Neon Light

posted by Momo Fali on March 31, 2015

For months, in a tiny space where my children didn’t fill my heart, there was aching darkness. Even though it didn’t need much room to exist, the hole felt gaping, like a giant, black pit. You could’ve thrown a Chevy in there and it wouldn’t have touched either side.

Now that pit feels about the size of…well, a pit. Not even a big, lumpy peach pit either, but one of those little ones inside a cherry. And, not only is the pit tiny, I’m taking the cherries and making cherry pie, à la mode.

I never anticipated my life, or the lives of my children, to turn out like this, and that still makes me sad. But, we will be okay. I know that now and I didn’t know that for a long, long time. I’m finding meaning in the pain and that’s healing me. We are finding normal, we are happy, and we are learning and growing in ways we didn’t know possible.

That growth is a beautiful thing. I am enjoying new things and appreciating new experiences and I’m no longer judged for it. I might find that I suddenly want to decorate my house with neon lights, and I CAN.

neon lightphoto credit: 171 via photopin (license)

I’ve had four friends in the last 24 hours tell me they were suicidal while going through divorce and I could understand that pain. It’s the absolute worst thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life and it hurts like nothing I’ve ever known. I remember people telling me it gets better and I wanted to scream at them and say, “Shut up! You DON’T KNOW! I’m DYING INSIDE!” Now I get it. It does get better. I can honestly say that I’m happy. I feel a little guilty saying it, but it’s true.

There is nothing – absolutely nothing – you can say to someone going through this to make them think you understand or that they are going to be okay. Nothing. Hold them, hug them, sit with them, love them, but don’t tell them it will get better. They have to trudge through the darkness until they see the light for themselves.

They may not think they’ll ever see it, but I am proof it is there.

Seize the Radish

posted by Momo Fali on March 18, 2015

When I was young my mom used to tell me to taste every kind of food I was offered; if I didn’t like it I would never have to eat it again. It turned out that that only thing I didn’t like were radishes. For nearly four decades I ate everything but radishes, because radishes tasted like dirt.

Until a few days ago.

Last week I ate a delicious radish. I had a radish awakening, if you will. And, if you won’t, please pass the radish over here.

radish

© Alexey Lisovoy | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I’m actually not speaking metaphorically – or maybe I am – it doesn’t matter. What I’m saying is that you should never stop trying new things. Ever. Even if the new things are old things. You might suddenly find that they are the perfect blend of spicy goodness.

Never shut down possibilities, because sometimes there is just enough evolution within you, or a radish, to change your perception. Unless we’re talking about liking the current country music landscape, because there aren’t enough days left on earth to make me evolve that much.

But, what if there are other things I’ve put off that I might enjoy? Maybe I’ll wear bright colors instead of black, sit at the bars in restaurants and drink a different kind of beer every time I do, learn to play guitar, sing out loud even though I can’t carry a tune, and stop being afraid.

Maybe I’ll eat more radishes.

My Tribe

posted by Momo Fali on March 9, 2015

I was going to sit down and write thank-you notes this weekend to the hundreds (really, that sounds crazy, but it’s truly hundreds) of people who have reached out to me in the last couple of months; cards, emails, gifts, texts, wine, food…so much food…phone calls, visits from old friends and time spent with family. I have a LOT of people to thank. It’s a little overwhelming. Also, my pants are tight.

food

Instead I drank wine with my sisters, reconnected with an old friend from high school, played games at an arcade, enjoyed a full day of sunshine and laughter with some of my best friends, went to church, took a gaggle of teenage girls to the mall, went for a run, and ate tater tots.

I did manage to buy my neighbor some flowers, but that was only because I really needed to return the mountain of containers in which she presented me with dish after dish of Egyptian cuisine. If you are what you eat, I AM FLAN.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about the people who have been closely surrounding me lately and I’ve come to the realization that most of my best friends – the people who are always there for me, surround me with love and laughter, hold my hand when I cry, listen to me, advise me, and cheer me on – are some of the most screwed up people I’ve ever known.

I take that back, they are not screwed up, their lives have been. They have personally dealt with abandonment, drug abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, physical illness, death, disability, infidelity, and more. Over the last few days, looking around at some of them, I have marveled at their strength and resilience.

I have come to see that these people, who can go through hell and come out the other side still laughing and enjoying what life has to offer? Well, these are my people. They are my tribe and there is a great force that has brought us together. And, despite what we’ve been through, we’re awfully lucky.

I am a firm believer that anything worthwhile is only worthwhile if you have to fight for it. I don’t think anything comes easy and if it did, how could you truly savor the results? It’s like having a helicopter drop you off on the top of a mountain instead of climbing up the side. You know the view would be much sweeter if you got there yourself.

And, that’s what my friends have done. They’ve fought and clawed through life to find there is still a sweet view; that we can high-five each other for making it to the top without dying, then head back to base camp and grab a beer.

Yep, these are my people. I’m so fortunate to have them climbing through life with me.

He Speaks the Truth

posted by Momo Fali on February 24, 2015

My 12 year old son has been known to have anxiety and OCD. To know him is to love his perfectionism, his lining up everything in the colors of a rainbow, and his constant obsession with rings.

Right now we have a little extra anxiety going on, so in addition to seeing a therapist I made an appointment with the pediatrician. She had him complete a survey on his inner-most feelings.

And, while we have concerns about some of his behavior clearly we don’t have to worry about self-esteem, because when he checked off Item 25 he scoffed then said, “Oh, please! EVERYBODY loves me.”

anxiety checklist