Thursday, January 28, 2021

Not Amanda Gorman

I walk outside my front door on a crisp, January, afternoon. The fresh air and the Texas sun envelop me. 

“This feels so good,” I think to myself. It’s amazing what fresh air and sun can do for the mood. 

I play in my garden for a few minutes, cutting overgrown Big Blue Lilyturf plants, and pinching back golden pansies with a splash of purple, hoping to make them stand tall and appear fresh. 

The picture above is my cute, outdoor, office set-up for the day.  Harry, my dog is sitting peacefully next to my colorful pouf, and teal-blue, painted, Adirondack chair. It was my Instagram picture of the day. I used it in my “story” with no description. Just “prettiness.”  

It may have reached seventy-degrees, on this beautiful day but the intense Texas sun made it feel at least ten degrees warmer. 
I think to myself, “How lucky am I to be able to create out here?” 
*This is the "trying to be positive and grateful me."

Then I think, “It sure would be nice to have a more private outdoor space in my backyard?” Which is currently a train wreck. 
*This is the real me. 

The real story is, I need to escape the noise inside the house. I need to escape these people in my house (my family). 


My husband, Alan, works from home as he has for several years now.  Except for this past year, there is zero business travel. Zero as in nada! Business travel has been the saving grace of our marriage for 26 years. Absence keeps you from killing each other. Isn’t that how love works?

During this 27th year of marriage and pandemic togetherness, our success tool has been banned. My loving husband is here having one boisterous conference and Webex call, after another, from the time I crack my eyes open in the morning, until well into the evening. His “office” is right outside my bedroom door in our open-floor-plan family room, which allows his voice to carry throughout the entire house, 

Can you feel my eyes rolling out of my head? 


Cole, my 22-year-old son is doing college classes in my kitchen, which is adjacent to my Writing room where there is also no door to close as of yet. My writing room is actually our dining room,  which was converted into my mother’s “temporary” bedroom, for ten-years!

As of this summer, I converted it into my Yoga/Writing/Happy Place (only so far it's minus the happy).  It's happy when there is quiet in the house, which is rare, or when I’m wearing my noise-canceling earphones. 
(Feel free to send donations to the Get-Karen-A-Door fund. See the link below. Kidding. There is no link below, though perhaps there should be.) 

There is an advantage to college-at-home. He gets to class on time every day. I get to hear how brilliant he sounds during his Philosophy class discussions. I see and hear his leadership and fearlessness up close. I would never see this if he was on a college campus or in a dorm room. (Dear Lord, why isn’t he in a dorm room?

This is remarkable for the boy who dropped out of college because of anxiety after the first year. The deadlines, the organization, the waking up in time for class, was all just too much for him right out of high school at 18.  

The disadvantage to college-at-home? Way too much family togetherness. We are a family unit of three #athometogether all.of.the.time! My son has become the second husband, I never wanted.

Everyone is constantly, consistently, aware of what the other person is doing, saying, eating, drinking, and using the bathroom. There is the uninvited personal commentary to go along with all of the minding each other’s business For almost a year now! 


I am a writer who creates at home. Well...who tries to create at home. When I’m not working on healing and my mental health. Occasionally, I do write something decent. 

I have this successful blog, which is ready for a re-vamp and re-launch. (Help!) I’ve published stories on countless websites about parenting, autism, and mental illness. 

I am a writer, with a terminal compulsion to string words together and tell stories. (Lately, most of the stories are only on Instagram and Facebook.)

Yesterday, I discovered that I am not Amanda Gorman.  I was so inspired by this young, black girl and her poem at the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on January 20, 2021. I have listened to her recitation more than once and thought, “I can do that. I can inspire the world with my words. That is my purpose! That is my journey!” 

Only, that didn’t happen in the pretty picture setup of my outdoor writing space yesterday.  I sat and I wrote six-pages of what felt like total crap, otherwise known as a shitty-first-draft. 

Will I try to publish it as a personal essay? 
Will, I ever put a complete book of my stories together? 
Do I have enough focus and drive to make that happen?
Is my fatigue from trauma, PTSD, ADHD, lack of focus, and self-sabotage, standing in my way? 
I won’t bore you with all of the negative self-talk that runs through my head when I write. 

I kept writing, going at it for hours because the sun felt so good on my skin.  I had so much to say, or so I thought. I was translating from a journal entry, which the day before was an awesome spark. Only once I started typing, it all felt forced and disjointed. I worked to make it make sense. I don't think it ever did. 

Finally, hours later, I walked away from it. I got up, brushed my teeth, washed my face brushed my hair and gathered groceries to take around the corner to my mom’s apartment. 

My mother  (my employer who does not pay)  calls with something she “needs” from me Even when she doesn't really need anything.  It’s attention-seeking behavior. Every adult in my family does it.  They are constantly seeking my attention. 

Yesterday she needed paper plates from my pantry, chicken wings, from my freezer, frozen taquitos, and forty-dollars’ worth of quarters, from the bank of my husband, for her elderly neighbor who can not easily get to a real bank. 

(Tootie, mom's neighbor, needs the quarters to wash her clothes in the coin-operated laundry room in their Independent Living Senior apartments. She washes her clothes in the laundry room, where three out of four lights are burned out, and nobody (the management) has done anything about it because according to Tootie, “No one cares about seniors.”)

My privileged mother,  (otherwise known as Employer, who doesn't pay, but always in dire need of services rendered by me) has her own, personal, washer and dryer inside of her apartment. She also has a wonderful,  paid caregiver, who comes in to actually "do" her laundry.  (I digress.) 

I crawl in bed last night.  I swear I will not write another word tomorrow.  Nope. I'm definitely no  Amanda Gorman. 

In fact, there are days I don’t know who I am or what it is that I’m doing and feeling.

Is this a mid-life crisis? Do women have those? 

Last week I wanted to leave my family. I mean seriously...divorce. All of them. 

Is this p.m.s.? Is this perimenopause? Menopause? It’s hard to tell because the periods haven’t completely gone away. They taunt me. One month it’s here. The next month? Maybe. And then...bam! Here the mother f*#%er is again! 

Whatever it is, that I’m going through, half the time I feel crazy, confused, and moody. I hate everything and everyone, especially the people I love. 

Is this pandemic/quarantine blues? 

People aren’t talking so much about it anymore, but it is still the elephant in the room that is making us all lose it. My house has become increasingly smaller because of this god-dammed, pandemic, elephant taking up space, squeezing me closer to these people I live with. 

This is happening just at a time when I hoped to have an empty nest. I thought I might have a little freedom from the responsibility of taking care of adults, deciding what they will eat and how it will all magically appear before them. 

Today I woke up thinking, I will just take care of the laundry list of boring as f*#% to do’s. Maybe I can be successful at the laundry,  grocery shopping, and hunting down a CoVid vaccine appointment for my mother. 

But alas,  I woke up inspired to write this lovely blog entry for those of you who may also be feeling a little bit of pandemic, quarantine, p.m.s., menopausal, compulsion to divorce your family. 

I love you,
Not that Karen, 
Not Amanda Gorman
The one & only Karen Wesley, Writer 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Sunday's Dance

Nothing makes me dance on a Sunday morning like being alone in my own house. 

As my husband leaves to go to my mom’s apartment I yell, “Stay extra long! Will ya?” He doesn’t see the humor in my snarkiness. 

Bless him. He has it within his heart to go to my mom’s apartment every Sunday morning, so that they can stream church together.  I do not have it within my heart.  I no longer do things out of a sense of obligation, if I can choose not to. I did that for too many years to count. I have the scars of resentment to prove it. 


They started watching church together when my mom lived here in our home. It’s a Baptist church out of Baltimore, Maryland where my husband’s family lives. During the week our house would be filled with screaming, arguing, and constant talking. The last thing I wanted on Sunday morning was to have someone screaming the gospel at me. 

No thanks. I would rather talk to God, quietly through prayer and in my journal. I don’t need the constraints of formal Christianity, which comes with side order of  hypocrisy for many Christians. My relationship with God and my spirituality are not for world consumption or approval.  I admit there is still  a bit of a sting leftover from the over-saturation of a childhood consumed by organized religion. There was no freedom of choice until I turned 18 and had enough. 

I was my mother’s primary caregiver while she lived here. She came to live with us “temporarily” during the height of the teen and adult-transition years for my sons on the autism spectrum. Temporarily turned into ten years of me being so overwhelmed with keeping my children alive and mentally healthy. I didn’t have time to think of ulterior living solutions for my mother. 

I feel the heart palpitations when think about what a nightmare it was when everyone lived here together. I’m still in therapy trying to get over that trauma. 

I had to have my son, Kendal move out when he was 19. He just could not be contained within this house, along with 4 other adults. He moved into a situation that I wasn't all that comfortable with at first. However, it served a purpose. It was healthier for us to live apart. 

Thankfully, he moved to San Antonio to work and live with his older brother 18 months later. Now, he lives in Los Angeles with my niece. The fact that he has a soft place to land  is on my gratitude list 

Late last summer,  I was doing the happy dance after I was able to orchestrate everything so we could move my mother around the corner into a senior-living apartment. She took the last of the Sunday morning noise along with her, along with the landline phone that would ring all living day long. The calls were mostly solicitations or Kendal calling back home to report every tragic life experience and emotion. You know, like frustration over missing the bus or overcooking the chicken to the point of extreme dryness. My heart rate would go up every time the phone rang. A trauma response from years of phone calls with bad news on the other end.

When Mom lived with me, it turned out that the more I did for her as her daughter and caregiver,  the more she wanted me to do, and the less she was willing to do for herself. It wasn’t mentally healthy for either one of us. I felt constantly overwhelmed and stressed. Sometimes, I would hide in my room just “not” not to be asked to do something when she laid eyes on me. I would go to a bar after yoga so I didn’t have to come home to work. I didn't want to answer the questions, as an adult in my own home, “Where are you going? What are you doing? What are you eating? What are you drinking?” 

As fate would have it, my mother reached a point where she could no longer climb the stairs to get to the shower in our two-story home. The  arthritis in her knees had become progressively worse. Anxiety made her believe that everything was impossible.

I hired home-health therapists to come in and help her build her strength and confidence. I knew her days were numbered in this house. 

I was finally able to  find her own, fully-accessible, apartment.  She has a friend/caregiver come into her apartment to help with cooking, cleaning, and bathing.  She now has her very own, private, quiet,  space where she keeps the temperature around 80 degrees.  

She doesn’t have to stumble over our stuff or be inconvenienced by my disorganization. She doesn't have share the guest bathroom with our son’s friends, who just might pee on the toilet seat when they come to visit. 

She is happy with her space and I am thrilled about the doors that close between us. 

The burnout from years of caregiving for my mother and my young adult sons, left me with no choice other than to draw strong boundaries between myself and my family.  The experience of over-giving had kept all of us from growing.

I reached a point where my body would not allow me to do it anymore. I had neglected my own needs in order to take care of theirs for far too long.  The of damage to my soul turned to anger, rage and resentment.  

It took a lot of years of therapy to figure this all out. When everyone was here together, I didn’t have the wherewithall to address how my own mental health was being affected. I continue to work to hold my boundaries as my dependents work to encroach upon them. I’m still responsible for them, but from a healthy distance.

Our family has  lived in this house for over twenty years. Most of those years were extremely loud, and incredibly close. As in, too many of us with too many agendas, opinions, feelings, and emotions, all living within earshot of each other

For me it was like being on-call 24/7,  living with some very needy, non-paying, clients. It was like playing whacamole, putting out one fire, and then the next, with very little time to catch my breath inbetween.

As women, mothers, daughters, and wives, we are conditioned to give from the time we are in our early teen years. Do the things that you are asked to do.  Go to church. Get baptized because it’s time to give your life to God. Please the Elders in the church. Everyone is watching. Give your time in order to please others. You want to be well thought of in our community.  Follow the example of Christ. Don’t embarrass your mother. And what does your happiness have to do with anything? Your job is to make others feel comfortable, so that they will like and accept you. 

Growing up, my children were not happy most of the time. They were socially isolated in school, had issues with anxiety and depression. They had challenges that I could never have imagined in my own childhood. I thought it was my job to protect them, to be their voice, and give them as much happiness and comfort as possible. That was my job for a long time. Only I didn't know when to draw the line. 

The same was true with my mother. Make her comfortable and happy, as you have done your entire life.

Only the weight of all of that was impossible for one person to carry. I was living the way I had been conditioned. The sacrifice of my happiness, was inconsequential. 

That is, until I woke up and realized that my happiness is essential. You can only fake the funk for so long before your body and your brain give way to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and hopefully not heart disease, or some other illness.  

When we become burnout, our bodies internalize our pain and begin to break down. 

We have to take care of ourselves.  It’s vital to take care of our own needs.  It’s the infamous, put on your oxygen mask first, that I heard that a million times. I probably even wrote about it here on this blog.  And yet, I would only take just enough oxygen to barely keep breathing. Everyone else had as much as I could humanly give them.. 

These days, when I wake up on Sunday morning and I am alone in my house,  I dance. I don’t even need any music. It’s in my soul. 

Sunday Chillin in my swing chair.
No makeup. Alone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020



Last night I received your demanding e-mail. 

"Unblock my number or never talk to me again."

First of all, you can not threaten me into talking to you.

Secondly, we have an agreement. We talk once a week. 

It’s been going great until…

-You blew past boundaries with your dad by calling repetitively during his work hours. 

-You knocked over boundaries with your brother, Blue, killing the "Do Not Disturb" on his phone while he was trying to sleep. 

On Sunday after our pleasant conversation, one of the hundreds of pep talks that I’ve given you about autism and the superpowers it brings. The ability to hyper-focus on what you really want to focus on. The ability to self-teach, as you have done with roller coaster design software, professional video editing, changing your diet, meal prepping, and exercising in order to lose over 100 pounds. The ability to learn in unique ways, and see the world differently than most people. 

After we talked you began messaging me, asking questions about one subject, and then another, and then another...problem. I was on my way to have dinner. I refused to continue the exchange after several messages. 

After a warning, “the block" went back on my phone until the next time we are scheduled to talk again. 

I can't stay angry with you. That's not how I'm made.

I know that autism, mental illness, and self-loathing are the culprits underneath these behaviors. 

I can and must, however, maintain my boundaries for the sake of my own mental health. 

It is tenuous these days. 

There have been too many years of this.

I have allowed you to run all over my boundaries to the point where I became depressed and full of anxiety.

I reached a point of almost not functioning. 

I can not do that anymore. 

I can not continue this trajectory. 

I can not be the answer to all problems. 

The plethora of resources that you have in our extended family must be used unless, and until you get to a point where you can actually be the independent, self-reliant man that I know you can be. 

Saying, “No. Not anymore,” is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. And when it comes to you, I have done some very difficult things. 

It takes energy and strength to say no when your own heart is bleeding. 

Deep down I know that someday I will not be here. 

I can not be the solver of all problems. 

I will not always be your soft place to fall.

You will have to seek help from other sources or you will fall...hard. 

The first source you need is yourself. 

You are the key to your future.

You will come out of this stronger. 

You will have the strength to fix things yourself.

I love you.

And yes. I am sure you can do this.  

Friday, August 14, 2020

Conversations with Depression


It’s me against you.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that I can negotiate with you.

There has to be a way to outsmart you --beat you at your own game. 

I can do hard things. 

I can figure this out. 

I’m a badass! I’m a mom. I helped my kids survive autism in their teen years while taking care of my mom as she tried to lose her mind. 

I can do anything!

Those things did exhaust the hell out of me though. Years on top of years being in fight or flight. Now my body and my mind are not quite sure what to do.  

The days go by. I feel numb. I’m sure and then unsure. I have plenty of time to think about it all. We’re in this pandemic! Life is slower than slow although, I’m not sure what happens to all of the days.


Maybe if I just buy this thing... 

A new bike. An adult tricycle. Bikes are for exercise. Exercise is good for me.

That will do the trick. 

I will feel better after that. 


If I just do this thing…

When I set up my outdoor oasis. 

Sitting outside in the fresh air always makes me feel better.

I’ll be more content then. 

(Only now, it’s hotter than hell. And the mosquitos love me more than any boyfriend I’ve ever had. Fuckers.

If I could just move back to California…

The weather is so much better. 

There’s a beach. There’s an ocean, a breeze. 

How could I ever have left the beach?

Why didn’t I realize that I need a beach in my life?

How could I be depressed when there’s a beach? 

In California, I would have my friends. 

My oldest friends. My dearest friends. The friends I’ve had my whole life. Friends I can count on. Friends who I don’t have to figure out. They’re just there. Always. Friends who won’t abandon me and disappear.

If I just ...pray, meditate, do more yoga, keep busy enough, read more, distract myself, follow all of the therapy, and self-care accounts on Instagram.

Then. Maybe then, anxiety will not seep into my bones and refuse to leave.

You know...I don’t have time for this. 

I have things to accomplish. 

Just get over it already.

Therapy is great. 

I finally feel validated, seen, and heard. 

Finding my therapist was my saving grace. The best thing I’ve done for myself in the past 20 years!


Why do I have to be one of those people who needs therapy? 

I can live without therapy. 

I’m going to skip it next week.

It’s ridiculous that I spend this much money and time on therapy.

Do other people spend this much time trying to feel good? 

Happy people really get on my nerves. (Insert eye-roll here) 

Why can’t I just think positive thoughts? 

You attract what you focus on, right? 

Change your thoughts. Change your life, right? 

Manifest happiness damn it! It’s easy! 

Don’t worry. 

It will come. 

Why hasn’t it come? 

And then the rationalizations…

Is this even real or are you just feeling sorry for yourself? 

I’m not taking any more medication. 

Fix your life, not your medication.


Wait a fixed your life. You made some space for yourself. You have more peace than you have had in years. You should be happy now.

You’re not happy now? 

What is wrong with you? 

The truth... 

Life is difficult for many of us walking on this planet. 

Circumstances in my life are better. 

I have created more peace. 

However, peace doesn’t look the way I expected it to because there are new challenges.

I thought racism was better. We had a black President. I have tons of white friends. We all want the same things. 

Then I find out, the entire history of our country has been set up to on the concept of white supremacy 

And right now, they want their country back. 

They hate us. They are literally killing us. 

It’s sanctioned and promoted by our current administration. Every time I hear his lying, cheating, hateful voice, I want to crawl out of my skin.  


I am not alone in these anxious thoughts and feelings. 

We’re in a global pandemic. 

Many of us are feeling trapped.

Our normal has completely changed.  

We feel we’re being punished because our neighbors won’t behave and do their homework.

Everything is tenuous. 

Each day we wake up to more devastating news and death. 

It’s okay, not to be okay right now.

It’s okay to feel all of the feelings. 

It’s okay to be a complex human, thinking and feeling one thing one moment, and another in the next. 


There is no magic thing ...magic answer. 

There is no bag of tricks to outsmart these feelings or rush them away. 

Sometimes, we just have to live in discomfort. 

Discomfort is the spark --the key motivation for major change. 

So I don’t have to buy the thing --the adult tricycle, that really would be so cool.

Or do the thing --that would make everything better. 

I just have to keep moving.

Keep swimming.

Never give up.

Friday, July 24, 2020

All Hands on Deck

I thought the time of having “all hands” meetings for Kendal’s life was over. Especially since he moved to California. Apparently, I was wrong. 

He will be 25-years-old in September.

Over the years, we had countless I.E.P.(Individual Education Plan) meetings from the time he was 3-years-old until he was 22 when he finally finished with the school system. These annual (sometimes bi-annual) meetings involved a group of educators, administrators, therapists, counselors, and of course, us (his parents) sitting down to make sure that his educational and psychological goals were addressed.  

During his teen years through age 22, we also had quarterly PCP (Person-Centered Planning) meetings, where a group of mentors got together to help facilitate personal goals for his life. Past meetings have included teachers, his pastor, friends, therapists, always me, and sometimes his dad if he wasn’t traveling. 

This kid has been blessed with a shit-ton of support over the years. And yet, I could never do enough for him as far as he was concerned. 

The last time I wrote about him here, he just moved Back to Cali (where he was born and spent many summers growing up.) He is living in my niece’s home while he looks for a job and builds his own multi-level-marketing business. 

I love the additional distance between us. He has been happier than I've seen him in a long time since he’s been there. Like me, he loves L.A. and the California weather. He loves the progressiveness and diversity of the community in Los Angeles. He is getting more exposure to his own, black, culture than he ever has in his life. Being surrounded by so many successful black people makes him feel at home, accepted, less different, and motivated. 

With gyms closed due to Co-vid, he started working out at the beach, local parks, on “the hill” and on the “stairs”  in the affluent, primarily black, community of Baldwin Hills. 

It has been exciting for me to see him living in the community I still consider to be my home. 

His journey so far has not been immune to the ups and downs of life. It turns out that California’s sun does not solve all of life’s dilemmas. 

He moved there at the beginning of the CoVid shelter-in-place, at the end of April. Like the rest of us in the world, quarantine means he has not been able to move around as freely as he would like to. He has not been able to find employment, despite applying for many jobs. 

He has been working on self-development with my niece and personal training with her other nephew. Developing a positive self-image and an abundance mindset has been a large part of his daily goals. He’s also been working on his own health and weight loss. He makes daily motivational videos on Instagram and Facebook.

He has also been trying to develop this business of selling and recruiting people to sell a line of health products. In my opinion, that is a tall mountain to climb amid a declining economy. I know him to be a person who thrives from a schedule and knowing what to expect. The unpredictability has made the ups and downs and uncertainty in his life somewhat, difficult to navigate. 

Initially, he cut back on reaching out to me as often. However, when he has a negative thought or feeling, he is inclined to share it with me via incessant, phone calls, and texts. When I continued to hold a boundary and not engage with every-single-phone-call and text, he did not appreciate it. In fact, he told me so in some extremely unpleasant, straight-out, disrespectful, words. (And there went my heart-rate.) 

The blatant disrespect caused me to put up a stone wall between us instead of an open fence. We are at a point where I know for sure he can do better with the way he speaks to me. He does so with everyone else in his life. It's beyond time to crack all the way down on this behavior.

Not having daily/hourly access to me at first made his frustration at times overflow onto the family he is surrounded by. Let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty. We started seeing a lot of miscommunication with his aunts, uncles, cousins, and his grandma in Maryland. This culminated with my sweetest sister-in-law being caught up in the crossfire during a conversation in which he was seeking her advice. 

So it turns out that a thousand-plus-miles of separation does not mean he no longer gives me headaches or sends my heart-rate through the roof. Years of this behavior, worry, and traumatic events still have the amygdala in my brain on high-alert. I’ve been “fighting and flighting” for so long. My body automatically responds to stress from the smallest of triggers...even from a distance.

Because of all of the miscommunication (half-information being shared, splitting between family members, etc.) my niece decided to call a Family Meeting. Her goal was that we come together to set some expectations and be on the same page with our desire to help him focus on being successful with this transition to Los Angeles. 

The Zoom meeting included family from Dallas, Austin, and Los Angeles. On a midweek afternoon, everyone showed up to love and support him. There was a total of ten people including both of his brothers, us (his parents), his aunties, uncle, cousins, and new mentor/friend. An entire support network showed up and stayed for a 2-hour meeting that was all about him. 

If he can’t see the blessing in that, then I don’t know what else to tell him. I for one am extremely thankful for everyone showing up for me, and for loving my son. I know now that he has plenty of support. Everything isn’t on me. I can let go and not worry much.  

I have been his person for his entire life. I have been his person to the point of burnout, compassion fatigue, depression, and anxiety. I am saturated with years of compounded stress. 

You see, I am not just his person. I am the person, the caregiver, for my 80-year-old mother. (And she is a real piece of work. Another one who I can never do enough for.) I still provide support for my other sons,(especially the 21-year-old who still lives with me) and now my grandson, (which is a pure pleasure). Let's not forget my husband (who can never decide what to eat).

Meet my grandson Cayden

The good news is, that Kendal was receptive to all of the support on the Zoom Meeting. The men in our family have been stepping up, even more, to show up for him. Thus, giving his relationship with me some much-needed relief. 

Since the meeting, he had an interview and a possible job offer. We continue to talk less. It’s time for me to heal, show myself some compassion, self-care, and self-love. That endeavor is a continuous work in progress.

In other news, after being laid off from work due to CoVid 19, my youngest son has decided to re-enroll in college classes this semester. Not only that! He paid for it! Let us pray that this means he will not waste his money!

You can follow Kendal's daily motivational videos @beastmode.weaver on Instagram

You can also follow my daily antics and musings @kwesleywrites on Instagram

Friday, May 22, 2020

Quarantine Stories

Me on my front porch 
Before all of this
all I could think was
how much I want to get out of here
I was starving for adventure to stir my soul
freedom, quiet, alone, thinking, dreaming, writing,
seeing, feeling,
something beautiful
preferably and ocean
anywhere, but here


Universe says
“Not so fast, missy. Slow your roll.
No, I mean seriously.
Slow it, like it has never been before.”
No intoxicating excursion for your birthday
Appreciate the journeys you have already taken
They play on a highlight reel in your mind
See the memories like a film
--a brilliant, permanent, imprint on your soul
The journey is in your mind
It is the best kind
Write it down on paper
touch it
let it carry you through the ache
while the memories sustain you


Up in this Club Quarantine
DJ Nice fills our dreams
and lonely nights with music
the soundtrack of happier days
dancing in our pj’s
no requests
he just plays
what he wants
"Let it breathe"
as we stream
this party in our bedrooms
put it through the stereo
nice and slow
lay down in between
he puts on Prince
and I scream
like I used to do
when life was new
up again
music soothing like the wind
vibe making me
forget this hell of a reality
moving my body
after dark
is when it really sets off


I wake up wistful
same place, same thing
nothing happening
emptiness, gratitude
intertwined with profound sadness
not a lock-down
a slow down

Misplaced freedoms
more than before
grateful for health
wanting more
reminders everywhere
life can change in a heartbeat
not nice or neat
the energy
pushing away
negative thoughts as they emerge
uninvited guests
go home

Absence from the yoga studio
community, friendly smiles, humanity, energy
Appreciating I can breathe, freely
...not gasping for air in a cold, empty
 hospital room -left alone,
to die like many
unprecedented times
tired but alive

Craving the ocean
content with the breeze
front porch, sitting
newly blossomed red oak trees
belong to me
A family
of Blue Jays
make my home theirs
Squirrels scurry everywhere
looking for harvest
in the tall, green grasses

Surrounded by family
yet lonely
loving these folk desperately
but wanting to leave
missing friends
wanting to miss this family 
bored of their conversations
fatigued from negotiation
over dinner
a sushi picnic for one
in my car
chartreuse coffee cup
fill her up
white wine
don't tell nobody
palate heightened by wasabi
sunroof open -breeze blowing
sun setting
filling empty journal pages
thoughts and words
voices muted by time and spaces
sexy silence curated

Isn't it lovely

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Back to Cali

Did you know that my son Kendal was born in Burbank, California?
I was raised in Los Angeles.  I can't tell you what a dumb idea it was for us to move to Texas, but we did. We have always gone home frequently to visit the friends and family we left behind. That was a good thing for Kendal because he developed close relationships with our extended family.

Well ...he's going back to Cali. In fact, as I write this he is already there.
In my last couple of blog posts I told you all that we were working on relocating him from San Antonio. Our hope was to help him get an apartment closer to us in Austin.

Over the past few months, I did everything I could to try to help him with this transition. I went down to San Antonio, tried to connect him with agencies, looked at rooms for rent, and roommate situations. I brought him up here and took him for job interviews and to check out apartments.

As with most things when it comes to him, the process was extremely frustrating. He argues for something in one moment, and against it in the next. I understand that most of this is based on fear and anxiety, but it's still aggravating to deal with. After years of battles with him, I am fried. Burnt out --to a crisp.

He’s at this precarious place on the spectrum where he’s smart enough to know he wants the best possible life. He wants to do something grand. And yet, he's missing a few of the links on exactly how to get there.

I could be wrong, but I think he's in a self-imposed competition with his father, his brothers, and the rest of the world for what he perceives to be success. He fights an inner battle with the autism diagnosis. It makes him feel less than others. In fact, he has told me that I make him feel like there is something wrong with him. At this point, I am used to being blamed for everything.

I try to encourage him with the “different ability” speech and the “everyone has a unique gift to offer the world. Every job is important. There is no less than or better than. We are all just trying to contribute to society.” He buys into it for a while, and then he doesn’t.

He is an adult --free to make his own dumb life decisions (just like I did). Just like we all do. I can not protect him from his choices. Lord knows I have tried. Protecting your child from the world never works because it’s really not your job. It's their journey. Good, bad, and in-between. It makes them stronger.

Kendal has this entrepreneurial spirit. He doesn’t want to be the “average working guy with a job he doesn’t like for twenty or thirty years.” (A line I believe he heard on a motivational video on YouTube --the bane of existence). He has repeated this to me at every turn for the past two years.

We encourage him to take further steps in his independence and education. He fights back with the stance, “I don’t want to be average. I don't want some cookie-cutter program that everyone else follows."

Can you feel my eyes rolling?

He has never had a job he didn’t like. In fact, he has loved most of the jobs that he’s had. He has never been without work since leaving high school. He thrives on a routine, schedule, and known expectations.

At the same time, he wants more. He wants to “own his own business and have unlimited income,” whatever that means.  This is a dream that we as his parents could not get behind. At least not until he builds the very basic foundations of life.

How are you going to run a business when you have a hard time managing your own finances? When you have the opportunity to save, you spend, impulsively.

We are of the mindset that you need to have your bases covered, i.e. income for food, shelter, medication, transportation, and managing your own finances. Perhaps some education on how the world works, in general, might just be a good idea. He is intelligent and hard-working, but sometimes he can be naive and vulnerable.

I showed him examples of others in our family who are entrepreneurs.  My brother has had countless businesses over the years. He also always had a very well-paying job with benefits to cover his bases.

My niece is an independent Cinematographer.  She went to college, worked for free as an intern, built a portfolio, and got into film school.

My sister owned her own hair salon for years. She had formal training, a license, and built a clientele before she could open her own salon.

I spent five years as a Real Estate Agent. I also had a part-time job with a property management company to make sure that I could pay my rent, in case a deal didn't close or a buyer wandered off...

You can't skip the steps and go from zero to one hundred. First, you take steps one through ten, and so on, until you reach your goal.

I even tried to take myself out of the equation of figuring out his next steps. I hired a  Counselor to do Case Management to help him find an affordable place to live up here (near us) and a new place to work. She is a contact that I know because she used to work in our school district with teens and young adults.  I couldn't get the government agencies up here to work with him during Co-Vid. Most of them are barely operating.

He would not follow through with her.  He would only allow her to help him so much before there was push back.

To top things off Co-vid 19 happened. He had a job offer that was pulled back after the shut-down.

The bottom line is, I think there was a shitload of fear that got in the way of him moving forward. Maybe he just wasn't ready to live by himself, even with supports. Maybe the uphill battle that it would take to make that happen was not the path for either of us right now.

He told me straight out, he does not want to be controlled by us (his parents). If he got into a living situation that we helped support, he would feel obligated to do things "our way."

My niece offered for him to come and live with her in her home in Los Angeles and help him figure things out. She also has that entrepreneurial spirit, although she has an education, experience, and a foundation of homeownership to go along with it.

He believes that this is his chance to carve out his way in the world, without being obligated or controlled by his parents. I get that. And he goes.

I am beyond tired of the fight to help him when he clearly fights against me at every turn.  No matter how much he asks for my help, every day, ten times a day.

I can not say concretely, what his plan is once he gets there or if he will even stay.

Do I have fears? Absolutely. I won’t bore you with the long list. The first one starting with putting him on an airplane during Covid-19. Again, I can caution him and ask him to take the steps to mitigate his exposure. I can not fully protect him. I pray for his health and safety and then let it go.

When we took him to the airport thankfully, it was nearly empty. I pray that means that his contact with others was limited.

He has a place to live with a family member, who is not ME. My siblings and friends all live in California. He will have more of a support system than he did in San Antonio, with only his brother. If shit hits the fan, he has family there.

I personally offer no guarantees of help and have no plans of being involved in his day to day decisions. As his parents, our offer of support remains where we live, in Texas. I have no idea if this move will be permanent or not. With Covid-19 happening right now, the job market is crap.

He recently got involved in a network marketing business that has something to do with vitamins and weight loss. He has been drawn to the health and fitness world since he lost 100 pounds a few years ago.  He is determined to try these different “roads to wealth.” I hope he pleasantly surprises us. Maybe, he can buy me that house by the beach I’ve always wanted.

He will be on quarantine-shelter-in-place when he gets there. He will have a safe place to live until he figures things out.

My niece used to work as a Social Worker. She is raising my nephew who just turned 18 and is finishing high-school. She is a person who could get Kendal to eat green vegetables when he visited L.A. in the summers and on holidays while growing up.  I couldn’t get him to open his mouth to taste anything green. She is not me. He has always done better with anyone who is not me.

I was praying for a solution that did not involve him coming back home. God opened that door, and he walked through it.

I have given him my all for nearly 25 years.
I am thankful and hopeful for this next chapter in his life.
I’m going to crawl even further into the backseat now.
I think I may even take a nap.