Moments, Momentum and My Move

It’s 1:09am and, as usual, I’m wide awake. I know what the problem is too. It’s my non-stop brain. As age settles in and my body starts to shut down, my crazy brain keeps going. So, if anyone knows how to turn off your brain before you go to bed, please send me the instructions. Mine just isn’t working properly. I mean, really. How am I supposed to sleep when my list on the wall has 17 unchecked items on it?

It starts like this:

  1. Book     Charles
  2. Proposal     Sally
  3. Query
  4. Xxxxxxxxxx …….done
  5. Write syllabi
  6. Find a place
  7. Hire movers
  8. Find address’s
  9. Mail letter’s

And the list goes on and on.

Just the other day, a friend said to me, “I don’t know how you keep going and trying. You are the strongest woman I know.”
Of course, I nodded my head as to say ‘no, I’m not.’ I’ve always been bad at accepting compliments. This is mainly because, as many people are, I am my biggest critic. But, it is also because I’m not good at trusting people. People always have alternative motives for saying nice things; that’s what I tell myself.

As I think about whether or not I’m strong and how I keep going, I’m suddenly reminded of an old Cheshire Patch blog. It was about some moments in my life that help sustain me through the bad times. And, right now, with a move upon me and the ongoing recovery, I could use some warm thoughts.

I said I would share for a while, so here you are. This is me sharing and reminiscing. And, as I click to copy and paste, the tears begin to flow.

Moments That Keep Me

Posted on August 20, 2011 at 9:57 am

Okeora

Love Ya!!!

Okeaora at her best!

I wonder who she was on the phone with. Maybe it was
me calling to say that I was going to be late. Sometimes as I sit at my desk,
daydreaming instead of working, this is what I’m thinking about. It’s the one
picture of my mother that always catches my eye – her standing in our kitchen
on Pace Drive and listening intently, so not to miss anything.

Months after my mom died, I put together a collage
of her pictures, her old business card, her obituary, poems given to and
written for her and an envelope of the last time she attempted to send me a
note. This was a gesture meant for both me and my mother. I tell myself that
she can see me looking at her face as I smile and feel her smiling back. I
found this to be cathartic. I found this to be hard.

I used an old board that I had. I taped some
mementoes that I’d enjoy seeing regularly. Then I took it down to the frame
store to have it bordered with our favorite color, ‘green.’ And each day, I get
to see my mom smiling. And though I have pictures of her, I think back to
moments and wish I had more snapshots. Like, I think it would be cool to have a
picture of my mom and her old green Granada. Oh well, I enjoy the keepsakes
that I have.

This past Easter, I sat home alone and watched an
old VCR tape of my mom. She was doing one of her elementary school workshops;
she read folk tales and sang songs to children. She taught them about her African garb. My
mother was so happy with her huge smiles and bright colored clothes.

I remember when I was young and I couldn’t get
enough of her. Then I grew to be a teenager and, though I still loved her, I
had less time for those mother/daughter chats. Then when I was 26 years old, I
lost my mom. My mom died of cancer. Now all I wish for is to be held again.

The saying ‘you never know what you have until it’s
gone’ is real. Mothers are the one love affair that you hope will last forever
– you expect to last forever.

I often daydream about times when I was a young
girl. My mom and I enjoyed watching television together. I can still hear her
calling sometimes, “Me-lis-sa, Me-lis-sa, The Incredible Hulk is on. Do you
want to watch with me?” I’d come running down the stairs and she would always
have the healthy snacks and drinks ready on the coffee table. No need for a
throw cover. I had mom. Good times. Good times.

My mother made me who I am today and gave me so many
warm memories. And though I still dialed her number for months and still cried
for years (and still do), life without her has become easier as time goes by.

People often ask me if the hurt of losing my mother
ever gets better. At times, I have said ‘it never gets better.’ What I wished I
had said is, ‘you will always feel the loss.’ When you lose a loved one, you
feel as if part of your heart has been transplanted elsewhere – as if your
purpose in life is no more; as if your heart has stopped; as if you died; as if
your soul is burnt; as if you could no longer see the world. This barely scratches the surface of what I
felt when my mother died.

Mother’s Day will never be the same. But even with
this emptiness, life can still regain its usefulness. I have my on and off
days, but overall my passion and yearning for life are still there. My mom gave
me that.

Some days, I’m so mad at her for leaving me alone to
figure out this complicated world. And other days, I just remember her love,
her warmth and her smile.

She was beautiful. She was smart. She was eccentric.
She was funny. She was private in ways. She was an extrovert. She was my mom.
And she loved me. She wanted me to be happy. She wanted me to learn and love. That’s
what keeps me going.

And with those thoughts in mind, I keep going; I keep moving on.

P.S. I get my sling off soon, and boy am I excited. Party time.

Mending and Ruminating

I’ve had my surgery. Ouch! Is the pain really supposed to be this bad? I thought they fixed it. Don’t mind me. Whenever I have surgery, I want the instant relief. Nothing in life works that way, but a girl can dream. It’s been over four weeks, and I know I have a long way to go. It’s just really hard not having the use of both arms.

This seems like a good time to share some things with you. I’m somewhat of an inspirational blogger on Cheshire.patch.com.  So, for the next few posts, I’ll share my favorites from The Patch.

Feel free to tell me what you think. And if you dare, share a related story.

I share this favorite first because I need to be reminded of how far I have come since that day in Marshalls. These thoughts still apply and the remembrance will help me survive my recovery process – which I loathe. Recovery is not fun.

In Reaching Distance

Posted on September 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm

 

During a few conversations with acquaintances and an editor, I was told, “why not consider being a motivational speaker or a life coach.”

I immediately thought, “Me?” What could I possibly offer someone, in terms of advice that is? Then I began to listen to myself as I spoke to friends and family. That’s when it hit me. I am a hopeful, inspirational voice in my circle.

So, now (in this blog) I venture out to share this voice with all that will listen – or read.

I’m a single mother of an estranged 20-year-old son, a displaced worker and a somewhat educated unmarried freelance writer. And yet, I am vehemently optimistic about my future. I have my bad days, like we all do. But most days, my goal is not to let the negative things in my life burden me to the point of insanity.

It’s all in the approach – the outlook. Regardless of where I am in my life, I do have a goal – a well laid out plan of attack. And each day, I awake with enthusiasm. Okay, maybe enthusiasm is too strong of a word. How about a determination?

I am determined to matter. I am determined to be happy and make my stand. How I do that is all in the attentiveness of my actions. Something as simple as coming up with a plan and executing it, whether or not I ultimately reach my goal, can be a useful tool in combating bleak outlooks.

Looking back to a conversation with one of my acquaintances, my advice was pretty sound and clear. For putting it on paper’s sake, let’s call her Lisa.

Trying to find that perfect interview top or just something for every day, Lisa and I comb through Marshall’s clearance section, all the while hoping that nothing fits because we can’t afford it anyway. As we both reach the middle of the aisle, she starts telling me of all her unrewarded job efforts.

Being over 50, unemployed and seeing the constant news of layoffs, Lisa was feeling hopeless. “This is the first time in my life that I wasn’t able to find a job right away. I always wanted to be an artist growing up. My dad said I had to do something practical – like accounting. So, I listened to him. Now look where I am.”

As I looked at her in all her despair, I smiled and said, “life will get better for you.” As she looked back at me, probably thinking “is she crazy”, I continued to tell her, “You can only do what you can – no more. So find some balance in your life. Get up every day, spend some of your day looking for a job (internet, library, newspapers, phone calls, etc.) and then spend part of your day only doing things you enjoy. Let these things include: books by favorite authors, going back to school, volunteering, favorite TV shows, relaxing, fun exercises, time alone, time with friends, etc. Our economy seems hopeless, but that you can’t fix. A lot of people are in the same position. Look at this time in your life as a time of rediscovery. You can be whoever you want to be.”

I look at it this way: we all have dreams of what we would love to be doing in life. And, unless that includes being superman or wonder woman, I’m pretty sure they are obtainable. So, stay true to yourself and the dreams you once had and go for it. Maybe even put up a few post-it notes around the house: I have many talents, we are all good at something, I’m gonna take a chance on me, my life is still unfolding, I still have time, I can succeed, etc.

It’s all about vision. As someone once said, “Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.”

So, no more “same old routine.” It’s time to make a list. What are you good at? What do you want to do in life? What can you work on right now?

Then every day, from now until infinity, let’s start checking things off that list.

http://cheshire.patch.com/users/melissa-flynn-3

 

 

 

Light a Fire, Change a Life…

As the fourth of July approaches to fill our skies with fireworks, I’m reminded of how May rang out with its brilliance and June strolled in the same way. I was inspired over and over again.

I gave one of my inspirational ‘How I Got My Move On’ presentations for a group of women in Hartford on June 7th. The talk was very well received, and the level of client participation just knocked me out. By that, I mean to say that my heart is filled with hope. And though a move is upon me, my load feels light.

Here’s a brief clip. This is evidence that this time instead of Bill Cosby, I was the one on fire. Feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have.

http://youtu.be/sMMEWY5pXy0

Side note: I think the shirt makes me look pregnant, but I’m not.

So, as I look back on this experience and look forward to more after my shoulder has healed from surgery, I’m reminded of something I said recently. I posed the question as to whether or not my mother was looking down on me from the heavens and saying ‘that’s my girl.’ Well, right now, reflecting on what I have started in my life, I know she is. She was one who helped others and helped me. Without the love and support of such a great woman, I wouldn’t be able to help others. And now that helping others is my goal, I am sure my mother can see herself in my success. Thank you, mom. I miss you.

As I think back to June 7th, I remember how fulfilling it felt to know that I touched someone’s heart – to know that the dialogue has begun.

“I really appreciate her honesty and openess while sharing her story. I learned some great stuff. It was very informative,” said one of the participants.

So, if you have a group that needs inspiring, think of me.  I have been through many of my own trials and desperate times. They have made me someone who can relate to people at all stages of life’s journey. They have also made me proof of my own main premise; it’s never too late to get your life on track. I come loaded with treats, handouts, giveaways and a fun, free raffle with nice prizes. I create an interactive, fun atmosphere where people can be themselves.

Maya Angelou said, ‘As long as I am here, I will be of use.’ And I will also. I believe one of the reasons I was put on this earth is so that I could be here right now. It’s so that I could reach out and grab your hand and tell you that there are people out here that care. We can hold on to each other and pull until we are all standing straight.

 This is an excerpt from the talk. I designed and implemented it as an inspirational tool to help people (of all ages, sexes and races) with a variety of obstacles think about those roadblocks in a new way, thereby opening a dialogue about more realistic ways to overcome them. My talk is titled: How I Got My Move On: Coping Mechanisms and Goals. It’s about patterns/addictions and moving on.

That’s what I’m all about these days – ‘moving on.’