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The "Wu Word" Blog

Damaged Goods

Around Christmas of 1996, I was at my biological mother’s home when I received the devastating news that my aunt had finally succumbed to a rare throat esophageal cancer and died.  This had been her second battle with the vicious and merciless cancer.  We all knew it was coming, but even when it finally came, we were not ready.  Nothing can ever really prepare you for death.  Especially when you are not even a teenager yet or, at bare minimum, just beginning your teenage years. 

For the second battle of cancer, my aunt lived with us.  She was a math whiz and sat with me for hours trying to patiently explain numbers and formulas to me.  I sat by her side reading to her or watching TV with her labored breath I saw what cancer did.  I saw what cancer did to her.  I saw what death looked like.     

But, I also saw the rarity and beauty of what love looked like.  And, yes, it is really so beautiful.  

My father said that this aunt had always seemed to have a difficult and atypical life.  She had been in an almost deadly car accident in her 20’s, causing her to be in a coma for several weeks or even months.  She married late in life.  She never had children.  When she finally did marry, it was most happily to a round-faced and jovial man who would light up when she was in the room. It was soon after that they married that she was diagnosed with this rare form of cancer.  Her husband was right by her side through all the vicious chemotherapy and radiation treatments that caused her to lose her hair, her weight, her saliva, and, eventually, her life.  He was patient, kind, devoted, loyal, and loving.  In turn, my aunt fought for life and living.  There was a fire in her eyes.  There was a fight in her spirit.  She knew what I knew that life was the greatest gift.  She also knew what I knew at a young age that we fight so hard for life/to live and quietly endured pain and suffering to lessen the burden to our loved ones while somehow feeling inadequate, never enough, and that we are ‘damaged goods.’ 

But here’s the thing:   We are all damaged goods.   We all have our stuff.  We all have our baggage.  We all have crosses to bear.  We all have our dirty secrets and dark sides.  We never really know someone and how they are feeling or what they are struggling with or what they may be going through.  Growing up and particularly in the my 20’s and early 30’s, the feeling that I was ‘damaged goods’ was somehow more pronounced and weighed on me to the point of me actually pushing away any guy who would get close to me because of this intense feeling that I was too damaged because of all of my ongoing health issues and that he would never understand.  I would share my insecurities with my Dad: “I do not know what anyone sees in me.” My ever wise, patient, and loving father said to me, “You have a lot to offer.  You bring so much to the table.  You never know how people see or perceive you, and you are just your own worst enemy and critic.”  

Lately, I find myself thinking about my aunt who passed on after her very painful bout with cancer and her devoted husband.  I think I have been thinking about them because of another friend who recently died after her ongoing struggles with cystic fibrosis; She has left behind her daughter and husband.  I think that life is full of challenges that damage and hurt us beyond measure and that we are not meant to endure alone, but meant to share together with the people or a special person who can lift you up when life lets you down.  We are not islands and are meant to connect and share.  When I shared with one of my good friends my recent thoughts on my aunt and this other friend who recently died of cystic fibrosis, my friend said to me, “If I knew that the person I had fallen in love with or loved had less time on this earth and had some chronic health problems, I would stay by that person.  I rather a short time with someone I love and care about then a long time with someone I am miserable with.” 

Our worth and perceptions of ourselves can be very different compared to the perceptions that others have of us.  Would you be with someone knowing that you would not have much time with them or that the time would be challenging and painful, yet that time with them was all the worthwhile?  In essence, quality versus quantity?  What is your threshold of ‘stuff’ that another has or carries?  Have you ever felt like ‘damaged goods’ and not ‘worthy’ of love?  How do you see yourself and how you have been damaged or hurt?  What is your worth?  

Keep smilin’ until we meet again,

Mary ;-)

Happy Place

Happy Place
 
On a rainy day
I got in my car
I went away
Further and Far
I drove up
To your happy place
To feel your love
To bask in your joy
Where you smiled
Where you laughed
In your place of peace
In your happy place
 
Memories return
And I yearn
For what was
And no longer is
A very dull ache
A very deep burn
I am breaking
But I am not broken
Because I am smiling
At all I am remembering
It was just like yesterday
But it is today
And there are no more tomorrows
With you in it
In such deep sorrow
I stop, stare, and sit
Savoring all this
The snowy hills
The misty fog
Muddy puddles
Flowers underground
Chirping sounds
Air so thick
My breath so thin
Gets under my skin
I could not see
A single thing
 I could feel
How everything
Sharply stings
 
The sun shines
Blurred lines
I got in my car
Watched from afar
I quietly prayed
Wishing you peace
In your new time and space
Do not worry about me
I understand more than you will ever know
That you had to go
That you had to leave
To be free
You had to go away
To your place of peace
To your happy place 

Warm

My stepmom is a woman of few words.  This is not a line you often hear when it comes to women, but one out of the many admirations I have for my stepmom is how she speaks in volumes with her actions in humble ways rather than in loud spoken words. 
 
Just about every weekend that I visit her and my father, my Stepmother always has a bag of food prepared and packed for me to bring home.  She knows my favorite Chinese foods like sesame and taro balls that only SHE can pick out in a Chinese supermarket and have ready for me when I visit.  She was the one to make me ‘bone soup’ after my hip replacement surgery to fortify my weak bones and even weaker spirit into gaining strength back to learn to walk all over again.  Yet, the #1 way that my stepmom has shown and spoken her love and care for me is what she has known best: Coats to keep me warm.

Love is spoken and shown in different ways.  There are people who will say that they love you, but their actions will not match their words.  The words will lift you up and make you feel good only for a little while until you are crushed into questioning if that person really and truly knows you, cares about you, or, even, loves you.  There are people who will spend tons of money on materialistic things with the belief that money can solve problems and show and speak love.  A diamond ring.  A dozen stemmed roses.  The thing is that things are only things that mean absolutely nothing and are only a something when there is a meaning or message behind or inside them.  There are people who do not know how to say or speak “I Love You” verbally and who are closed off with their emotions, but will show and speak their love in what they do on the outside from their innermost feelings on the inside. 

No way am I a love expert.  I have yet to even experience love in the romantic sense or this supposed ‘falling in love’ that only seems existent to me in Hollywood movies, but I certainly have felt deep love and care for family and friends.  If you look up “Love” on the Internet, there are endless definitions that force you to keep on scrolling and skimming down the screen.  I think that there are many kinds of love: Love for ourselves (not in a selfish sense, but to respect and care for yourself) and Love between or among family, friends, and beyond.   I think love is something that cannot be explained or defined.  Love is something felt deep within that cannot really put into definitive words. Love is felt over time and in the seemingly littlest of ways and actions that mean the most and amount to growth in any and all relationships.   I think love grows, stretches, and spans over time and requires loads of ingredients like trust, laughter, care, nurturing, patience, faith, loyalty, and even more.  And Love is NOT always kind, but can be extremely hurtful and painful, but all the more worthwhile because, as I say and believe, it is better to feel something than nothing at all.  All in all, I believe that Love is like my Stepmother’s coats that have kept and continue to keep me warm and safe in the coldest and hardest of days. 

Love lies in the little acts of kindness that people show and not only say.  How do you know when someone loves you?  What kind acts or good deeds have people taken to show that they care about or even love you?  Is it important for you to HEAR words  of “I Love You” or to be the recipient of true actions of love and care?  What is love to you?  Who is keeping you warm?   

Keep smilin’ until we meet again, 
Mary ;-)
 

The Edge

The Edge
 
We are
The Stars
Twinkle Sparkle
Radiant Brilliant
Bright Night
Razor Sharp
Paper Thin
Think Thoughts
Catch Caught
Savor Flavors
Thick Skin
Lose Win
Sit Stand
Little Lot
Laugh Cry
Half Whole
Less More
Balance Act
Look Back
The fool
The joker
The loser
The winner
The saint
The sinner
My mistakes
My heartbreaks
No regrets
Any of it
All I did
All I do
All I was
All I am
Working to be
Better than best
Version of me
We are
Waking Walking
On a tightrope
A very fine line
Trying to cope
Holding on to hope
Looking down
Trying to be found
Into an abyss
Taking Risks
Breaking Rules
Making the Most
Meaning of this
Passion Purpose
Kindness Matters
Compassion Empowers
Those in Need
Good Deeds
Grace of God
Fear Nothing
Do Something
Cause Effect
Affect Impact
Commotion Motion
Progress Process
Eyes shut tight
Eyes wide open
To the blinding light
Stand Tall
Free Fall
Jump Leap
Keep Faith
Deep End
Begin Again
On the Edge

Noise

Noise
 
Loud Crowds
All Around
Push me Around
Pull me Down
Drown the Sounds
And all the Doubts
Figuring it out
What’s it all about?
 
Oh how cruel
They played me for the fool
All the rules
Were made to break
Though they think
They are clever
But they will never
Be able to read
The thoughts in my head
My silence speaks
For the weak
Shatters and breaks
Loud and clear
For them to hear
 
I do not forget
I do not let go
So easily now
Or how
What you did
Cannot be undone
I bite my tongue
But I can take it
While I could sit
Like everyone else
And do nothing
Lies to myself
So I stand up
To do something
 
Anger is one letter
Short of Danger
I use it for the better
Fuel my Soul
Fill the Hole
Fire in my Belly
I am Ready
The actions
I take
My voice
Will make
Some Noise
Now
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