Stop

I struggle.

It captures me.

It spins me around and around.

I want it to stop.

But, it seems nearly impossible.

The moment I surface,

is the moment it plunges my head back underwater.

Stop.

I want it to stop.

The waves crash over me,

I gulp for air,

I scream for help.

I speak my truth.

The moment I surface,

is the moment it swallows me whole.

Stop.

I struggle.

I fight.

I see the daylight above.

The waves keep crashing.

I cannot get air.

Stop.

 

I admit I am a compulsive overeater.  When food takes hold, it is for reasons of protection.  A way to deal and cope with feelings of insecurity, frustration, anger, or low self-esteem.  I have used this method as a way to cope with my husband’s death.  

For those struggling with a food addiction, the above is the best way of describing how it feels internally at times – like a losing battle with a demon.  

This is how I feel right now – my reality.  While the sun can be shining outside, inside, it is bleak and dark. Like a barren desert landscape or drowning in a vast sea.

Until you unearth the deep rooted cause, you will not stop it.  This is my truth.

Fast, faster.

Things move fast, faster.

Expectations abound.

What can we get done in the minutes that we have today?

Fast, faster.

Time keeps ticking.

How effective and efficient can you be?

What can you do in the time you have in between the next thing?

Fast, faster.

I grow weary of all that I must accomplish

in the time I have been given.

Fast, faster.

I can’t seem to keep up with the demands of today

yet, I am expected to.

Fast, faster.

Where is the wonder, the questioning,

the growth?

Time, I don’t have time for that.

The second-hand keeps moving.

Fast, faster.

I don’t have time even for my own self.

I am drowning in a sea of time

with an undercurrent set by modern

life.

Fast, faster.

A really very frivolous blog

Sometimes my blogs are really “heavy,” or so I have been told.  It was suggested that perhaps I write about my Diet Orange Sunkist addiction.  But, I will save that one for another frivolous blog post.

Tonight I choose to write about something else.

You see, I have another addiction or let’s call it a simple pleasure in life.

Each week, I drive back and forth to Connecticut.  Soon that will be ending.  In two weeks to be exact.  On my way home each week, I have made it a habit to stop in Branford, CT.

A long time ago after my husband passed, I had a boyfriend, and we dated for four years. Can I say that they were the best four years?  Probably not.  Did I learn a few things?  Sure.  A widow should be careful of her emotional state.  Enough said.

One night in tears after we broke up (it truly was for the best), my father, a very matter of fact person, said let’s go for a ride.  You see my father evidently had been going for a ride for the last several years.

Each night he drove from his home (a nice one where my bedroom overlooked the bay – oh how I miss my bedroom)  to the Wareham McDonalds.  He said that the gals there really knew how to make a cone.  So, as all good Dad’s do, he took me to the McDonald’s in Wareham.  When we got there, he said to the gal, “Make it a big one!”  And, lo and behold, she did.

Well for an emotionally distraught female, an ice cream cone did the trick.  Perhaps that was the start of my food addiction.  One wonders. Then he liked to ride through the backroads of Middleboro and Rochester to come back home.

Much was said and not said during that ride, but one thing for sure is that I was introduced to the cone.  Nice and light, plus very low calorie too.  Probably full of chemicals, but what isn’t these days.

Like father like daughter (my mother would argue and say probably too much so), I occasionally venture out for a prized cone.  I have toned down my habit. It once upon a time was every night – summer, fall, winter, and spring.

There are these two cute gals who work the counter each week in Branford.  Never fail, each week, I arrive at the service station,  head straight to the restroom and then to the McDonald’s counter.  I proceed to order one large Diet Coke and one LARGE ice cream cone.  At first, they said, “We only have one size cone.”  I replied, “I know that, but make it large.”

This week, I made my weekly trip and stopped as usual in Branford.  As I walked up to the counter, the gals had smiles of recognition on their faces.  And, I proceeded to order one large Diet Coke and one LARGE ice cream cone.  This time they giggled.  And, I giggled back.

I always get my cup first.  I have a tendency to spill my drink if I have too many things in my hand at once.  As I turned around to get my cone, WONDERS OF WONDERS…it was large.  And, they were so proud.  Very proud.  And, I exclaimed, “Holy Moly, THAT IS A BIG ONE!  You guys are awesome!”

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Holy smokes, Batman – those women are EXPERT LARGE CONE MAKERS!

 

You see I guess there is a moral to this story.

Working in Connecticut near the New York border, I find that most people lack a general overall sense of respect for another human being.  Just this week alone, I witnessed two store clerks being “chewed out” by customers.  Feeling empathetic, I went up to both clerks afterward and apologized.  I have no idea what I even apologized for.  Perhaps just a lack of humanity.

This world we live in is frightening.  And, I don’t mean in a violent sense, I mean in an “ego” sense. We barely look at each other, we barely talk to each other, and we can’t even be civilized to another human being just doing their job.

I find that when I try to strike a conversation with a random person, they look at me as if I have two or sometimes even three heads.  I feel like the odd one.  A weirdo.

I am really saddened by it all these days.  Perhaps I am just getting too old.

Well, I will miss these gals in Branford.  I made them giggle, and they made me giggle. Isn’t that what we should be doing with each other.  I may make tons of money, and they may make minimum wage.  But, that doesn’t mean that I treat them any less than a brother or a sister, for that is what we are.  We are all part of one human family.

Their ONE LARGE CONE was an affirmation that I treated them like a sister, with dignity and respect.

Maybe this is a frivolous post, or maybe, in the end, it isn’t. I find that most of the posts I write are usually surprises at what they unearth.  And, for that person who insists on my Diet Sunkist essay, perhaps that too will have a deeper meaning.

And, Dear Dad, thank you for the many lessons you have taught.  Both implicit and explicit.

Heck, he was only a diesel truck mechanic who didn’t make it past the 8th grade.  But, that doesn’t make him any less than a genius for his mechanical abilities.  I mean brilliant. For the fact is, he was able to retire at 55 – not bad for someone who didn’t even make it to high school!

I know whence I come from.  And, I know where I am going.  I am off to love humanity and its vastness.  Then I will have my ONE LARGE ICE CREAM CONE.

There you have my one attempt at a frivolous blog post.  Diet Orange next up on the list.

 

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A girl and her cone never to be parted!

 

P.S. – Mr. Simmons, Jr., I just couldn’t keep it light!  Maybe next time.

 

Once upon a time…an average fairy tale.


Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Albertina Alfonse. Albertina came from a village called Povacao on the island of St. Michael in the Azores.  Born in 1924, she grew up in a very “tight” family network on Rockdale Avenue in New Bedford.

Albertina as a young woman met Ernest Barboza whose family owned a farm in Bliss Corner.  Ernest’s family came from the village on the other side of the mountain from Albertina’s Povacao, called Nordeste.  Albertina and Ernest had a love story that was probably like any other love story.  But, it lasted 69 years.

Albertina is my grandmother and Ernest, my grandfather.

Albertina was my hero, she meant the world to me.  She raised me like her own and she was like a mother to me.  I don’t know quite what it was about Albertina, or “Tina” as she was known.  But, she had spunk.  She was different.  She was funny. She always had a smile. And, she was very, very feisty.

My grandfather worked a ton.  He managed Tanza Liquors in Dartmouth and before that he worked in our family business, Perry Liquor Store on Rockdale Avenue in Dartmouth. He served in World War II as part of the Ski Brigade headed to Italy, except he never made it to Italy.  He got altitude sickness at Camp Hale in Colorado and was discharged sent to finish out his duty at Quonset Point in Rhode Island.

After being let go from the service, he traveled by train back to New Bedford where one late night, he knocked on the window to be let in.  He was home.  And, Albertina was very, very happy.

69 years.  They couldn’t be apart. They fought like cats and dogs, but they adored each other just the same. I remember her saying at the age of 80+, “Ernest, you are NOT the same man I married.”  And, I had to giggle silently to myself.

After my grandmother passed away in 2011, my grandfather couldn’t bear to live a day without her.  Just mere mention of her name brought tears to his eyes.  He passed away at the almost age of 96 on January 7.

I married my husband on their wedding anniversary July 24 in the hopes that I too would live a long, life with my new husband.  But, that was not to be.  I will never forget her stern words to me after my husband died. She said, “Robin, let me tell you this one thing. Dennis is gone and he is never coming back.”  Well, that sobered me up and made me move on in life.

Life is different these days without Albertina.  It is just not the same.  I wonder how I have I been able to make it this far without my rock of a grandmother.  She had a spirit I can only hope but emulate and a love for a man that I envy.

Sometimes these stories just need to be told.  They need to be captured for the moments they were.  Precious.  Delicate.  Enduring.

Stories of average people, living average lives, but yet still heroes in their own sense.  Some people just have spirit. A spirit that moves others through love. Albertina was that spirit.  And, I am proud to be her granddaughter.

November 13, 1924 – March 11, 2011

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Albertina and Ernest at my wedding on July 24, 2004.  

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Take my hand.

 

Take my hand.

Let me lead you away from danger.

Away from suffering.

Away from death.

Take my hand.

Let me lead you

into the light

where there is love.

Take my hand.

Wrap it within yours.

They taunt and they protest.

They laugh and they ridicule.

Look away.

Take my hand.

Let me lead you

to your fate.

Don’t cast me out.

Don’t cast me out.

Why do I feel you must send me on my way?

I am an empty vessel

ready for all that you want to teach.

I absorb your every word, your every thought.

My eyes watch yours, my ears listen intently,

but yet, you hasten over me like I am unimportant.

Why do you cast me aside?

Don’t write me off as useless

like wood tossed aside after the building of the house.

My weakness can help others.

I am not useless.

Don’t reject me.

Don’t cast me out.

Don’t send me on my way.

 

Day by Day

You walked along side of me

all the time

day by day snuck by, and you were always there

in the morning

at noon

throughout the afternoon

and into the darkest of the night.

But once you asked,

“Do you love me?”

And, I didn’t know how to respond to that simple question.

I peered inside of my soul

and there I noticed all of my imperfections and my wrong doings

I noticed all of my past failings and my sins against man.

Don’t you deserve more in my faith?

“Do you love me?” I in turn asked?

I peered in my heart.

Did I not see the time that I listened to the story of someone else?

Did I not see the time that I cradled another’s soul in my arms?

Didn’t I share the best of all I could ever give?

We picked up our walk again in the middle of an afternoon.

And, I reached out my hand to be slipped into yours. Did I not feel the love? Could you not see the love?

I reached for those imperfections and those perfections and held them together in a tight unity strapped together by my own humanity.

Did I not feel the love? Could you not see the love?

I am loved.  I love you.