pain… the depression… it’s so overwhelming.
My own thoughts scare me. I scare me.

I walk in a room and I’m lost. I feel and hear people’s thoughts, they don’t want to be around me either.
Heart and soul lost.

Who am I?
How did I get me back?

I want to be someones something.

I don’t want to fear everything.
I don’t want to think everyone hates me.
I don’t want to feel anymore.

BJ Scott

Memes!

Ok I just love Memes. You know those crazy little quotes or pictures passed and shared on all these wonderful social networks, that we all love to hate!

You’ve got your religious memes, your inspirational memes, your political memes, your ignorance memes, your plain old “life is hell” memes, your holiday memes……. Ok you get the point. They’re out there, a little some thing for everyone.

My favorites are inspirational quotes from the Facebook pages of Spirit Science, Spirit to Spirit, Collective Evolution. They always have something that brings a smile to my face, a blog post to my mind, an idea for a Short Story or Screenplay…. always something. They are short quotes or sayings from names you recognize, and I always seem to see them when I need a little “nudge” in life.

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See memes are great!

BJ Scott

Frankie (A Short Story – Intro)

She was broken, and angry. Her life was spinning out of her control.

She gave the gift of passion and hope to all those around her, but as soon as she was alone everything changed. She had no passion. She had no hope. She spent her life touching others’ hearts, making them laugh out loud, or making them cry when they didn’t know they needed to. Her life had once felt magical, not so much now.

“Frankie, girl… pull it together”, she stared at her drab face in the mirror. She turns on the water and washes her face, puts on her make up, smiles at the mirror. “One more show and were out of here…. Last one, then we say goodbye.”

Frankie grabbed her bag and keys and looked at her empty house. It was hell living here. She missed the laughter, the yelling, the love that made this house their home. It was gone, all that was left was an empty shell. Same as her soul. The living room was empty except for a blown up mattress, a small table and laptop. There were no pictures on the walls, only holes where they use to hang. The bedrooms were empty. It killed Frankie’s soul to be in this house, this house of memories.

“Damn, late again, story of my life”, she grabs her cell phone and rushes out the door. “One more show.”

BJ Scott

Parenting…. Ugh

As we get older we respect our parents so much, and are grateful for them not killing us as teenagers.

HELLO lightning bolt!

I can’t say sorry enough to my parents… for frankly, just being an asshole. I see it now being a mother of a teenage girl. (YaY, I get to do it two more times!)

Parenting is hard. Trying to figure out right from wrong on the “right way” of parenting is complicated and frustrating. As mothers and fathers we know we can’t be perfect, but we try so hard to be. We try to do more than our parents did, be better than our parents were, and supply more than our parents did. Even those that had the “Perfect Parents” and say they will be happy being half the parent that their own parents, deep inside still want to be more.

As parents, we are still human. We have flaws. We have anger. We have pain. As much as we say, and try to not show our children our true selves, we can’t always hide who we are. They still see things you wish they hadn’t. You still say things you know you shouldn’t. We are human, we are not perfect.

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So true. I love this quote.

I am flawed. I speak before I think. The whole foot in mouth syndrome, yelp that’s me. Especially when it comes to my children. I wish I could take back 60% of the crap that comes out my mouth. I say something stupid… I feel ashamed… I get mad at myself… then I get mad at everyone else… it’s a vicious cycle.

My biggest fear is that I’m hurting my children, that they think they hate me. I say think cause I know they really don’t. I’m afraid I’m disappointing them, that I am not enough. I’m afraid they will wish they had a different mom. I’m afraid of them feeling that I don’t love them, wishing they knew that is furthest from the truth, that they are my whole world. I am afraid I’m failing them.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this, but it sure feels like it sometimes. I just feel alone.

Parenting is hard. Hardest job I’ve ever had. I may not be doing it right, but I’m doing the best I can.

BJ Scott

The dreaded 4 0

So in three days I’m turning forty. Yes 40! Where did the years go? I am basically half way dead?

And why is this such a hard birthday? What makes 40 so different?

I’m going to tell you what I think…..
1.  You’ve already lived half your life. It makes me think… what have I done with my life?
2.  If you’re a parent, you see how much your children have grown. When I think about that, I get sad.
3.  You look at your finances…. And you wonder where did it all go? (Some of us anyway)
4.  You look at your friends, you compare yourself.

Now I look at those four things, they are big. Right there…. those are my reasons for living…..

1.  You’ve already lived half your life. 

Yes, I have, and I made it. What have I done with my life? I lived. It’s not the life I pictured after high school, or even college. I never saw myself as a stay at home mom, hell I never saw myself as a mother. I’m not “living the dream”, but I’m happy. I have three beautiful children, a husband that loves me… What more could I ask for? I am breathing, laughing and making memories.

2.  If you’re a parent, you watch your children grow, and get sad.

Yes it makes me sad, sometimes even mad. But it’s also incredible to see what little pieces of you are inside them. That’s probably the best feeling. The older they get and the more I watch them grow, the harder it is. I’m ok with that. For the most part they are happy, healthy and compassionate people… that makes me smile. I’m not doing as bad a job as I may think.

3. Finances…..

Ugh. As a child you don’t realize how stressful money issues are. As an adult it’s a killer. We’ve been up, we’ve been down. But we always make it. We may be broke sometimes, but my kids are fed and clothed, they have a roof over their head, warm beds to sleep in and hugs whenever they need. A lot of children don’t have any of that. If I had more money, I’d help them all.

4.  You look at your friends….

Damn it, I am grateful for those friends! I have the best circle of friends a girl could ask for. They are my family. They are there for me in so many ways… I wish I could do more for them. There are things I compare. Some are more successful, some are better parents, some are prettier, more talented. But does that really matter? Nope.

°°°°So I’m turning forty°°°°

I’m still not happy with it. It’s a big deal right now. But I’ll get over it.

Photos in the night

Recently, while on vacation I took a couple night photos just to play with some settings…. they turned out rather cool…

These will be hanging on my wall…

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And here’s one right at dusk…..

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Sometimes you just get that shot that makes your heart smile.

Broken

I am broken as a person….
I’m not the strong woman I like people to think I am.
I’m tired and weak.

I am broken as a mother….
I have no patience, tolerance or heart.
I’m lost and uncontrollable.

I hate how I let the pain control me…..

There are days I just want to give up… end it all.
Yes it’s sad to think that, to think of all the people I would hurt. I am so tired of living this way, pretending…

I push, and push…. but it’s still not good enough.

I am a wife….. a wife who is in too much pain to love her husband fully.

I am a mother….. who is too tired to spend quality time with her children.

I am a friend….. who is too sad to have a good time.

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Who am I?
What happened?

How did I break so easy?

In a few weeks I will be turning 40…. ahh the dreaded 4 0.
This year has been hard, this birthday.. even harder.

As you may know, this year I went off all my meds. I thought I could handle the pain, anxiety and sadness, I was wrong. But if I go back on the medicines it shows weakness. So many were so proud of me, how can I disappoint them? I seem to be doing that a whole lot lately.

How can I put the pieces back together?
How do I become unbroken?
How do I stop the tears?

2015 Summer Musical – The Wiz

After every musical I get the same feeling… mixed emotions. I’m happy cause it’s over, I’m sad cause it’s over. Let me elaborate.

Musicals are hard. They can leave you exhausted and frustrated. You put everything on hold… life, family, work, those last two weeks of rehearsing and getting the set finished are hard. You give 100% of yourself. There are tears shed, headaches, obstacles and a overwhelming feeling of “Why do I do this to myself?”.

You want to know why? Cause you LOVE it! All the frustration and tears are worth it when you see the faces of those you entertained. You make bonds with people, new friendships, rekindle old friendships.

This year I was the Winged Monkey in our summer musical “The Wiz”. Now I’m not a singer, hardly an actor, yet every year I audition hoping I will just be part of the chorus. And being a part of the chorus is hard. Make up changes, wardrobe changes, memorizing every song… it can tucker you out, let me tell you! This year was different for me, after dress rehearsal I realized (and this was a hard decision) that I couldn’t do my other roles that weren’t the monkey. As an extra/chorus stage time means a lot, but there just wasn’t time. I chose to just be the monkey.

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There I am! I’m kinda a little obsessed with these adorable creatures, and joked for a year that this is the role I wanted… well I got it! And I hope I did the monkey justice.

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Here we all are…. such a talented group to work with.

That brings me to the sad part….

The sad truth is its over. After every show I get the same feeling, happy to get my life back in order… sad that you aren’t going to be with those you have spent so much time getting to know. You become family.

I want to share some memories with you, with some incredibly talented folks….

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These guys.
First, the cowardly lion… love him! I consider him one of my closest comrades. No matter what role he plays, my friend Gilly brings it. He’s just so darn cute isn’t he.
Next, our tin man. This is my third show working with Ben, such a talented young man, and a pleasure to be around. He always makes me smile.
Scarecrow… what can I say about Zac? WoW what a talent! No one could have brought what he did, I will forever see that sparkle in his eyes.
And then there is Renee, if you saw the show you know what I’m about to say….. that voice! She played The Wiz, and she played it well. Gorgeous inside and out.
Last but definitely not least our Dorothy, Alexis. Just the sweetest girl in the world. You would never have guessed this was her first time on stage. I loved watching her rehearse and grow.

Here are just some random pics, on stage and off….

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Glinda…. Erika has that kind of voice that gives you chills… beautiful.

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Addepearle and the munchkins…. aren’t they cute?

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Ozians…

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The Gatekeeper…. she’s a little gullible… but cute as a button!

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Here we got the Winkies, Lord High Underling and the Messenger… Evilenes minions.

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And Evilene, with her crazy monkey. Evilene is the Wicked Witch of the west…. and boy can Rachel be evil… love her!

A little backstage fun….

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When I was a poppy… here with my beautiful friends….

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These ladies…. love them!

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My little munchkin. Our first show together. So proud of her!

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During strike, after the last show with my Cynthia… worked hard…. I need sleep at this point.

I could go on and on about the entire cast, but there is a couple more people want to mention. That is our production and tech crew. They have the hardest job… putting the play together. This play was our director Jana’s dream. Jana is Oz. There is nothing better than seeing dreams come true. But it wouldn’t have happened without her crew… her stage manager Ramona, assistant Holly, lighting design Jim and his crew Rob (my adorable husband), Eben and Rob H., Shane for producing and costumes, Richard on sound, and all the techies who brought the rest together. Gilly who was not only the lion, but the set designer. And the wonderful talented Cynthia with her choreography. Can’t forget our wonderful make up crew.

It takes a village to bring a show like this together. It’s late nights, early mornings… painting, and building. And after five incredibly awesome shows you tear it all down and get ready for the next. It’s bittersweet. It’s a cycle I love to be apart of… fact is I’m proud to be apart of.

Finding Ashe County Little Theatre, was one of the best things in my life. Standing on that stage, hearing the audience, is a feeling I can’t explain… you will never know it, that is unless you have felt it yourself. I love acting, May not be the best, but it brings me so much joy. I am so grateful to call these people family…. well that’s for another blog, another time…..

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