Weary

Oh my soul. My soul is so weary from the last year. I feel tender and sore from the aches and pains this past year had been fraught with. I’m not so sad now or going through anything at this moment but the trials the last year brought has calloused my tender heart. Just like a scab that covers a wound when the scab finally falls off the skin underneath is a bit tender and sensitive. Such is the status of my heart and soul. I feel like the scales of callous are falling off little by little through the life I’m living and connections I’m making. I’m back in church where I feel the wooing of God again. I’m connecting with my feelings again and I realize I have a lot of feelings I’ve not given voice to. I’m feeling the sensitivity of my tender soul blooming again in my chest. As in my last post it’s like how the Grinch feels his heart swell in his chest and he sheds a tear. This is exactly how I feel. I feel the genuine desire to be happy and to be free to feel, laugh, love and enjoy life. I can’t help but cry and feel super sensitive. I don’t really know how to manage it except to feel and allow myself the time to experience the emotions fully. Prayer sounds like a good coping mechanism in this season. Maybe surrounding myself with people who love me? That sounds like a novel idea. Lots of hugs, maybe some laughter, comfy nights of sleep, a stiff drink from time to time… and I guess anything else that might allow me to feel good.

You know what though? I’m totally okay with feeling all this sensitivity and achy-ness. I want to feel. I want to be vulnerable and sensitive. I want to shed a tear when I feel sad, joyful, angry, whatever… I don’t want to keep that in anymore, I want to share it and let it out. I want to give myself permission to feel exactly what I feel as it comes. All this will lead my soul to rebound from the pain of the events of the last year.

Living a life you’re proud of is important. It doesn’t matter what you’ve dreamed of if you’re not making it a reality. Living a life of purpose is real and necessary. Now that I’m in the profession I’ve aspired toward, I’m finally fulfilled. I feel like I’m living a purposeful, intentional existence and earning an income that allows me to live comfortably. This gives me a sense of peace and comfort as I can rest in this domain of my life and focus on other domains that need some tending specifically my relationships with others.

I want to speak freely and speak gently. I want to edit only my words to reflect my purest intention. I want to be true to my word in all things and not have to think back on anything. I want to be brave and courageous in my relationships but not crass or brazen. I want honesty without shame or ridicule. I want genuine interaction without agenda or fear. I want to trust again. Wholly. But most of all, I want people to be the same with me.

I know in time this will be a season of my past and I will grow into new areas. In the meantime I’m gonna work on myself a bit. I’m gonna keep my eyes on tendering my heart and connecting with God and friends while I feel the joy spring eternal in my soul again.

Warmly yours,

The Repressed Peach

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Peace

I walk along on sodden ground. Unsure footing with each step as I hesitantly measure the risks of moving forward. The weight of ground tied to my feet as I lift them to make some measure of progress. In my mind with each step forward I know that I can sink, slip, fall, or gather more mud. Such is my truth of living life without stability. Stability from God himself. Stability from having a sure fire connection to the one who made me, believes in me, breathed life into my bones and rendered me purposeful from the stardust of the heavens.

My connection to God is as sure as the words on this page. However I have not been cultivating a relationship with Him as strongly as I have in the past. This came to light to me today while in church through the analogy of bearing fruit in your life as you find peace with God. I thought of my life and the relationships I’ve had with people and I feel like I’ve been rather bitter fruit lately. Full of contempt, judgement, spite, and general ugliness. Do I say a lot of it out loud? Nope. I keep it in. But that poison leeches out somewhere and I think it’s been leeching into my own soul. It’s turned into some form of loathing and ridicule which isn’t my thing. I don’t generally do that to myself so I had to find the source. Irrefutable truth be told: I’m missing my foundation in the spiritual sense and it’s all soggy ground. Hence the unsure footing, fear, shame, ridicule and loathing. I even told my love earlier this week that for the past year I’ve felt like the Grinch. And that’s the honest truth. I’ve never felt so full of bitterness and sadness or that my heart couldn’t or didn’t want to love. And if you know me, you know that isn’t who I am at all. Generally, I have hope abundant, love everlasting, I’m sweet fruit to be picked, I’m nourishment for the weary soul, I’m refuge from the storm, I’m a warm blanket when cold settles into your bones, and a strong shoulder when you’ve grown tired. But I’ve been none of those things this last year. I’ve recoiled into a place in myself that I didn’t know existed. I was depressed, sad, angry, lonely, bitter and empty. Emptiness fills more space than any of the others and it was awful.

So what’s changed right? Well, for one, the sun of my universe is back in my life. He brings me light, warmth, and love. He nourishes my soul. He fulfills me in ways I’ve never known before. He brings a smile to my face and a fire to my soul. He is sustenance. Without my sun nothing can grow. Without sun green grass doesn’t grow, flowers fail to bloom, grain rots in the field, and rain makes everything soggy and sour. With the sun, you are sure to hunger, sleep, and smile.

I can see more clearly. I can feel more fully. I can love without fear. I can be my most genuine self with all others because I am safe in the arms of my love.

Now, you might be wondering well what does this have to do with God and your spiritual self? Trust me when I say this: it has everything to do with my spiritual self. See, my sun brings light, love and warmth and he dries up all the rain so the ground I’m walking starts to harden and feel firm beneath my feet again. However, should the foundation I’m walking on be made of soil? Should it be so malleable and quick to change depending on the season I’m in? I would like to think no. It should be sure and everlasting no matter the season. It should be full of nourishment and richness that not only do my feet fall firmly beneath me in my walk through life but that my tree of life is full of rich, sweet fruit free to pick from as I encounter those in life. My current sun might die one day to become a beautiful star in my night sky only to one day be replaced by another life giving, life affirming sun, but the foundation upon which I operate should only grow deeper, richer, fuller and abundantly strong. This is my spiritual self. This is the self who is connected to God the ultimate creator. The giver of life and the ultimate counselor. This is where all other goodness within me abounds so that others may live and find gladness in their heart as they walk toward my tree of life.

I expect to work on my foundation. I expect to grow in this dimension of myself and find surety in all that I know of who I am and how I want others to experience me. I expect to find my tree of life full of fruit sweet to eat in the form of a juicy peach dripping with gentleness, a gooey mango rich with kindness, a crisp tasty apple sweet with hope, a lovely lemon full of joy, a strong coconut of faith, a hearty banana of patience, and abundant berries of peace. I will cultivate such experiences through nourishing my relationship with God and as a result I will bear the fruit of my labors and those who encounter me will find themselves full of all the good that comes from me. No longer will they taste bitterness or any hint of negativity from me.

It is my earnest hope to bring about a transformation so deep within me that I am no longer seen as myself but that I am seen as a branch of the much larger tree, the tree of God and all the promises he has in store.

Cheers to transformations! Cheers to finding hope!

The Repressed Peach

So tell me about yourself…

Well let me tell you… I don’t really have a good response to an inquiry of this nature. What do you want to know? What are you curious about? What suppositions have you made about me that I can refute for you?

The basics. Let’s start there.

I moved around quite a bit as a young child. I grew up mostly in Arizona but I have a few formative years in Tennessee as well as Wisconsin.

Abuse was rampant in my household. As the eldest child of three I was witness to many atrocities of the human condition. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse. Drug abuse. Extreme poverty. Homelessness. Endangered children. Dirty, hungry, sad children. Children with no parenting. It was an awful environment. One that I knew I needed to remove myself from. School became my refuge. Teachers were my confidants. I sought solace in my friends and their parents. Life continued this way for the majority of my upbringing.

When I turned 18 I got my first tattoo. Two weeks later I graduated high school. Two weeks after that I moved out of my mom’s house. Six months later I moved back to Wisconsin with $400 in my pocket and my Honda Civic hatchback packed to the hilt. I drove myself across the country during a time in which cell phones were not common or affordable. With nowhere to officially live and no job, I started a life of my own on my own. My aunt helped me find roommates and let me sleep on her sofa for a couple weeks until I got connected. Within a couple days I landed four different jobs in various industries. This was early January 1998 so it was cold and snowy but my Arizona blood quickly acclimated to the new environment. Soon after my arrival in Wisconsin I got the itch to get into college. I didn’t know anything about how to apply for college. I didn’t know how I could pay for it. I didn’t know where to even start. As a first generation high school graduate from an impoverished family, I hadn’t the faintest idea about what college entailed or how I was supposed to gain access to the enchanted buildings that seemed to only open for those magic wand bearing individuals with silver spoons dangling from their nectar-laden lips. I just knew education was what I needed. Somehow I managed to enroll in community college and earned a couple credits in early childhood education. I finally had health insurance through my employer and had dental coverage too so one day I went the dentist for a routine cleaning and the hygienist asked me about school. I told her about my few classes at community college. She then proceeded to tell me about her daughter who had joined the Air National Guard to get her education paid for. I hadn’t ever even heard of the Guard or the Air Force for that matter. Truly I thought it was just something from Top Gun… I had no idea it was a real branch of the military. So, within two weeks of that conversation with the hygienist I went to the Recruiter and enlisted in the US Air Force. Not the reserves, not the Guard, but active duty US Air Force. And so began the best chapter of the rest of my life. Although I separated from the military eight years ago, I feel as though it was the absolute best decision of my life. I’m still reaping the rewards of enlistment all these years later. In fact, it would’ve been 18 years ago this past July that I started my military career. Boy does time fly when life is happening like it should and good things are taking place.

To date, I’ve been in education for seven years and going into my 8th academic year. I have held many positions in education so far. Special education inclusion teacher, English teacher, special education department chairperson, assistant soccer coach, head soccer coach, class sponsor, ARD Facilitator, and now, my current position as school counselor. I’ve spent my time serving in education in various forms and while I’ve been here for some time I feel like I’m still getting to know who I am and how to function. Part of that is all of the changes I’ve had but all of them have been good for me; I’ve grown and learned so much. Regarding my current role as counselor I feel like I have finally achieved my ultimate goal. I’ve dreamed of this day for years. I can remember all the way back to fifth grade and talking with my friend about what I wanted to be when I grew up and distinctly remember saying I wanted to be a counselor. I wanted to work with kids who have faced the problems I had as a kid. I wanted to be for someone else what my teachers were for me and MORE! I toyed with the idea a couple times and thought maybe I would be a child psychologist or something but quickly went back to counseling when I realized psychologists only wrote prescriptions and research papers. Not my cup of tea. At all. I want to talk. I want to provide guidance. I want to cry alongside my students and listen with open ears and heart. I want to connect them to the agencies who can help. I want to guide them through the college or career paths they will face. I want to walk alongside them as they choose their paths for adulthood. So here I am… ready, willing, and very capable of giving everything they need and want to be successful young people.

Here are a few random things about me:

I have six tattoos. I want a couple more.

I have been skydiving.

I have gone on two humanitarian missions with the military.

I know more about the human eye than most anyone wants to know.

I have had two miscarriages and have one living teenage child.

I love the Green Bay Packers, San Antonio Spurs and the UW Badgers.

I’m a sports fan and enjoy watching nearly all sports.

I played soccer in high school and on an adult co-ed league.

I’ve played quite a few other sports too.

I’m Christian but not religious.

I believe in light, love, faith, good karma, warm nights, hot baths, cold drinks, strong hugs, the giggle of babies, and true love heal all that ails our world.

Motherhood is the best gift God ever gave me.

Garbage in=garbage out. I cannot watch videos or movies depicting humans defiling other humans in any shape or form. It isn’t entertainment to me and it poisons my heart and soul. I have to protect my soul from evils like that.

I’m not perfect (read any other post in this blog for evidence) but I aim to be a good person and do right by others.

I’m passionate about what I believe and rejoice in it often.

Few people truly know me although many think they have me pegged.

I’m constantly brewing with ideas and theories about endless facets of the human condition although I have no audience or group in which to volley those ideas.

I’ve been in love 3 times but only one man holds the keys to my heart and he’s the man of my dreams although he isn’t mine.

Married once and divorced once.

I’ve secretly (well not so much anymore I guess…) thought I was capable of being a bodybuilder.

The home I live in is the first home I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve always had to live in other people’s homes but never my own until now. And I built it.

I rarely get sick.

I love spicy food, Thai food, hearty meals, and light fare.

I like a good beer, Crown Royal and Dr Pepper, or glass of wine for special occasions or in social situations. Otherwise my favorite beverages are coffee, Dr. Pepper and unsweet iced tea.

My real dad and step dad have both died.

I don’t suffer any addictions.

I cry easily and often. When I laugh, when I’m sad, touched by a song or gesture, kindness, a good song, spiritual movements, and more.

I love to read.

I love to learn.

I’m not a great cook but can make some mean peach cobbler.

I’m a great teacher and decent writer.

I try to always remember where I came from so I never lose sight of where I’m going.

Humility and kindness go very far in any situation.

And to put my feather in my cap, my son thinks I’m pretty dope, a great mom and that I understand him better than anyone.

I don’t know if any of this will develop into anything more but I think it’s important to sometimes sit back and take stock of who you are and what you’re about. I feel like I’ve been reacting a lot lately and it was high time for introspection.

Humbly yours,

The Repressed Peach

Scars

Few people know the details of my upbringing and all that I had to watch, suffer through, and recover from. The horrors of life were ever present in my life from the time I was a small infant to my older teenage years. This included trauma and chaos at school too. Few people realize how badly I was tormented as a child in school. I had several factors stacked against me. First, I have a unique first name that rhymes with colorful, nasty words (think: “Nicky likes _____.”); I have red hair, and my maiden name was Crisp. To add to the fun, I was also miserably poor. My mom was a single mom of three kids and we had a horrible life full of drugs, neglect, abuse (every kind you can define), and homelessness. We moved from house to house, often lived with my grandparents, worked in their restaurant, and struggled to find any sense of stability. It was awful to say the least. Nobody should have to live like that. In the midst of it all, I found a love for school. I loved school and the teachers. I thrived in school at every opportunity. I loved my teachers and clung to them for safety and security. They were my beacons of hope for a different life.  A life that I deserved. A life that I could make for myself if I just tried hard enough and made good decisions toward. The sad part about this is that school was not safe for me either. I was tormented for all the things that made me unique. I was called names, teased mercilessly, rumors spread about me, and ridiculed at every turn. I remember it was in 4th grade that things started to get really ugly. I was manipulated into thinking I was doing things wrong, that I wasn’t a good friend, and that I was not worthy of friendship, love, or life. I remember walking home from the bus stop crying my eyes out every single day of 4th, 5th, and most of 6th grade. Nobody helped me. Nobody stood up for me. My mom did nothing. The school did nothing. The teachers did nothing. The bus drivers did nothing. My friends cowered behind the bullies thankful they weren’t the targets of such pain. I cried in humiliation, fear, sadness and thought that maybe I didn’t deserve to live. I never attempted to take my life, but if it weren’t for the grace of God, and His divine intervention, I could have lost all hope for better days. Some of the people I am connected to today on social media were my bullies. They’ve never apologized. We’ve never been close. But they are part of why I am who I am today. I don’t see myself as a victim of anything in life, I see myself as a survivor and I am thriving. However, I do not aim to minimize my experiences. In fact, I aim to highlight that life is hard and kids can be cruel, but with time, healing, and good guidance even the worst of the worst can be made good.

I have to remember this in the season I am in right now.

See, my son has become the target of bullying. He has been hit in the face on several occasions, his books and band instrument taken away from him and thrown on the ground, he’s been called names and ridiculed in front of his peers. All while at school, with teachers, cameras, and a wonderful thing called “David’s Law” are in place. And despite all of these things, here we are, 30 years later, and I am replaying the trauma I experienced as a young girl. My trauma does not equal his trauma, but it has prepared me to face this issue head on and with a fierceness that only a parent can muster when their child is being mistreated. The scars of my past have been opened a bit and my unspent tears are being shed in love for my son, the sweetest, most gentle, kind-hearted person the world has known. He is a smart, kind, talented, warm, friendly, inquisitive, joyful, God-loving, encouraging, funny 12 year old. He is all of this and so much more. Thankfully, he doesn’t have any “flaws” stacked against him that makes him an easy target, but here he is being tormented and assaulted at school. I can’t figure out what has caused this other child to lash out against my son. To add fuel to the already volatile situation, the perpetrator in this case is the principal’s son. Lovely.

Ironically, before the first days of 7th grade, my son’s school held what was called “Prep Days” where you get your school ID, class schedule, and find the classrooms on your schedule. While we were there, I spoke with the principal and the assistant principals about a series of inappropriate activities that occurred on the school bus that ran through my neighborhood the year before. Several students had shared that inappropriate sexual activities were taking place between kids on the bus and several fights broke out, too. Well, when I addressed these concerns all of the principals were baffled at the information as though they had never heard of anything like that. They claimed nobody had reported any of this misbehavior and had no knowledge of any parental concerns about what was happening on the bus. The principal even had a dismissive tone as I spoke with him. Red flags went up all over my brain. Not a good impression. And definitely not a good sign of things to come in the given situation.

Nobody deserves to go through this experience. Yet we know that so many kids are victims of bullying and so many suffer in silence. So many kids don’t have anyone to tell. They don’t have anyone to fight for them. They have no voice to be heard and nobody advocates for the mistreatment to stop. Thankfully there are societal changes taking shape, but the abuse happens faster than laws can be passed or lives saved. I will ensure that I use every single resource at my disposal to ensure my son’s safety and that of others. I will not stand idle by and watch my son or any other child abused like this. I know the depth at which these experiences affect you and the pain that stays with you most of your life. I know the helplessness one feels when faced with bullying and mistreatment. Know this: I will advocate for the safety of all children at this school. I will go to any length necessary to achieve the desired results. I will spare no expense in my endeavors.

I may have scars from my childhood, but I am going to use them as badges of honor in my fight. My bullies had their day, but I will have mine in the demand for this to cease for my child.

Expressly,

The Repressed Peach

Judgment.

Judgment is a very heavy word and yet it carries so many variations in meaning. Some use the word lightly and in amusing ways such as “don’t judge me and the kind of music I listen to” and others refer to it in biblical terms like “hell fire and brimstone”. Depending on the conversation, you might find both uses satisfyingly appropriate or not at all. Judgment has its place in society. It’s a testament of our values and our position on different topics and behaviors. Ultimately, it’s a reflection of our truths. Your truth is your perspective and your perspective is gained through experience. Everyone’s life is made up of experiences; some are good, others are bad, and some are down right awful. And yet, these experiences shape us into who we are. While judgment has its place and serves a purpose, there are times when judgment is ugly and comes from a place of hate. This is what I’m finding in some social circles. Not everyone can wrap their head around my life experiences and many certainly struggle with the tales of my love life. Vastly, I’ve received love and support from people near and dear to me. Strangers here have offered their two cents and given kind advice. Yet, there are others who don’t express any sympathy or offer any support for me in this. I get it… I know that some people cannot accept certain things about people. I know that others have varied life experiences that cause such disdain for certain aspects of life. Even more so, society has taken a serious stance about love affairs backed by religious teachings, idioms, and quips. With this said though, love affairs are scarcely different than any other woe life throws at you. Parenting troubles, financial ruin, marriage and divorce, homelessness, infertility, drug abuse, addiction, etc. all maintain parallels with love affairs that few people care to acknowledge. People dismiss the idea of a love affair as something someone chose or something that could’ve been avoided. Something that only sleazy human beings engage in. Immoral, baseless scums of the world are the perpetrators akin to pedophiles and rapists. However, the judgment so easily cast by those who’ve never experienced either side of the scenario lack understanding and intel. I could’ve no easier controlled who I fell in love with than the color of my hair or skin tone. I didn’t set out to fall in love with a married man. I didn’t go to work at a specific place to meet my soulmate. I didn’t get put in the same office as this man so that I could wreak havoc on his and my own life. No. I didn’t set out for this course purposefully. In fact, I planned exactly the opposite in regard to relationships. I made vows to myself that I found to be incredibly hard to maintain as I got to know this man. I realized with each passing day, that no matter what I did, I could not resist him and he couldn’t resist me either. It was something cosmic, something so much bigger than just a tasteless, lust-filled, carnal act. Yet again, it was exactly the opposite; it was a rich, life-giving, passionate, eye opening, life-changing experience. Unlike the judgment and the social constructs that ridicule and shame this type of relationship, I found myself full of love, able to love deeper than ever before, and soulfully connected to my mate.  The love I developed, and the love I still have for this man, was deeper and more intense than any other feeling I’ve had in my life. Love stories are made of this stuff. Songs are written. Shakespeare wrote of this. Beethoven crafted masterpieces with this. Michelangelo painted with this passion. Buildings were erected and wars won with the love and passion my soul carries for this man. So see, this experience shapes my reality. It shapes how I see others around me as it helps me see them  for who they are while giving me insight to the limits of human understanding. We all have our own cross to bear; some crosses may seem more familiar or we can nod in appreciation for what another has to endure, but make no mistake about it, a cross is a cross is a cross.

In closing, one of my favorites idioms:

“Those who live in glass houses ought not throw stones.”

Be mindful of the judgment you cast on others as you endure your own battles in life. We are all just trying to make every day count and no matter how hard we try, we aren’t gonna get out of it alive. It makes little sense to cause others too much trouble along the way as you just might trip on your own robes in the process.

Thoughtfully,

The Repressed Peach 

Reprieve. 

This space is my reprieve from expectations. On other social media platforms, I am not free. I am tied to the expectations of how I must behave as a professional, what I can and cannot say because of who my “friends” are and then there’s the trouble with whether they can read with the lens of me as a human being or if they will only read with intent to stab me in the back and cause me harm.

This space, however, allows me to speak freely. I rarely edit myself and I always speak whatever truth I am experiencing at the time. This is where the few people who know who I am, read and appreciate my craft while taking in all that I speak of. I don’t worry about you, my reader, if you’re 14 or from a different profession or of a different culture. I don’t worry about how you’ll misread my words or find them loathsome or glorious. I thought to share some exciting to me news on Facebook last night, yet in the same minute that I thought I would share I also realized, “oh wait, I can’t share that because so and so will see it.” Then I thought of the 18000 different problems that will arise because of the one wrong person that would read the message. Then there’s the conundrum of having young family connected to my social media. I cannot tell you how many times I have avoided taking action about an issue on social media because of my nephews. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s not real… whatever, it’s always what I felt like was the right thing to do, except I am silencing myself. I find that I am silencing myself often for the sake of others.

Well, I need my voice. I deserve a voice just as much as the next person. Just because what I say may not be to your liking doesn’t mean it isn’t valid, valuable and essential to be said. So I am working on finding my voice.  Stay tuned for experiments in speaking up!

This is my space. I welcome all my guests and readers. You are cordially invited to share this space with me, just know that you’re in for a wild ride sometimes. Hopefully, you’re inspired or sometimes moved. Maybe your perception has shifted or doors of wonder closed. But hopefully, regardless of anything else, you find unabashed truth. Maybe while you’re relishing in my truth you will experience a reprieve of your own.

Hopefully yours,
The Repressed Peach