Monday, September 30, 2013

Beating the bullies...

You are strong my buddy, you have heart, and you love... you love with your whole heart! You see the good in people even when they aren't good to you. I know you have what it takes to stand up to bullies, but it breaks my heart to pieces that you have to deal with the dark side of human nature at barely 8 years old.

All the things they spoke, they should never have said.
All the hands on you, they should never have been laid.
You should be crying, but you don't want to let it show.
You stand tall, when they want you to stay down.
You should be playing, instead you're running.
You have a little life in you yet, I know you have a lot of strength left.

How much courage it must take for this boy to get up and ready for the day, knowing what is ahead. What is waiting for him the moment he enters the playground. Shoelaces are stepped on, hands push on his back and all he wants is to make it to the slide.

The strength this boy has is something those bullies will never have. This boy is beautiful. His laugh is contagious. And his heart is as big as "all the way to Florida and back".  His imagination is in the clouds and because of this, attackers have a target locked on Caler and his superhero cape. This boy knows who he is and no matter what happens to him, he doesn't change for anyone.

My boy loves people even when they don't show love to him. My boy still refuses to fight back. He doesn't want to hurt anyone. My sweet boy... my sweet sweet boy and I had the following conversation.

"Violence is never ok buddy, and you should NEVER be the one to hit someone first. But Caler man, if they hit you, and the only way you're able to get away and tell your teacher is to hit them ... then, buddy, hit them back, and hit them hard enough that they stay on the ground!"

To which my baby replied:

"But I don't want to hurt them, Momma. I want to be their friend."

Looks like this momma isn't the only one teaching...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Awkward Pause...

There it is, the awkward pause. Its there the moment I answer the question. Followed by the look. Avoided eye contact and they aren't sure what to say. They don't want to hurt my feelings. They're uncomfortable.

The question itself varies but the gist is always the same "So what happened? Why did you two divorce?". They aren't digging for scandalous answers, most inquirers already have an expected answer.

My response is not expected and is one that is usually repressed, ignored and just not talked about at brunch. My answer is  "Domestic Violence."  Domestic Violence is what caused my divorce. Dun dun dun... my answer is a mood killer, a conversation stopper, and it's truth.  It's unnerving and it's one of the topics my mom used to elbow me about... 'Kristal, honey, we don't talk about things like that. It makes people feel bad."

But the truth is, it doesn't make me feel bad. I don't feel shame. In fact, it makes me feel bad NOT talking about it. Not writing about it. Not feeling it. But most importantly, it makes me feel bad not sharing it.

I didn't have some fairy tale ending or wake up with some amazing revelation to make my story so much better or so much more inspiring. I simply survived. I'm still surviving. The point is... I got out.

No more awkward pauses. No more shame. No more silence.

There is hope and there is help. If you need a list of resources available to you please send me a message or notify your local police department. Let's fight back.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


This happens to not only characterize my boy, but it's the name of my boy's pet Horny Toad. (It's actually a lizard... which confuses me.)

Silly lives in a plastic aquarium found at the local thrift shop. It was one of those things that moms agree too... that backfires. One that starts off like this:

"Yes my love bug?"
"If there is an aquarium at the store that's just a dollar, can I get it for my pet lizard or turtle?" - He asks with that little voice of his that melts my heart. (Unless he's throwing a tantrum - then it's the worst noise on the face of the planet. Comparable to Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels' "Most annoying sound in the world". I speak facts here folks... it's dreadful!)
"Yes my love, you may. We'll wander around a bit and look to see if we can find a cage." - Famous Last Words

It was a dollar. And I had given my word. It came home with us.

My sweet friend had found this little guy wandering the desert sand. He scooped him up and thought of the perfect little care taker for this spikey little dude.

And indeed he is the best little caretaker. He builds forts in the sand for the little guy to sun bathe. He helps finds harvester ants to feed his hungry little tummy. He talks to Silly in a voice he usually reserves for his baby cousins... "Hi little guy. I love you. You're the cutest little horny toad. I love your little spikey's."  He loves to describe in detail what Silly does. "Momma, he moved his foot!" and "Momma, he blinked. I think that means he loves me!" Silly sits next to my little man on the mounds of dirt as Caler plays, Silly soaks up some rays. It's a match made in heaven. They're BFF's. For life. (I just hope Silly's lifespan is a little more than predicted.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Passion restored and maybe a little sanity too...

I re-found my passion for photography. It was hiding for awhile, but I found it. 

Photography is just as much of me as writing. It allows me to capture the world as I see it.. Through my perspective and my personal point of view. I get to tell a story in not only my words and thoughts, but also by what I see. It makes me vulnerable. It makes me happy. It makes me want to strive to be better, to do better, to learn, and to challenge myself. 

Caler man with his caterpillar named James
You see, I lost the passion for awhile. I had lost the courage to see beautiful things in the world. I had lost the ability and the strength to allow myself to be exposed.  I lost my sight. I lost my words. Writing no longer appealed to me. I had nothing to say and nothing to compose. I endured what I had to, for the boys. The smile that appeared had no life or glow behind it. My closest friends could tell, but I couldn't admit it. "I'm fine", I'd say. I couldn't live for me. And photography... that is one of the definitions of living for me. My eyes were seeing the world in dull lifeless colors. I was depressed. I knew it. I felt it... the giant gaping hole in my heart, it made it's presence known. I couldn't stop it though. It was to me what Zangief was to my favorite Street Fighter II character, Chun Li. I was not entirely defenseless to it. I was, however, intimidated by it. I succumbed. The fight was too tough. It was too hard. It was too painful and way too real. Despite all my efforts. My fingernails were broken and bloody from the fight, I was down. The ref had counted to ten, and I wasn't about to get up.

The next thing that happened though is something I still have yet to be able to explain. I woke up one day with the large void in my heart still beating it's drum, but the sun was shining an iridescent golden yellow, a color so beautiful and so familiar that I nearly blinded myself by staring for so long. It was no longer the color of faded straw ... bland and generic. The sky next to it... the color was radiantly blue, it was begging to be photographed. This was the first step. I was awakening from my knock-out. This was the second round and Zangief was not going to know what hit the poor bloke.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I am not awake at 5:00 am on My days off

The rooster that lives next door, the rooster from across the street, the horse next door, and his neighbor the Doberman are all wide awake and have been since about four hour ago.

In other words... I'm in need of a bb gun.