Raising Kevin

Tomorrow Kevin turns 20. 20 years ago a little baby boy entered the world, and like most mothers, I had dreams and hopes for him. Mostly to have a life full of love and joy. To learn about the world and to become a man that will contribute to making it a little better.

Truth be told, Kevin is still at home. No job. No school. He’s not doing much of anything. I know that society does not approve, but there is so much more than what meets they eye when it comes to Kevin.

Have you seen the Netflix series, “Raising Dion”? It’s about a little boy who is born with super powers, and his single mom tries to help him navigate the situation by helping him to control his powers so that they don’t hurt others or himself. It’s a fun little show depicted from a comic book so of course conflicts are resolved in tidy little boxes and where heroes save the day!

In some way Kevin was born with “super powers.” Powers that disabled him rather than enhanced him, and boy did I have a lot of difficulty navigating on how to help him control those powers.

Kevin was more than a strong willed child; more than stubborn. Kevin at a very young age was already having feelings of depression and mania along with aggression and low self esteem. In addition he was having some sleep issues which contributed to decreased function of every day tasks. He was suspended from school a few times for some violence, and power struggles with teachers.

I did everything the parenting books told me to do. I punished him, I took away privileges, I even tried positive reinforcement. I tell the story often about how it took FOUR hours to get him to sit on the naughty step for four minutes (since he was four), as taught by Super Nanny. Remember her? NOTHING was working. He continued to act out, have tantrums. and deep down I felt like something was off.

When I divorced his dad, his condition only got worse. What you have to understand is that Kevin witnessed some domestic violence, resulting in watching his dad get hand cuffed and taken away. So naturally, I took him to family therapy. From there, we had him evaluated. I was told that he had anxiety and depression. We had a sleep study done, and it turns out he had restless leg syndrome. His pediatrician gave him a prescription of Clonidine to help him sleep along with Iron supplements to help with his restless leg syndrome. It seemed like it was working, he fell asleep and woke up with no issues.

Here is where it started to get complicated. It turns out that there are some medical doctors out there who believe that children should not be taking drugs that alter their brain. I was told that as his parent it was my responsibility to make sure I was actually parenting him to help him get better. I was told, no, SHAMED, that I wasn’t giving him proper sleep hygiene and that eventually with a consistent night routine his brain would mature and he would sleep better. So we took him off the Clonidine.

When Kevin continued to show defiant behavior and threating suicide, or at least telling his peers and teachers that he wanted die or he was better off dead, we had him evaluated again. So I found a Social Worker, male, to help Kevin navigate his life. Kevin also started seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed some meds to help with depression and anxiety.

Little did we know, Kevin was hiding the pills. I even would make him take them in front of me as I looked inside his mouth to see that he had swallowed them.

When it was time to check in with the psychiatrist we reported that we saw very little to no change in Kevin, again we didn’t know he was hiding the pills, she adjusted the dosage.

After a few weeks, still no change.

I remember sitting in her office reporting that I was frustrated and that no matter what I did it did not help. I described to her how in one incident during a school function, that I thought would be fun for family, Kevin did not want to participate. I pushed him. So Kevin, angry at me, decided to walk home. Our home was five miles away, and it was already dark outside. Out of my frustration, I let him. Of course we ended up picking him up after about 10 minutes and went home stressed and agitated.

The psychiatrist then looks at me and tells me that Kevin’s problem is that I needed to grow up and be the mature adult. It was very childish of me to let Kevin walk home. Basically all of Kevin’s issues were parenting issues.

By the time Kevin was in high school, we continued to see him struggle. He barely made it to class and I received several notices from the school that Kevin was truant so much they were going to call the police. All the way up to his Senior year I found myself once again having teacher parent conferences regarding Kevin’s behavior, and just like all the others, this one ended just the same — it was a parenting issue.

Last summer Kevin was hospitalized because his depression was so bad. I thought for sure after that experience he would want to get his shit together and make something of himself. He was supposed to follow through with a therapist and take the meds the doctor prescribed him. He did not.

So here we are. My 20 year old lives at home with no job, no school, no life.

Looking from the outside in, it’s probably a parenting issue right? I mean why not just kick the kid out? Why are boundaries not in place?

Yes, you would be right if Kevin was a “normal” lazy kid who just wants to stay home and play video games all night.

But Kevin is not a “normal” lazy kid. Kevin has a mental illness. A true mental illness that disables him. One of the symptoms is called “Anosognosia.” What is Anosognosia? NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) defines it this way: When we talk about anosognosia in mental illness, we mean that someone is unaware of their own mental health condition or that they can’t perceive their condition accurately. Anosognosia is a common symptom of certain mental illnesses, perhaps the most difficult to understand for those who have never experienced it.

This explains why Kevin won’t take his meds and won’t talk to a therapist. We are not talking about someone who is in “denial” but rather- When someone rejects a diagnosis of mental illness, it’s tempting to say that he’s “in denial.” But someone with acute mental illness may not be thinking clearly enough to consciously choose denial. They may instead be experiencing “lack of insight” or “lack of awareness.” The formal medical term for this medical condition is anosognosia, from the Greek meaning “to not know a disease.”

Now that we know what is truly going on, I can actually parent him the way HE NEEDS TO BE parented. There is a way to help these individuals who suffer from this condition, and after watching some webinars on how to talk and help these people get the treatment they need, this Mama is full of hope that Kevin will in fact be a productive member of society one day.

It will not happen over night, and it will not be easy. Simply, because I have no say on his medical treatment now that he is an adult.

This has been the most challenging journey of parenthood I have ever experienced!!! Mental Health for children, especially twenty years ago, is still stigmatized and making the correct diagnosis is tricky.

I cry a lot and hurt a lot for Kevin. Who wants to see their kid this way? What’s worse is not being able to fix it!! I don’t talk a lot about Kevin or his condition, because I’m still learning myself and the fear of shame that comes with telling people that my kid isn’t doing anything with his life right now.

I will end by saying that this whole experience has humbled me as a parent and an educator. I know more than ever that we cannot look from the outside in and think that a problem child is a result of inconsistent and inappropriate parenting. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is something else. In the end, we need to love people more and share more encouraging words rather than judge them and write them off.


Our Family Story Chapter 4

The burial took place in the little village by the little adobe church. The sun peeked behind grey clouds surrounded by the grey sky looking down upon the grey ground. The cross on the top of the church still gleamed. The family surrounded the homemade coffin made of pinon tree. The priest gave the blessing and handed the blessed crucifix to Mama who was still crying. Ofelia and the other siblings placed a special object on top of the coffin. Ofelia chose a toy truck. They use to play together on their free time with that little blue truck, pretending to drive to town and buy as much candy as they wanted.

Papa and the other men began to fill the hole with their shovels when the coffin was lowered deep in the ground. Soon, the entire coffin was covered with rich desert dirt. And now the only reminder of little Juanito was a big lump of dirt, a cross head stone, and some flowers. Everyone comforting each other that Juanito had gone to a better place.

 Ofelia cried herself to sleep that night wondering if her heart would ever heal from the pain of her family’s grief. To think that she would experience many more heart aches as her journey continues, as this was only the beginning. 

Living without Juanito left the family empty. Papa would not talk about him, and he seemed to drink a little more beer than usual. Mama seemed a little less herself, a little more serious, a little more protective.

Down the road Polo, the baby of the family, spots someone walking down the road.  It was Tia Maria. “Mama!! Tia Maria! She is here!” yelled Polo. ,

 Mama greeted her at the door.  “Maria! It is good to see you!”  They embraced for a bit. 

“Hola Eolojia! Come estas?” asked Maria. 

“Oye, muy triste…so depressed. It’s been a hard few weeks,” as tears welled up in her eyes.

“Si, well I am here now.” They walked towards the kitchen. 

For dinner Mama and Tia Maria made a huge dinner for everyone. Papa butchered a lamb and Tia Maria brought fresh oranges and baked a chocolate cake, Mama baked rolls and churned homemade butter. 

As the family sat to eat, everything started to feel better, and hope began to grow. They talked and exchanged stories, and the kids running around with laughter once again. 

Our Family Story Chapter 3

“Ohhh!” Ofelia wakes up to the sound of groaning. Juanito was in bed crying in pain. Mama was patting a cold cloth on his forehead. “He’s burning up!”  

“What’s wrong with him?” asks Ofelia scared. 

“It seems that he has broken his hip.” Mama sighs. 

“Will he be able to walk again?” 

“We need to take him to the doctor, but the only doctor lives in Taos.” There was a long eerie silence. “We don’t have any money to pay the doctor anyway.” Mama’s voice was starting to shake, her lower lip quivering. 

“Comm’on hita, lets make breakfast. and pray for your hermano.” 

That day Mama stayed by Juanito’s side, trying to get him to eat and drink, but the pain would not settle. The fever would not break. Ofelia was in charge of prepping and cooking the family meals while Mama tended to her baby boy. While working Ofelia whispered prayers for God to heal her little brother.

Each day he seemed to get a little worse. Juanito was not recovering and Mama was exhausted. She stayed up as much as she could to tend to him. 

That night Ofelia was praying extra hard, and lit extra candles of the Virgin. She prayed to the Mother of God that He would exchange her life for her brother’s. She begged and she pleaded. When she slowly walked to the bed side of Juanito she saw her Mama leaned over his body, crying. Papa had is hand on her back and his head bowed, tears dropping to the wooden floor. The moon light shone through the window and the candles that were lit on the alter enlarged the shadows of her parents.

 Ofelia’s heart stopped, she felt small and the shadows on the wall seem to enclose around her. “No!” she whispered. She squinted trying to keep the tears from coming, to cry meant to accept the reality of her brother’s death. If she could keep from crying, maybe it would be a bad dream. Her throat could not hold it in anymore. The lump jumped out and she fell to her knees. The tears did come, and her brother was dead. 


Promoting kindness seems everywhere these days. I see it on bumper stickers, posters, FB and Instagram posts and most certainly in schools. I even have a poster that says “Be Kind” on my door in my classroom.

Sometimes I get very cynical with the notion. Don’t get me wrong, I whole heartedly believe that we should be kind. Maybe it’s the way the message is being conveyed that makes me chuckle in disbelief- “Be kind? Us? Ha!” First of all, how bossy are those bumper stickers? Second of all, nobody tells me what to do! I’ll be kind when I want to be kind, and only when it benefits me!

I can’t be the only one who feels this way, right?

In reality though, what does it really mean to be kind, because I personally believe that being kind is one of the hardest things to do. It’s like asking me to like cilantro. NO THANKS!

Be kind to the person who cuts me off while driving? NOPE!

Be kind to the person who is rude to me at the store? DON’T THINK SO!

Be kind to the person who insults me in an email? YEAH RIGHT!

I’ll be kind to the person who strokes my ego, lifts up my wounded heart, and agrees with me about my politics and values, thank you very much!

See, kindness does exist, but it only exists tribally! You see, the root word for kindness is kin and kind, in other words, kindness is what I extend to my kin. So I’ve been wondering- is it really kindness when I only extend it to my kin, to those who are like me? In my own experience, that is where kindness ends.

So how do we promote kindness when we really don’t know how to do it?

I think a lot of us are trying, but it certainly isn’t easy. It’s something that takes up a lot of conscious effort and humility to really be kind to someone who is so different from us, and especially to someone who has been unkind to us.

I remember reading once, “Do not be concerned with how others treat you, rather be concerned about how YOU treat others.” In reality we live the opposite way- and so we have a lot of unkind people in the world.

So maybe promoting kindness has more to do with ourselves and how we treat others, and in all of this, the first and most important person to be kind to is ourselves! After all, practice is what makes this doable, and progress not perfection, is what the goal should be.

I’ll still probably cuss the person out who cuts me off of traffic, because nothing pisses me off more, but I want to be more aware of my interactions with others and do my best to be kind, because what the world needs right now, more than ever, is kindness!

Love Always

Our Family Story Chapter 2

The story continues for Ofelia, if you haven’t read chapter 1 yet, you can find it here in my blog. Enjoy!

“Hola! Come estas hermano?” Papa always greeted the store merchant with such respect. “I have lots of potatoes for you today.” 

“Es muy bueno, gracias! Hola Ofelia, you grow so much every time I see you!” He lifted her up from the back of the wagon and set her on the ground. “Gracias Mr. Martinez!” She runs inside ready to purchase her candy. 

Papa and Mr. Martinez start bringing in the sacks of potatoes inside of the store.  Ofelia admired their strength and hoped that one day she would meet a man as strong as her Papa. 

Looking out the window, Ofelia could see the remains of the burnt buildings in the Taos Plaza from the fire a few weeks ago. It was a devastating event because the buildings in the plaza were contiguous which meant the one fire would spread to others. “How’s the rebuilding going?” asks Papa to the merchant. 

“Slow.” he answers. “I think the town is getting ready to establish a fire station and public water to limit the fires we have been experiencing.” The Hotel seemed to have dodged the flames.” 

“That’s good. At least we can still have tourists come visit.” 

“Perhaps.” says the merchant. “Until they decide to move here and try and change our village.” 

“True,” Jose says empathetically. Running a business was hard, especially after the recession of 1929, and with fires burning down some essential business with no insurance, the town was an economic bomb shell. “I need some flour, oats and dried beans please.”  He looks over to Ofelia and smiles. 

“Sure thing hermano! And you young lady, what can I get for you?”  She points to the candy in the jar. “Some of those please!” She couldn’t wait. popped one in her mouth and both the merchant and Jose chuckle at her enthusiasm. 

As Jose loads up the wagon. Ofelia enjoys the sweetness of the candy. “Don’t tell your mama about letting you eat that candy before dinner hija.” 

“Oh I won’t papa!” 

The ride home was quiet and lucid. Ofelia’s mind was a little worried about her families well being, and knew they were really hurting since she wasn’t allowed to go to school anymore. She was happy to help, but at the same time wish she could do more. 

When they arrived home, Ofelia could see her brothers digging the holes for the fence posts. She runs inside to show off her candy.  Meanwhile Papa was asking her younger brother Juanito to unhitch the horses and ride them back into the barn. He was a little green with this chore, being only 6 years old, but it was expected that everyone pitch in in some way.

The scream caught everyone off guard. 

Mama sprinted to the sound. Ofelia’s eyes widened. It all seemed like what she was witnessing was moving in slow motion.

Juanito was on the ground and the horse was out of control. Jose grabs his rifle, “NO!!” yells mama, trying to take the gun away from her husband. “Let me go!” He runs towards the horse and BOOM! Mama leaned in and saw that her little boy was till breathing.  Papa lifted him up and carried him into the house. 

What it seems

The world is dark

Everyone angry lost hungry

The mountains hiding behind haze and smoke

facemasks hanging low and high and ripped off and fuck off

Everyone hangry for beauty understanding violence hope- yes hangry for hope

nothing fulfills nothing satisfies

busy schedules vacations stuff and more stuff

Starving for touch and truth

money brings hope or is it lust

division by color-division just because

nobody cares so nobody cares

light will keep shining and shining and shining

it’s there

in books art love music color – so many colors

hidden in smiles and eyes that see beyond self

The world reborn everyday to those weary worried washed away

And so it is what it seems

Our Family Story

Chapter 1

The bright sun was warm against her face. Sweat was forming on her sunburnt forehead. She knelt and picked a potato off the green plant and placed it in her basket. It was almost full of all the others she had harvested. She wiped her forehead and she could hear the children laughing and playing at the school yard just beyond her house. Her curiosity got the better of her and she snuck away and  peered through the wooden fence of the small school yard. She saw the little boys and girls swinging on the rope tire, others playing tag, some just playing marbles. Her heart yearned to be there, but she knew she could not attend. It wasn’t that her father didn’t believe in education, it was that he needed her to help with the farm. “Ofelia!” yelled papa yanking her back to reality.  She immediately ran back, she learned at an early age to obey papa, otherwise the leather belt or skinny tree branch would leave marks on her bottom. 

 “Com’mon hita, finish up! We have to go into town tomorrow to sell these potatoes.” 

“Yes, Papa!” she frowned.  

They worked until the sun began to fall behind the mountains, which overlooked the entire village.  Ofelia always stopped to admire the colors of the sunset. The oranges, reds, purples, and how the clouds had a glow that gave her a sense of peace and love. The sun quickly sinking or perhaps being swallowed by the mountain, not knowing where the sun would go to rest. 

As they walked into their little adobe house, Mama was in the kitchen making tortillas and frijoles.  Ofelia could smell the dough being cooked on the fire stove and hear the pot  of beans boiling. Ofelia loved cooking and baking with her mama. No cookbooks, no written recipes, though it didn’t matter to her because she couldn’t read anyway. She just memorized the ingredients they had on hand.  The Great Depression had hit their family hard so they learned how to stretch every meal so that everyone in the family could eat. 

It was a quaint little village called Arroyo Seco where her parents settled after the Mexican War.  Being born in the United States automatically gave them and their children citizenship and all the rights that came with it, such as making a living, going to school, and paying taxes. The night was chilly and the stars were  twinkling a little more than usual. The night sky always gave quite a show when the air was cool. There was something about looking up at the stars the drew her closer to her faith. She prayed daily and continually to this God and her family belonged to the little adobe catholic church that sat on top of the little hill of the village.  “Oye, vete dormir, it’s getting late!” her sister nudged her. “Okay, okay.” Ofelia annoyed and excited. In the morning they would be headed to the main town of Taos. It meant a day of riding in the wagon and visiting shops and other family members. Ofelia was saving some money to buy some of that sweet candy she was gifted last Christmas by her papa. Salty and sweet which gave her soul the satisfying relief of hope that life could be sweet. 

There were no dreams that night. Leaving to Taos meant leaving way before the sun peeked over The Mountain. No time to dream when you have to wake up that early. Mama made coffee, fried potatoes and scrambled eggs from their chickens.  Ofelia helped her make the tortillas. The family ate around the homemade table that was still not big enough to fit everyone, but somehow they managed to do so. 

“Make sure you feed the sheep and dig the holes for the posts while we’re gone hito.” papa yelled at the older bother Juan. “I know, Papa! No te preocupes, don’t worry.” 

“El dice ,No te preocupes,  so he says, last time you forgot to lock the chickens up after feeding them, remember. It took four hours and one dead chicken to get them back in! Don’t dare lose that sheep!” 

“Si, tonto!” Laughed the younger brother Polo. 

“Shut up!!” yelled Juan. 

“Vente, it’s time to go.”  Papa announced, trying to break the rivalry between the brothers.  Papa leans into Mama and kisses her on the cheek. “Be careful,” as she looks with worried eyes. 

Ofelia got to ride in the back of the wagon with all the sacks of potatoes. The ride was bumpy and slow. The family could not afford a horseless carriage, so they continued to use the old wagon that served their family for two generations. 

The wagon was not covered so Ofelia was able to enjoy the view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The sun was rising and Ofelia was so grateful, she was starting to get a little cold and she loved the warmth of the sun. 

A few hours later, Ofelia could see the Pueblo and she knew that meant they were almost there. She dug in her pockets and felt the loose change. She could taste the sweet candy on her tongue. Little did she know, that the day would not go as she had hoped. 

Let Your Light Shine

Did you know that the stars in our galaxy come in many different sizes and luminosity? In fact, our own star, the sun, is very small in comparison to the majority of the stars in our universe.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a small town where there is little light pollution, so star gazing was one of my favorite pass times. There is nothing more breath taking then watching the dark velvet sky splattered with so many stars it literally makes your heart stop.

It’s true that some stars shine brighter than others. In fact, the brightest stars are not only the largest, they have the shortest life span. This is because they burn through their fuel quickly, very much like a large vehicle burning its fuel quickly in order to produce energy and burn through your wallet. I also read somewhere that we are made from the same stuff stars are made out of, and well, that just made me feel giddy inside.

I mean, technically that means we are all stars! All shiny and twinkly and well, different from all the others too. Some do shine more brightly than others, and some live a long time and some barely shine for a moment, before they die, because even stars have to die.

And doesn’t this little astronomy lesson give us a bit of a metaphor for life and death? I mean, we may never understand why we have to die, or what the whole meaning of life is, only that we feel the immense joy of new life and the immense pain of losing life. What I find the most interesting is when a star dies, it usually explodes and expands and sometimes shines brighter or creates a black hole.

And so it is with us, right? I mean when someone dies, we tend to see that person’s life in a more luminated way don’t we? Suddenly we realize just how far and wide and bright this person shone while living- if the person was good of course, and I do believe the majority of us are good. We see the smile, the laughter, the tears, the prayers, the struggles, the achievements, the emotions, in a whole other light.

And just like those stars that shine the brightest, the people who also seem to live their life the brightest among us, have the shortest life span. And I can’t think of any worse kind of tragedy in our world.

So with all that pain and confusion and anger and sadness of losing someone too soon, I think we need to listen to the way they lived their life. We need to remember that these people showed us that it is not about the duration of our life, but the donation of it. It is not about how long we live, but how we live that matters the most.

I think we need to stop attaching the “missing out” experiences as the losses that pain us. Does it really matter if I never see the Eiffel Tower? Does it really matter if I never earned that degree? Does it really matter that I ride in a hot air balloon? Bucket lists are great, but they are not what makes our life worth living. Nobody ever says, “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) on their death bed. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go and have adventures, but what makes those adventures worth it is WHO are doing it with. When you stop and reflect about a person’s life, you tend to realize that their love, their LIGHT is what mattered the most, not what they did.

So I leave you with my favorite poem, in which explains that our light was not meant to be hidden.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were all meant to shine as children do.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

Love Always

Live and Let Live

When life seems harder than usual, and let’s face it, it has been, this little slogan, “Live and Let Live,” has gotten me through some really hurtful situations.

I love my family and I love the family I have married into, the family where I work, and the friendships that have developed into family. I am truly convinced that life’s true blessings are the ones that contain fulfilling relationships rather than the material things, which means the opposite is true- when relationships are difficult it causes a lot of stress and turmoil. When we are grieving the loss of a loved one, mending a broken heart, or trying to change the dynamics of relationships by placing boundaries or just simply outgrowing some of them, we tend to carry the pain with us and learn how to live a life different than what we are use to. I don’t know about you, but sometimes changes in my life are good and I welcome the change with open arms, whereas when changes that I think are negative, I tend to resist and try to control the outcome in some insane way.

Whatever the reason, our little life here on Earth is dependent on the relationships we build with others. So it makes sense why we hurt when we lose someone we love.

Death. Divorce. Break up. Moving away. New boundaries. These may cause negative stress

Birth. Marriage. Blending Families. Making new friends at work, sports, hobbies etc. These may cause positive stress.

But when you are cut off completely from someone’s life, especially from someone where it is difficult to have a nice clean cut off because you share the same family members and friends, not only hurts and causes harm to the person being cut off, but it also harms and hurts the other family members.

It’s one thing to set boundaries and still have dignity and respect for the person regardless of HOW you feel about them. But when you can’t enjoy birthdays, holidays and other mile stone celebrations because you have been ostracized can have really negative effects on you and the people around you.

I will never understand why. Why is it so hard to talk through misunderstandings? Why is it difficult to swallow our pride and just love the people we don’t really seem to agree with, or like?

Even after all the apologies, all the open doors to make amends, what more can a person do?

I can understand cutting off abusive people in all shapes and sizes. I can understand cutting off people who use you. I can understand cutting off harmful and manipulative people. But when it’s done to you and you and there is no chance for reconciliation??? That’s rough!

In other words, as one psychologist wrote, “in less than grave scenarios our American love affair with the needs and rights of the individual conceals how much sorrow we create for those we leave behind. We may see cutting off family members as “courageous” rather than avoidant and selfish. We can convince ourselves that it’s better to go it alone than to do the work it takes to resolve conflict. Some problems may be unresolvable, but there are also relationships that don’t need to be lost forever.” (emphasis mine)

I am not saying that everyone should be best buddies, but we should be very careful and be more aware about the relationships we have, because more than likely, our individual relationships involves way more people than just the people who have been cut off, causing harm, sorrow, and hurt.

So when I feel the hurt and pain of this situation in my life, I mutter quietly to myself, “LIVE AND LET LIVE,” which to me means, I will live my life in peace, and allow others to live their life in peace, even when it hurts.

Love Always

A Year of Closures

When the world shut down a year ago I, like all the others, did not know the outcome of the future. Strolling through social media and you can tell that many of my friends were handling it in many different ways. Some were silent, some rolled up their sleeves and went to work helping others in need, others used humor and wit with their memes and posts. I have been spending a lot of time in self-reflection and dealing with some health issues- nothing serious, just enough to stop running and heal.

I don’t know why but the quarantine magnified my insecurities. Everything I thought I had under control somehow reared its ugly head. I felt inadequate. I felt alone. I felt that I was just not good enough. Remember my post on how bad I was feeling back in August? I love my blog for that reason alone. To express myself and let the world know that despite all those negative feelings I kept showing up.

The year of closure lead me to a new season of maturity. A year to close off all the insecurities that hold me back to be fully alive. In all the self-help work I did, I realized that self-insecurities is nothing more than another form of self-conceit. It keeps my focus on myself, and when I focus so closely on myself so much so that I cannot see past my own self, the world loses out because I hide in shame rather than live with love, joy and peace.

Everyone has insecurities. EVERYONE! It’s HOW we deal with them that matters. We can surrender to the temptation to keep feeling inadequate and unworthy- and coming from personal experience, it’s not a happy place to be. Or we can accept that we are in fact inadequate, but we choose to be present anyway. We keep doing what we are doing even when it feels rough.

Since August, I have showed up for my students to the best of my ability. I have showed up for my own kids to the best of my ability. I have showed up to my family and friends to the best of my ability. And that is all life requires from us. Nothing more and nothing less.

I’m ready for the new chapter! I’m ready to be who I am and to do what I can to uplift others, because when I am busy living a life that encourages and edifies others, there is no time to dwell in the insecurities that call out to us in that high pitch annoying voice, telling us all the ugly lies about ourselves.

The truth is that we are loved more than we can understand, and no matter how messy and awkward it may feel, we are called to share that love with others around us.

Let us close the door of last year- the year everything closed- and let us have “closure” from the past, and keep on keeping on.

Remember Love Always