LIFE JUST IS…

By Melissa Flynn

Life can be very messy. Life can be very hard. Life can be full of ups and downs. Regardless of all that, life is what you make of it. I have always told my son, “If you want something to happen, make it happen. Don’t sit around waiting for anything. Be proactive.”

I’ve recently been faced with some new trials. Don’t get me wrong; most of them I actually pushed on myself. I’m trying to make some things happen. That’s what I do. I’m not sure I know how to wait for someone else to do it. It’s just not what my mother taught me.

This economy, this election, this new world we live in are all reasons for me to keep trying. I have many questions, but I realize that it will take time to find all the solutions.

As I wait, I’m determined to do my part to help our society—to do my part to help our fellow man. Sounds a bit rehearsed, huh? I am serious though. I’m all about making lists, having goals and reaching for… Well, that last thing isn’t important. Regardless of our goals on paper, most of us have our mental list also. It can be a secret; no one has to know. Just be reaching for something.

I’m sounding off and thinking of my words from yesterday. And this time, I’m reminded of not one, but two blogs from the Cheshire Patch. So, for the last time this year, I’m sharing again. The two together may seem longer than my usual, but it’s really not that long. Be patient and read on. You might just agree with what I have to say. And feel free to comment, if I have provoked any feelings.

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

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The Answer Lies in the Question

Posted on May 8, 2012 at 9:00 am

The cure for what ails us all is what? I don’t know about you, but every day I search for the answers to the world’s questions. Why are we all here? What is my purpose? What religion is the real one? Who decides who is right and who is wrong? Can we see what goes on once we are dead? Can people really talk to the dead? How can I get to talk to the dead?

I know you are all thinking that if she figured them out she wouldn’t really be sharing them on Cheshire Patch. Maybe that is right. And I definitely do not have the answers. I, like many others, have no clue what is going on. We are all in the dark together. No man has these answers.

I will tell you what I have figured out though.

Life is what we make it!

Sounds so cliché, huh? Oh well. It is the truth. So, if you are unhappy and don’t like your life’s direction, then do something to change it. Get up, get out and make something happen.

A few weeks ago, my 21 year old son was telling me that he can’t find a job. Okay. Is it that he can’t find any job? Or is it that he can’t find the job that he really wants.

Recently, I came across a quote about writing that rings true for many things in life.

“If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison

“If there is a job that you really want that you can’t find, then create it.” Melissa Flynn

And as you fumble along in the dark trying to figure out how, share your story. That’s how we make the world a better place, by sharing what we figure out.

 

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Reflections of Hope and Faith

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 9:50 am

H/F

Recently, I had an incident that shook my faith in people. Losing confidence in people and our society is not a complete rarity for me. And in the past couple of weeks, I realized that I should not allow this. I’m not going to share the specific experience with you all, but I will say that people can be cruel. Having said that, I believe we all possess a power within, and we must not allow anyone to steal it. You decide how you see the world – how you approach its trials and tribulations. And with this particular incident, my vision was blurred – not by choice, of course, but hurt can do that to you.

Honestly, for a while I was numb. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. And believe it or not, I didn’t have anything to say. I was mad. I was sad. I wanted to
scream. I told a friend that I wanted to scream, but if I did, no one would hear me. She told me that seeing how close we live, “I might hear you from my house.”

She probably wouldn’t hear me, but it was a sweet thought. Just when my cynicism seemed tenable, someone reminded me that people aren’t all bad. Times are hard. And we are at a time where people are looking for answers. We all need a reason to have hope. I believe that knowledge yields hope. So, let’s continue to educate ourselves, and we will all grow together. Our nation is a melting pot, and
ignorance should no longer be allowed as an excuse. Instead of putting someone down, maybe have a conversation and see where they are coming from; you might just learn something.

We can’t grow if some of us are too busy enjoying life while others are fighting to survive. All people matter. No one human gets to define another. We all have stuff, but that stuff doesn’t define who we are and what we can do. So, wake up people and get off your tush, lend a neighbor a hand, don’t take what isn’t yours and realize that we will get further if we work together.

I know I sound a bit tough. That’s me – ‘tough love Melissa’. It’s something I picked up from my mom. “You fall; you get up and keep trying. You don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.” That was her thing. “I don’t ever wanna hear you say you can’t.” Her premature death convinced me further that life is short; take hold of it and make it your own.

We all have dreams and not all of us get to live our dream. Don’t let life pass you by. Get on the bus and go wherever you desire.

I, myself, figured out the key to my low moments. My cure is time. I just have to remember that I do have aspirations; I’m either inspired to do something or I’m not. I am. So, I do.

No matter how much I’m pushed, I am going to push back hard and keep teaching me. There will always be ups and downs in life. Don’t let life get you down.

And I leave you with the words of the late, great John F. Kennedy. “Let us think of
education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”

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Let us think of my words as a means to the end. Read. Share. And then let’s get started. Remember, Melissa and moving on are synonymous.

Melissa

 

Smiling As I Usually Am

Autumn Rushes in—Moves on

 

Another month glides by as I continue to lick my wounds. Some days I long to get out and scream. I fear no one will hear me, so I rest when I need to and keep going while I can. In the past week, I have been resting, writing and consuming lots of continual fluids—a cold or maybe a flu-like bug has struck my system.

There has been a chill in the air and a bug at my back door. I love the fresh air; I really do. But these rain and wind storms scare me. Where can you run that the lightning won’t follow? Will these storms bring darkness as it did last year? To that I say, please don’t. In my house, it was a day in August and five days with the October storm. Let’s hope Mother Nature spares us this fall.

So, as my head slowly unclutters and the skies continue to grey, I’m reminded of my blog Wuthering Storms—mostly because I’m lying here wrapped in my quilt.

For this time and once more to come, I will share an old post from The Cheshire Patch. After that, I will continue to move on and see where that leads.

Please feel free to let me know when there is something you would like to know more about.

So, here is what I have to share.

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Wuthering Storms

Posted on August 29, 2011 at 2:50 am

Malissia and Melissa

Five days in advance, I scampered around to find my batteries, flashlights, lighters, candles, extra cell phone, rain coat, boots and emergency food cooler – complete with granola bars, H2O bottles, vitamins, canned tuna, can opener and Ritz crackers. Having no idea just how bad Irene would hit, I had to prepare for the worst. My first instinct would be to head for my bed and wait for her to pass.

And now as I lay here awaiting her complete departure, I’m reminded of storms, like Hurricane Gloria, from my younger years. Even then, nothing gave me more comfort than my Nana’s quilt. I’d crawl in the bed, wrap it around me and pray to be kept safe.

Nana was my favorite grandmamma Malissia – my maternal great grandmother. Growing up, I skipped preschool to stay home with her. She taught me how to cook, sew and speak my mind. Nana was so funny. She’d tell you just what she thought of you and could care less if it hurt. Of course, when it came to me, my Nana was gentle. She was my best friend.

When I was four, I sat in her room handing her patches of cloths. I watched as she stitched each piece together and blessed it with her sweat. I begged her to let me help with the arrangement; I thought the colors were so pretty and resembled the sky. Little did I know that the quilt was my special present.

One day while I was out with my mom, I came home to find it spread on my bed. I screamed to Nana that I loved her and hugged my bed tight. And now as I lay here wondering if Irene will blow the house down, I hold my bed tight.

As children, we find comfort in physical objects. But as adults, our attachments to these objects and memories of the people associated with them can become internal resources we can take anywhere. We carry quilts of coping, quilts of hope and quilts patched together from precious memories. Tell me about your quilts. Tell me about your patches.

What are the moments that you hold tight? What moments enable you to weather the wuthering times? Let’s remember these memories and share. Irene has given us these moments to reflect. So feel free to share moments of relationships past and present.

Like relationships, quilts do become worn. But, with a few added patches and some stitches, its life can be prolonged. So, no need to let Irene get you down; she could have been much worse.

As Terri Guillemets (a US quotation anthologist) said, “Weather is a great metaphor for life – sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.”

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Let’s hope my quilt is enough to keep me warm this fall, as I move on.

Missed Moments as I Move On

Hello. It’s been a long month, and I’ve missed you all.

I’m unpacking and moving on. And once again, I wish my son were there by my side. I wish this for many reasons – mostly because I want to hold his hand and guide him through life. I want to help insure he succeeds at something. I want to be sure he doesn’t stumble in my footprints. But, as usual, he chooses to go it alone.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my son to come and meet me.

“Why don’t you come out around 1pm? I’ll meet you at the library.”

“The needle is between E and ¼ of a tank.”

“I’ll give you a few dollars of gas to get back home.” I hesitate as I tell him this; he needs to work harder to support himself. He says he is grown and mature, but the evidence shows no signs of this.

He made it out. We talked, we laughed, and I gave him some gas money.

“I can come out to help you tomorrow or Friday.”

“Okay. That’s fine. I have so much to do. And, my shoulder and knee hinder me from getting much done.”

Thursday, Friday and Saturday passed. No sign of Cameron. No explanation. Calls and texts unreturned. What does that mean? What is he thinking? Will he ever come around? Will he ever be there to show his support?

My anger and I moved again, and Cam made it to help. He said he would return a few days later to help and no Cam again. I even texted him to tell him that I was sick with a fever and needed juice and soup. No Cam still.

I may be ranting a bit. But, it is cathartic; ranting is how I vent, and I vent to hide my hurt. I vent to make myself feel better about losing a friend. I vent so I won’t strangle my son. I vent so that his girlfriend can live. Okay. Maybe I went too far there. All life is sacred. But, as I was saying, I vent to not be so angry.

It’s natural to assume that a mother and son would help each other move, so you can understand my disappointment. The root of my hurt is more about what’s obviously missing in our relationship. It may seem as if I only need him, what I truly long for is for him to realize we need each other.  A mother’s love is the only unconditional love. And, though he may think I have some pre-planned agenda for his life, I only want to see him succeed at doing something that he loves. I only want to see that he thrives in this complicated world we live in. I only want him to survive the beating that the world is likely to give him. And though we don’t have to take on this world together, if we were a team, it would be much simpler.

As I ponder our relationship status, I’m reminded of another Cheshire Patch blog. So, I share once again. Before I do, I must say one thing. I love my son more than life.

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The two of us together.

Is he a reflection of me?

I Miss My Best Friend

Posted on September 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm

‘I’m not alone. I’m not alone. It will get better. Things will work out. He will come to his senses.’

This cathartic mantra has become a daily routine. This is what I tell myself while I sit home wondering what my young adult son is doing with his life.

Will he eventually allow me to help get him on track? Will he dump that girl? Will he have that life he deserves? Is he eating? Does he have clean clothes?

As parents, we have to find a way to move on and let our kids make their own mistakes. From experience I can tell you that it’s hard. It’s really hard. But, sometimes we just have to believe. We think that if they don’t follow yesterdays plan that tomorrow can’t happen. This is not so.

I miss him. I miss my friend. Being a single parent, we spent most of our time together. We went to movies. We hung out at the library and bookstores. We went to the beach. We went hiking. We even traveled across country together. I miss him. I love him, but I have to move on.

We don’t always think about what it was like to grow up. We tend to forget that we too once only lived for the moment. We too thought we would outlive our youth.

Lately, I have come to some realizations about my parental expectations. I usually think that it is his way or my way. But now, I’m trying to live somewhere in between that. I’m gonna stand back, watch from a distance and let him know that when and if he falls and calls out to me that I will be there.

My birthday and Mother’s Day have come and gone and all I’m left with is a voicemail message. I just wish he could fathom the pain and the emptiness that I feel as I ponder his current predicament. Is he taking care of his needs? Is he really happy?

I’ve been trying to figure this out. What do I do? How do I deal? Who do I go to for these answers? Is it possible to get over wanting to be involved in my son’s day to day? NO.

I just have to wake up every day, put my clothes on and try to live each day to the fullest. Once I acknowledge my limitations, I can then move on to other priorities in my life. Everyone has things that they once put aside to be a parent. So, I get back to making that list – that what-do-I-want-to-do-when-I-grow-up list.

By putting aside my family struggles and unintentional shortcomings, my emotional load is lighter. I just need to add some more lines to my mantra. ‘Rebelling is natural. Growing up is okay. We can’t control our children’s lives. We can’t force our children to understand what they aren’t ready to see.’

Parents try and use their experiences to help foresee the approaching doom. We want to avoid having to watch our children stumble. Every once in a while we get lucky and some children heed our warnings. Other times, we just have to give them some space and hope that our nurturing and teachings have made enough of an impact for them to eventually flourish. Children do absorb more than we realize – it just takes time to simmer.

I can still remember when I first held my baby. He was wrinkly, long, cute and white with blue eyes. He was the sweetest thing that ever was born; with his tiny feet and powder soft skin.

I used to watch him sleep all the time – so peaceful and relaxing.

Now, oh what I would do just to stand in the doorway one more night and watch him sleep.

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But, in the meantime, I move on and take care of me. I love him. I miss him, but what about me?

 

 

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