Forever After

Before Hector and I got married I had started writing letters to him in a journal. It was something a girlfriend of mine had recommended to me in order to capture my feelings towards him leading up to our wedding and also my more private thoughts in regards to *ahem* our wedding night (wink-wink). img_6566

Ten years later and we are still writing in it. There are some years here and there with few to no entries. The years where life sort of piled up and the days, while endless, blew away without much acknowledgement except that we survived. We made a good effort to sit down annually and write down goals for ourselves, for our marriage, and for our kids. We put them in the journal to then reflect on the following year and see which ones we made good on and which ones we didn’t.

Included are also letters of apology and passion, letters of friendship and forgiveness, and letters that encompass what it means to not give up on love. To not give up on each other.

Eliana, my eldest, asked me quite earnestly the other day if her papa and I were ever going to move away from one another. At first I didn’t quite understand her. But as she continued I realized she was asking me if we’d ever have separate houses because of divorce and while she has no clue what divorce is she’s understanding that the majority of her friends live with split households. And she’s wondering when it’s going to happen to her.

I got fairly quiet and pondered for a few moments how I wanted to respond. How I wanted to present our marriage and our commitment and the future in front of us. But also not placate her worried heart with fairytale romantic notions of endless joy and happiness because life is perfect if you only just believe!

But here’s the catch… No one gets married assuming they’ll get divorced. Because why commit to begin with knowing it’ll only end.

So I kept it simple and told her that papa and I are committed to not giving up on each other. That part of the decision in choosing who to marry isn’t just finding someone you love because loving is easy. It’s finding someone who you are willing to forgive. Someone who at their ugliest, even at your own expense or more so especially at your own expense, you can see through to their goodness. Their whole parts not just the broken bits.

Because when you love deep and true and monogamously there is no threshold for pain. Everything hurts when trust is broken.
Everything hurts when you are taken for granted.
Everything hurts when someone stops caring.
Because everything is given to the other. So even the smallest transgressions cause pain and doubt and fear and anger.

You love with your entirety. Heart. Soul. Mind. and Body.

That is marriage.

To give even when nothing is received and to trust even when we fear. We must wake up and look at the day and curse those around us who mean to come between us. Curse the things, the people, and the situations that mean to take what is not theirs. What does not belong nor will or should ever belong to them.

I know that every successful and longstanding marriage has shadows. Darkness settled in amongst the light. Sometimes the darkness is a living, breathing thing that must be battled daily. Other times it’s dormant–tucked away into the corners of buried emotions from our past. Sitting and waiting for an opportunity to be awakened, a slumbering dragon whose only desire is to breathe fire, burn, and destroy.

As we repeatedly choke on the ash.

But that is life. A consistent cycle of light and dark. Good and bad. Joy and pain. For even day turns to night over and over again. It never ends.

I had this whimsical idea of taking Christmas photos in my wedding dress with Hector in a suit and the girls all in fancy dresses. A way to commemorate our tenth anniversary and for us to reflect back on the years we’ve traveled. And all the little people we’ve made along the way. My expectations were to have my hair and makeup done. The girls cute and frilly and the backdrop an open field with the sun going down.

What I got was five minutes of my mother’s gracious time clicking away on my iPhone in front of our garage, where chalk drawings covered most of the floor, my hair three days unwashed and pulled back in a messy bun, Harley (our dog) refusing to not be included, and Eliana embracing her hatred towards all things photo related.

No sunset. No makeup. No gorgeous open field.

But guess what they turned out pretty darn great. They weren’t what I imagined. Not even close, but they are better than nothing. Better than just good enough. And in another twenty years when we celebrate thirty years we can look back and smile and be grateful we have the memory. And thankful that I did in fact still fit in my dress.

One of my favorite closing lines of a movie is from Ever After…

And, while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.

I am not hoping for a happily ever after in my marriage. But I am working towards a forever after. We started with a day, that we built into a year, that piled into a decade and we are just going to keep on repeating.

Love with your entirety. Heart. Soul. Mind. and Body. That is marriage.

Advertisements

Too Much

I woke up yesterday and felt like I was drowning.

It was a slow descent of sorts.

The water had been pouring down my head for awhile. Sometimes it was just a trickle and then other times a downpour. But the water had begun to collect around my ankles until one day it reached my knees then rose above my waist and was now sitting right below my chin. It could be days or mere seconds before it overtook me. It all depended on the weather.

And I could feel exactly how close I was to choking.

When my husband got home from work he could sense it too. I felt physically and emotionally done. I wasn’t angry or irrational with the children if anything I was extremely calm and understanding, but I felt distant. Like my spirit was gone and my body was just going through the motions. Do homework. Make dinner. Clean dishes. Bath bodies. Done. Done. And done. But my tank was empty and I felt immobile.

I think I spent the first 9-10 months of Lu’s first year just waking up and getting through the day. It was a survivalists approach. Don’t think too hard about all the things you can’t do or aren’t doing just do what’s right in front of you. And it worked. We survived! But it was hard. And hard can be good. It stretches us and teaches us and molds us into more capable human beings. But hard can also be very very exhausting.

It wasn’t until I stopped nursing that I realized the contrast in who I was and how I felt. How tired, how drained, and how absent I had been from the normal me.

And it’s not like our home was all doom and gloom and depressing. Or that my children felt neglected or ignored. Or that I was rocking in a dark corner every night unable to function. Most days looked good and most weekends were filled with joy and love and fun. But that’s part of who I am. That’s how I handle hard things. That’s how I carry on. That’s how I get through it. Because if I stop and think about it too long I start to feel the weight of it all and doubt begins to grow.

You can’t do this Melissa. You’re failing Melissa. You’re not giving enough Melissa.

And I don’t believe in these voices even when they hang around for a few days, tapping me on the shoulder, trying to point out all the bad things.

The last two months of not nursing have reminded me of who I am when I’m at full capacity. But I think this is why I started to drown. Instead of accepting that the me I was during Lu’s first year was me operating at full capacity for the demands presented to me I told myself that was me just surviving. Instead of seeing everything I was doing and rejoicing in accepting the day given to me, no matter how simple it looked, I told myself things like it’s going to get better. This is only temporary. It’s just a season.

And those are all true, but it doesn’t really help. Everything is temporary and seasons are continuous. Easy seasons don’t stay forever and hard seasons will always return. It’s called Life. But I feel like I cheated Lu out of a better me because I was so focused on what was next. Because her first year was hard. Because Eliana started a full day of T-K and daily pickup was sometimes impossible. Because illness ran amuck in our house for months. Endless months. Because my sister moved away. Because potty training. Because my husband was gone for weeks. Because my Dad got sick.

Because. Because. Because.

I have a problem with letting myself grieve. When I see others grieve I grieve with them. When I see myself grieve I feel weak. My life is so wonderful you guys. It’s magnificent and beautiful and perfect in our own way and so full. Full of everything I’ve ever imagined and more. My own little fairytale with a pair of converse instead of glass slippers. I love it.

And so I hate complaining because I hate complainers. But grieving is so very different than complaining. I need to let myself feel this more. I need to let my emotions play their course. I need to let it go. I need to be free of the burden that grief is weak.

I am a naturally joyful, highly optimistic, overly positive person. I don’t need to work at doing those things. They just happen. But I need to work at being sad. I need to let myself sit down and cry more often over all the things that weigh me down that I can’t change that won’t ever change and that burden the small part of my heart that I allow to carry the dark and heavy stuff. Because when I do it, when I allow myself to let it wash over me instead of puddle up at my feet until it sloshes against my chin threatening to drown me I don’t feel weak. I feel human. I feel closer to my life. Closer to others. Closer to God.

So I’m sitting down and figuring out what’s important. To me and to my household. I’m throwing all of these dumb misplaced expectations into the trash and starting over. I feel like the world has told me that as a Stay At Home Mom I should have the time and energy to cook a huge meal every night. And I listened. First, because I love cooking. Second, because everyone else said it was important.

I’d like to confess that I’m no longer cooking anything complicated on a school night. I’m saving that for weekends. Why? Because it seriously sucks up two hours of my time. The process of prepping, cooking, serving, then cleaning, and putting away. I hate it. In the writing world we call this “Killing your darlings”. It means that me must get rid of our most precious and self indulgent passages for the greater good of our literary work.

So I’m getting rid of cooking for the greater good of my children. Because I’m realizing that the time my husband and I get with them together, as a whole family, is now so precious with Eliana in school. Our influence has been dwindled down to a single hour before bed. That’s how she’ll absorb and view family 5 nights a week. And I don’t want to spend it cleaning vegetables and roasting chicken.

I want to spend it on the couch, in a big giant pile of books and games and music and love. I want to spend it asking questions and then listening to their answers. I want to spend it investing in them. Pouring into them. And loving them.

This hour has become so precious in our house. How we end the day. Not stressed, or rushing around trying to finish up homework or clean up a million little messes so we can throw them in their beds and close the door to only let out a sigh of relief and exhaustion. And then go focus on the laundry.

I hate it. It’s TOO MUCH you guys. TOO DAMN MUCH. I want more for them and for me and for our hearts. I’d venture to say that 99% of the stuff you’re stressing over as being important counts for nothing if you don’t have time to just be together and love on each other.

So I’m yanking my hand back. I’m putting it on my heart and I’m saying, “NO, THIS IS WHAT’S IMPORTANT.”

To feel. To live. And to accept each day as it’s given to me regardless of what it looks like. To love my children more and cook less. To grieve. To worry less about them eating vegetables and focus more on how they feel about themselves. To make messes. To read more books and watch less tv. To dance.

To have it all. With each day. Even when the seasons are hard.

Moments

My grandmother has buried two children. The first, my Uncle Ricky, when he was just a baby passed away from SIDS. No rhyme or reason. The second, my Aunt Tammy, passed away on Mother’s Day which was also her fiftieth birthday from an autoimmune disease. I’ve never asked my Grandma which was more painful. I’d venture to say there was an equal form of hell present in each situation. And where having children causes your heart to multiply in size, the loss of a child causes permanent removal. A hole in your heart–bloody, gaping, seeping, never healing.

Of course, this is all speculation being that I haven’t ever lost a child of my own. And I don’t plan on it. That’s the sick concept of losing a child. Death is certain. For all of us. No matter how much money you have or how healthy you live we will all die. There’s no argument. But, logically, death comes with an order of expectations. Children should and are expected to outlive their parents. Unfortunately, we live in a world of infinite possibilities–not for just riches and fame and decadence, but for pain, anger, and brokeness. This is reality.

For everyone.

I hosted a baby shower a few months ago for a close girlfriend of mine and during an intimate portion of the festivities we all shared little bits of advice and or encouragement for her. When it got to me I felt compelled to be honest. Honesty veiled with a bit of morbid truth. And this is what I said:

There will be moments where you will regret your decision to have children. Moments where you will question your sanity in the chaos. Moments where you will say, “WHY THE %^&(! DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF?” But the beauty of motherhood is that these are moments. Some moments may last a few seconds, others a few days, and if you’re unfortunate enough to experience postpartum depression, then potentially months of moments. But, like all moments, they fade and as your children grow your love for them does as well. And when you are in the heat of these moments, when you find yourself awake every hour with a puking child, or in a bathroom of steam trying to heal croup or up at 3am with a teething, crying, fussy, inconsolable mess–I want you to stop. I want you to stop stressing, stop the anger, stop the fear, and the frustration of not sleeping and remember this:

Your child is alive. Breathing. Beating. Screaming. Alive. And even though it’s hard, even though it’s exhausting, even though you want to throw in the towel and quit–they will live to see another day and so will you.

There are no guarantees in life. No matter your status or position we have no guarantee that we will get another moment. Another hug. Kiss. Smile. Or its opposite. Another chance to calm a screaming child. Soothe a teething baby. Reason with an emotional teenager.

It’s all a gamble.

And yet we allow ourselves to be burdened, torn down, and emotionally overwhelmed with the moments. The moments that are out of our control and can only be resolved with the quiet allowance and assurance that time will pass. That you will get from one moment to the next and hope that so many of the moments will be filled with love, peace, joy, grace, and freedom. Freedom from the overwhelming sense of all these burdens that encompass life in general.

But I want you to think about the parents who have had the insurmountable task of burying a child. Think about that hole in their heart. The bloody, gaping, seeping, never healing wound that they will now have to accept and ask yourself which you would prefer: The moments or the hole?

Find joy, my friends. Even when it seems lost, continue searching. And to everyone who has lost a child, my heart goes out to you. You will carry a burden far greater than I could ever imagine. A burden only God Himself could understand.

Daisies and Razor Blades

blood-lips-love-razor-blade-favim-com-303007

There are two types of kisses: daisies and razor blades.

When I was young I looked for the daises. Soft and gentle. Safe.
When I got married I found the razor blades.

I’ve never known pleasure without knowing pain.
I’ve never known love with conditions requiring perfection.
A good kiss leaves you feeling pleasant.
The right kiss slices your heart. It mares you infinitely.

You bleed until you die.

I’ve never known pleasure without knowing pain.
I’ve never known love with conditions requiring perfection.

If you’re not bleeding you’ve never known love.
Are you kissing flowers?
Or feeling the pain?

Photo Credit: Cheechchingchong.wordpress.com

Paperback Giveaway and More!

imagesWant to win a signed paperback of Seeds of Hate? Enter the Goodreads contest below or join in on my Blog Tour hosted by The Book Avenue! All throughout the week of my release (July 15th – July 21st) there will be random giveaways featuring signed paperbacks and amazon gift cards.

 

 

.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seeds of Hate by Melissa Perea

Seeds of Hate

by Melissa Perea

Giveaway ends August 30, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Weird Internet Stalkers

I almost always get sidetracked by Facebook or my child or cleaning or a phone call or texting or reading when I sit down and try to write. Even if I save my writing until 8:00pm after the kiddo is in bed and most of my friends, family and *weird internet stalkers have more important things to do (weird internet stalkers the only exception) distractions are always present. It’s gotten to the point where I have literally disabled my internet.

Unfortunately, doing that only frustrated me when I needed those “breaks”. The problem is my 10 minute breaks always turn into a week long vacation on the island of Facebook. Grrr. Somehow, I still manage to find a way to put down some words. I do really need to learn better self-control though. I’m working on it.

Here’s a bit that I fell in love with tonight during my re-read. 

“Stepping out of the car, I felt like the air had turned into thick molasses. The simplest movements required so much physical exertion. Closing the door, I placed both hands on the top of the car and tried to get my breathing under control. What had changed since the last time we were together? I stared into the driver side window and narrowed my eyes in confusion. Is this what love feels like? There was so much painful doubt and anticipation. Before, everything seemed so natural between us. Now, I felt like there was this unseen force-field flowing around me- it was simultaneously telling me to run into the house and kiss the hell out of her and get in my car and run away.” – Javier

I hope it made you squirm 🙂

xoxo

*weird internet stalkers: you know who you are and I still love you. Why? Because I party with you all day and most nights. We are kindred spirits. Keep up the good work.

Conclusion

I came to the conclusion the other day that I need to stop caring what people will think about what I write. And no, I’m not talking about getting bad reviews or people complaining about how I write. I’m talking about content and my word choices.

My world is comprised of a very diverse group of people. Conservatives, liberals, democrats, republicans, straight, gay, christian, atheist, muslim, catholic, black, white, mexican, egyptian, korean, short people, tall people, fat people, skinny people, singles, married couples, people who enjoy alcohol A LOT, people who enjoy it a little and people who hate it. With that being said there is no way on God’s green earth that I am going to please everyone. It just isn’t possible. Plus, my point isn’t to please you with my writing. It’s hopefully to teach you something and share a piece of my heart with you. If you can’t read it for what it is then don’t read it.

My mother and I had an interesting conversation the other day about whether or not she would read my book. She said she probably wouldn’t. And that’s fine. I think my story would probably scare her to pieces, being that she is the most precious, innocent little bug on the planet and I would hate to have her be squashed by my words. The funny thing is I’m a lot like her, but somehow I’ve managed to stumble upon this story and these characters that are the exact opposite. I guess since I know I’m writing “characters” that are separate from me that I can see the difference. I realize not many people can do this.

More often then not, people assume that the writer is the writing and not just the writer. Don’t get me wrong there are pieces of me all over the book. Either in the characters personalities, their likes/dislikes or maybe how they respond to certain things. But let me make it very clear that my characters are not me. Writers are creative people and thus have the ability to make-up a plethora of crazy shiz. Seriously. So hopefully when you read Nate dropping f*bombs and his mother and father participating in a myriad of evil you won’t think WOW this girl is one sadistic little wench.

Because guess what – I AM NOT.

If anything I hope this showcases my talent as a writer- to have the ability to write things in which I have little to no experience with. Because dark and emotionally heart-wrenching situations are pretty much the exact opposite of my life.

At the end of the day my goal is two fold:
1. That my writing causes you to think. Whether it changes your perspective on things or how you approach people or anything really, I want to get your wheels turning.
2. That you are able to taste every page. I want the words to melt in your mouth like a Thanksgiving Day feast.

Even if you hate it at the end, but you can say yes to those 2 things, then personally, I will have succeeded. There’s not much else to it for me.



How to Hate

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

When I first started out writing, I thought I was going to write about this one specific thing and then that turned into 5 different things which have all now been trimmed back down to one specific thing. Hate. I know, I know, its nothing new or ingenious or particularly mouth watering, but it is what it is. 

I stumbled upon the quote above after a friend of mine posted it on Facebook. It really hit me and helped me formulate a distinct focus for my book and where I was going to take it all. Now, I just hope to put it out all down on paper the way its floating around up in my mind.

The only wall I am hitting is that my book is all sorts of ugly. Which doesn’t bother me, but honestly I’m afraid of what all of my friends and family will think when reading it. Our sweet, little Melissa wrote THIS?!?! But, in order for me to show you how hate can be taught, I have to show you where it comes from and the source isn’t pretty. I mean I could show you simplistic versions of hate, but then where’s the passion and emotion in all of that.

My point to all of this is that I really believe if someone can be taught to hate then they can also be taught to love. So my desire is to show you the worst forms of hate and then the ugly process it takes to love in spite of it all. 

For me, Love will never fail and I hope my books portray that.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.