It’s The Cycle of Life, Not Generational Curses

“Break generational curses!” they scream. If they were carrying lit torches it would look much like a witch hunt. Oh, how Alpha and Omega of us. Godlike, no? To think we know best? Also known as narcissistic. As in, having an excessive view of oneself in the parenting department.

Sure. Please give the job of parenting your best shot. It’s great to see people actively parenting the children they choose to have. But, don’t be so naive to think that just because you do the exact opposite of what your parents did, that you can’t or won’t go on to make your own cycles. I can guarantee you, you did, or will. I was naive enough once too, to believe that all it would take to create a great human being and have a good relationship with my child into adulthood was to parent correctly. Hahaha! Even thinking there is a correct way to parent now makes me laugh.

Food for thought: all the parenting advice you’re reading and doing now, will be wrong when your kids have kids. Two decades after you thought you had all the answers, they may see you as toxic or as something to break. That’s what people who are shouting to break generational curses are doing and saying. That they somehow think their way of parenting will help them rise above any problems later on.

Dream on Alice.

Of course, we want people to do their best when they decide to have children, but our best doesn’t always matter in the end. And it’s not a guarantee that you will always have a relationship with your child once they are an adult.

If you have small children and are screaming about breaking generational curses, please know that your children aren’t even close to being fully formed humans yet, so you may want to grab onto some humility there and pump your breaks. If you have no children, please sit down and talk about things you have personal experience with. Thank you.

If you have adult children and are still screaming to break generational curses, please stop. There are different stages to adulthood. What you see in their twenties, may not be what they are in their thirties. No matter how seriously you take parenting, or how perfect you think you were at it, you can’t know what issues lie ahead of you.

Please stop thinking that difficult cycles end with good parenting. They do not. And it’s toxic, narcissistic, and arrogant to think they do, not to mention a slap in the face to the millions of good parents without a relationship with an adult child. Learn to be insightful enough to realize there is so much more at play in the making of a human than just us and how we raise them. Things we have no control over.

You may in fact break the cycle of abuse, but you may go on to create other cycles — just like your adult children will with their children, and on and on and on… how it all comes out in the wash is a complete and utter crapshoot.

Being estranged from an adult child can feel like the ultimate failure on our part. We’re absolutely sure we did something wrong. And maybe we did? But, we can’t change it now. This is called LIFE. It’s human nature. And nature is cyclical. Ups, downs. Certain characteristics skip generations, only to show up in another. We change and grow. They change and grow. Some choose to stay the same and wither. Sometimes we outgrow others. People leave, only to come home again. We fight and make-up. Fighting to break this natural pattern to life will only break us and destroy the rest of our lives. Instead of fighting to break generational curses, learn and do better, but let’s try to dissolve our egos and stop thinking we have all the answers.

We do not.

Welcome to the Cycle of Life!

Please fasten your seatbelts and keep arms inside the car until the ride comes to a complete stop. Thank you!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Stop! Parenting is Not the End-All-Be-All of How Our Kids Turn Out!

Did you know that believing our children are who they are as adults —is because of our parenting— is narcissistic in and of itself? I didn’t get this point either until my therapist pointed out that by ruminating over and willingly accepting responsibility for an adult child’s bad behavior toward me, I was actually being narcissistic and codependent. In other words, — I thought that any time anything went wrong with the relationship, it must have been something I did or did not teach him as a child. It took a lot of soul searching and reflection (good thing I write memoir) to actually get her point. I was too hard-headed thinking that because I was a single mother that everything he did, or didn’t do, reflected on me as his mom. It doesn’t. And, if you’re having a difficult time with an adult child, it’s not a reflection for you either.

Sure, we have to give them the best start possible in life by parenting with a balance of love, encouragement, praise — and discipline, consequences and boundaries, — but then much of our influence ends. Sometimes it ends right at eighteen. Sometimes later in their twenties, or even early thirties… but it does end. And what you see in them is the accumulation of their own lived experiences. Much of what was taught and emulated for them in childhood has long been forgotten and only their immediate circumstances prevail.

The next time your adult child hurts your feelings by being disrespectful, or downright cruel, try not to think it’s because you did something wrong as a parent. Hell, maybe you did? But, that has nothing to do with them now. And their behavior is their choice. Think about this and let yourself off the hook for their adult behavior. There are things going on in their lives we know nothing about — just like there were things going on in our lives as we were raising them, they knew nothing about.

*This post is not condoning abuse or saying we need to put up with it. We do not.

All the Turbulence that is Marriage: Please Fasten Seatbelts

Through a conversation with my hubby the other night, we stumbled upon the title for the marriage memoir I’m hoping to write.

When you’re retired; which means tired all over again, you lounge and talk about the good ole days, even when they meant you were the most tired you’ve ever been in your life. We both even dream of doing our old jobs in our sleep.

As if we’re not tired enough…

My husband is a man of few words. But, he lights up and loves talking about his air traffic days, his love of weather patterns, and his thirty-four year career. He says he never dreaded going to work and loved that no day was exactly the same. It’s an intellectual job, not a lot of physicality to it, but he’d come home each day exhausted from the mental acuity and shift work it required. Once home, he was far from wanting to control anything.

That job was left to me: the Charge Nurse. The parentified child in childhood. And that worked for a very long time. Until it didn’t.

Please fasten seatbelts.

As he was describing correct phraseology as an Air Traffic Controller; something I’ve heard him recite for almost twenty years now, my ears perked-up like never before hearing this one phrase.

“Wait, what was that phrase again?

When he said it again, I yelled, “That’s it! That’s the title for our marriage memoir!”

I won’t tell you what it is now, [enter dramatic music,] but it’s a ridiculously good title for my third book based on all the turbulence that is marriage.

If you’d like to listen to my husband controlling air traffic, you can listen here.

The video/audio is called a “tape talk” where he was being evaluated by a supervisor for proper phraseology. It’s from his ATC communications from approximately the late 1980s or early 90’s.

He was a controller in the Air Force just before the strike of 1981, and was hired by the FAA in 1985. He worked at O’Hare tower (ORD) before working at Cleveland Air Traffic Control Center (ZOB ARTCC) in Oberlin Ohio. He retired in 2014.

I love when you’re doing something else; swimming, painting, riding biking, talking… and out of the blue, the Universe throws you a crumb. Thank you! 🙏🏼

Now, if I could just finish book two.

Currently, I’m still writing, but deciding where to stop the second memoir. In my opinion, a great memoir is about a superb ending that brings it all around on itself again. And sadly, sometimes the story we set out to write isn’t the one that gets told.

It’s a huge job to figure it all out, but one that I love dearly. I’m in love with trying to control the narrative at first, only to have it take on a life of it’s own halfway through when you become more of a receiver and less of a writer. It’s thee most fascinating process, ever. And I’m grateful I have the time to do it.

If you’re interested in part one, you can buy it here.

If you’d like to see the book trailer my hubby made for me on iMovie, you can see that here.

Errr. This is your Captain speaking, You may now move about the cabin freely.

Just kidding!

Is it Unused or Unallowed Creativity?

I belong to quite a few art groups and each day I’m amazed at just how much women have to give up in order to be loved, to exist, and to count in their own damn families. Still.

God forbid they be curious, find joy, and use their creativity. They have to live to serve others instead.

The stories I’ve read boil my blood.

—Women who can’t have a craftroom or small area in the house because their husband has a wood shop in the garage and an office in the house. There’s no room for her dreams.

— Women who are shoved down in the basement with no windows and no heat asking if anyone in the group has suggestions in lighting and heating sources so they can see and still craft in the cold. Her comfort doesn’t matter.

— One woman wrote that she and her husband were moving and he wouldn’t “allow her” to take her art supplies. She was in the group asking where they could be donated. And although many of the charities recommended in the group benefitted children and schools, she was heart-broken. Her belongings didn’t matter.

And my favorite: Women who aren’t “allowed” to have craft supplies because their husband’s think it’s a waste of their time and money– while they themselves have elaborate hobbies that involve guns, golf, and huge, expensive machinery, mancaves with popcorn machines, fully stocked bars, and 70-inch flatscreen TV’s…

That would be the mother-fucking day.

I’ve read about husbands who:

*Don’t want things strewn across the kitchen table where they eat.
*Don’t want the added expense from their wallets.
*Don’t want their wives to spend time away from tending to their needs.
*Men who don’t want to put together furniture or help his wife set up a separate room because he can’t fit it into his T-time for a round of golf with his buddies.

One woman took a photo of a large piece of furniture still in the box she bought from IKEA that sat in the garage for six months because her husband refused to help her. When she finally found the gumption to do it herself she discovered it was ruined from water damage.

It all makes me so mad I want to spit.

Oftentimes, if she’s determined enough, she does get a room. And she proudly shows a photo of it saying she did all the heavy lifting and assembly by herself. — You go girl!

I’ve been dabbling at the kitchen table; first painting sweatshirts with puff paints (‘member those?) and later I painted ceramics when my son was little. When my kids were teens and the bedrooms were filled, I sat at the kitchen island and painted and art journaled at the dining room table we rarely used.

Brene Brown says that, “Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow and shame.”

You know what that fuels?

Dis-ease.

I process some very benign things in my art journal. What typically comes up are flowers, positive quotes and bright colors because that’s who I am at my core. Happy.

But, I also process deep pain there too. Sometimes my art is the colors of a bruise. Sometimes shades of dripping red with black angry messages from gaping wounds that will not heal. They are not pretty pages, but when I’m done, I feel better. It’s up and out of my body, my head… where it can’t hurt me or others. And I just close the book on them when I’m done or rip them out and throw them away.

I’m lucky to have graduated from a kitchen table to an actual room of my own after my kids left the house. But, I didn’t ask. I took.

I’m lucky to have a husband who enjoys seeing me following my joy. And he’s damn lucky he does too. Because I am that kind of bitch who won’t be pushed back in her seat and told she doesn’t matter.

Ladies! If you want a room of your own, don’t ask! Take! Take up space! Stake your claim! Carve out a place for just you! It doesn’t need to be elaborate or even huge. Use old Goodwill furniture, cheap Dollar store supplies and shoebox storage if you have to, but just don’t lose your freedom to create. It’s so important for everybody’s health, but especially for us women who repeatedly squish ourselves up against the walls of small spaces and who already give so much to so many.

Please stop putting yourself on the back burner and begging to exist in your own damn family.

Art for Healing

Art helps us talk to ourselves, encourage ourselves, and channel messages for ourselves and others that I believe come from a source outside ourselves. Art is my time to not think. And it’s amazing what comes through when the mind is not trying to control the outcome. It’s time to experiment, make mistakes, and see what works and what doesn’t.

Even when you’re telling yourself to focus, the mind gets to play with what distraction looks like on a page.

Instead of gears turning in the head on the image I was working on, my inner child wanted mandalas. Because in the art world, it’s whatever I want. Yay!

Later, one of the mandalas became a flower. An idea growing, maybe? I take it to mean what I’ve always known, without knowing I knew… and that is we can change our minds from robotic to blooming. From mundane to colorful. From traumatized to healed. Something I’ve consistently worked on.

In an art journal, you can allow spinning chaos, and confusion to slowly turn into a pretty yellow flower with a green stem. When we step back and look at the bigger picture we realize that underneath all the people we’ve been (and are becoming,) all things we’ve had happen to us, we are not reduced in size, just changed over time.

The quote that came to me:
“I can be changed by what happened to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou.

The easiest and cheapest kind of therapy you can do is play in an art journal.

What healthy outlet do you have that helps you stay sane?