A Gem of A Woman

 

It has taken me some time to accept the difficult things that I have learned regarding my biological family.

The circumstances and story I’ve learned are not at all what I was expecting when I decided to search for my birth mother.

It took several years for me to come to terms with my adoption. However, eventually, I did find peace in the knowledge that my biological mother had wished me dead from the time of my conception. You may think I’m being dramatic or exaggerating; however, I am not.

The only information that my sister Darlene was willing to share with me about our biological mother was that Pearl tried to use a coat hanger to abort me herself and end the pregnancy. The thought of this still makes me nauseous.

I tried to put this thought out of my mind by telling myself Darlene was trying to be hurtful and perhaps was jealous of the life I had led because of my fortunate adoption into a “normal” family if there is such a thing.

Darlene was fifteen years old when Pearl was pregnant with me. Oh, and I want to make sure to mention that that year was when Pearl abandoned her oldest daughter in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was 1963. That day was the last time Darlene ever saw her mother.

You might be wondering if I ever found Pearl and if we had a conversation.

The answer is yes. I had one phone conversation with my birth mom. Her words are etched into my soul like a knife to the gut.

The short conversation went something like this.

Hi, my name is Shari. I am trying to find out a few things about my medical history, and I am hoping to talk to you regarding my biological family.

Pearl said, Who is it you are trying to call?

I went on to tell her that I had been adopted by a family in Utah when I was two years old. I also mentioned that I was born at the LA County Hospital on October 17th, 1963.

Pearl told me that she had no idea who I wanted to talk to, but it wasn’t her.

I repeated myself by mentioning again my date of birth, that I had grown up in Utah since the age of two. I also said the names of her parents and even asked her about Darlene.

I will admit that I did throw her history in her face. I wanted her to be clear that she was the person I needed to find. And that she was the person who could answer my questions.

Pearl was forty years old when I was born. This conversation took place thirty-five years later. In my mind, I thought that she would have come to terms with the fact that she had given a child up. I also assumed that at seventy-five, she might be interested to know what my life had been like if nothing more than to have closure before her death.

But nothing could have been further from the truth.

Let’s get back to that conversation.

I told Pearl that I didn’t expect to have a relationship with her. I had a fantastic childhood, was married and had children of my own. I didn’t need anything from her besides information about my medical history.

There was silence on the other end of the phone,

and then Pearl said, “why would I want to talk to you; you are dead to me.”

That was it, and she hung up the phone.

Queue dramatic music.

I am not sharing this with you for you to feel sorry for me.

I share this with you because we each have something from our past. We have a choice to make; we can continue to have that chip on our shoulder to carry around with us for a lifetime. But if you are willing to deal with uncomfortable emotions, I recommend that you put your big girl pants on and dive right into the sludge. In the end, you will be better for it.

Now back to Pearl, the “Gem of a Woman” that carried me in her womb for nine months.

Later that day, I chose to write her a note. I apologized for catching her off guard and expecting a conversation with her. I included my address and phone number just in case she ever had a change of heart and wanted to get in touch.

I never heard from her, and she has since died.

Every year, International Peace Day rolls around on September 21st. For that reason, I chose peace to be the topic of September.

Picture your families, communities, colleagues, and schools. Think about the people who have something in their lives that they carry around from their past.

I’m sure you are aware of how often our issues and burdens affect us.

On that thought, remember how we all need to be accountable for what we carry into our relationships as well as how it not only affects us each day but everyone around us.

Do you have a chip on your shoulder because of something that happened to you?

I know that I had been carrying a large boulder.

Since my adopted mother passed away recently, I have been looking at photos from my past.

I was shocked as I carefully looked at pictures of myself from the age of 25-40 years old.

There was something about what I saw in my face that was different. It was a lost look. And was someone I didn’t recognize.

I thought about those photos for several days. And then it dawned on me.

I hadn’t realized how important it was for me to go through the ugliness and sadness of knowing the truth of “my beginning.”

I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted for so many years of my life. But through experiencing the hard journey, it led me to understand and believe in who I am today.

As difficult as it is to face our demons, once you do the work and get to the other side, similar to myself, you may not recognize yourself from the past.

And I am ok with that. Getting to the other side is exhilarating. Shari

 

 

 

Finding Peace

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Ths topic and information of this post is from an article by Lindsey Sharratt found on the tinybuddah.com website.

How to Make Peace with the Past and Stop Being a Victim

Lindsey starts with the following.

Do you usually feel as if everything wrong that can happen will happen, and it will happen to you?

You must be the unluckiest person on the face of the planet. Opportunities never work out. Doors that should open close in your face. Friends let you down. Bosses don’t see your value. There seems to be a universal conspiracy to keep you stuck right where you are now.

You feel like your life is always going to be like this.

You feel like a failure as a person.

You worry that you’re never going to be happy.

You stress that you have no control to change any of it.

And it’s all so unfair, right? Why does this bad stuff always happen to you? How come other people get all the breaks, and you never do?

If this sounds familiar, you’re probably still affected by past events that left you feeling helpless, scared, or inadequate—and you’re going to keep re-experiencing these feelings until you do something to change them.

Hello, me again!

For years I believed I was a victim of circumstance for all kinds of reasons. The outcome of that belief showed up in my life as anger and bitterness.  I lived with this belief for most of my life, and I had no idea I change this belief.

Lyndsey continues;

My Experience with Self-Sabotage

Why do I get how this works? It’s no big mystery. I’ve been there myself. In fact, at one time, I was the queen of self-sabotage.

I went from being a straight-A student to dropping out of school a year before my finals. From being a loved and spoiled child to losing touch with my family. From being confident and self-assured to needy and codependent.

What happened? I stopped thinking of myself in a positive way in response to events outside of my control. I’d always taken pride in myself, and I felt someone had taken that pride away from me.

All of these dramatic changes came from something very small—a change in my home circumstances that stopped me feeling like part of the family. Because someone in my life constantly criticized me, I lost confidence in my ability. Because I lost my security, I became chronically insecure.

Instead of feeling that I was a person of worth, with good prospects, I started thinking of myself as rejected, unwanted, and somehow less-than.

As a teenager, I was in no way equipped to deal with that. So I rebelled. And from there, my life went very rapidly downhill.

I sabotaged my jobs; I couldn’t stick anything beyond a few months. I sabotaged my first degree by dropping out. And as for relationships, I attracted every narcissistic guy around, all with the agenda of keeping myself a victim.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Have you dealt with your inner demon or are you hiding it in the back of your closet, so no one knows you have broken pieces? Are you holding on to your past beliefs about yourself? Are you ready to deal with it? Are you prepared to be vulnerable and look inside to find the person you’ve wanted to be?

Maybe you’ve hit rock bottom and that isn’t a horrible place to be.  Because now you have a choice, do you choose to give up or do you choose to move forward? I hope you choose this time to start changing the way you’re thinking about things and do something to improve your life.

Your past is always going to be something that happened to you; that doesn’t mean it needs to define you, restrict you, and dictate your future life.

How would your life change if you were only taking what was positive from the past? If you could see yourself as someone who overcame it, who chose to reject the negative self-concepts that were forced on you, who was a survivor, and not a victim?

You can do this. You, and only you, have the power. And that’s why you’re not a victim. The only person who can control this is you.

If you are ready to change your old beliefs and negative thinking Lindsey goes on to share the things that she did to become the person she was always meant to be and we all can do it too.

I suggest you finish reading Lindsey’s article where she shares her thoughts on the following;

Why “Just Let Go” Is Not the Best Advice

If you don’t completely deal with the issue it will come back and bite you in the ass. Oh, and it will happen when you least expect it. 

Being Peaceful or Being Strong?

Is it possible?

Accept who you are– But Who Are You?

I had no idea who I was without my old beliefs. It took a long time for me to figure this out.

Be patient with yourself.

As We Forgive Those…

Staying angry with others only is hurting ourselves.

Count Your (Amended) Blessings

There is always a blessing to be learned even in a shitty circumstance.

These are the things that are going to empower you to go out and change your world.

Playing with the cards stacked against you is just plain unfair. It’s time for you to even the odds.

About Lindsey Sharratt

Lindsey Sharratt is a corporate project manager whose own success inspired her psychology degree and her desire to help others. Her mission is to prove that anyone can overcome destructive experiences and achieve their life goals. Connect on her website or get her book on Amazon and start making your own breakthroughs.

How’s Your Flow? – A Happy Habit

 

How’s your flow?

No, I’m not talking about your Aunt Flo who comes to visit every month — or in my case use to come for a visit.

Finding your flow – is essential Habit of Happy People.

Ok, this one is new to me, but the more I have read about it –I realize that “It” is a necessary form of happiness in my life.

I have noticed that when I feel stagnant, I am not at my best, and I think “out of sorts,” and this can eventually lead me to be grumpy or just plain sad.

But I’ve learned how I can quickly recover.

When we are involved in trying to reach a goal or an activity that is challenging but well suited to our skills, we experience a joyful state called “flow.”

“The loss of self-consciousness that happens when you are completely absorbed in an activity – intellectual, professional, or physical — is described in contemporary psychology as a state of flow.”

When I find myself in a bit of a funk, the following is an example of a routine I have learned to follow.

I start by clearing my mind. I need to quiet all the chatter in my head. The noise is not serving me and is causing the distraction that is causing me to be stagnant.

Here is how I clear my mind. Let’s call it a mind sweep. I’ve learned this from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. David often states that our brains are for having ideas, not storing them.

The more we keep in our brains, the more stressed we become. Stress does not lead to happiness.

Now it is time to dump what is in my mind.

So I will write a list. On my list is everything that I can think of that I have not gotten to yet.
Like;
Fix the leaky sink
Pick up the drycleaning
Buy the airline tickets
Sweep the porch
Write this week’s blog post
Plan some social media content
Plan next week’s meals
Organize the kitchen
Clean out the closet
And the list goes on and on.

And when I can’t come up with anything else to add to the list, I feel so much better because now I can see a way of getting some if not all of my tasks completed.

I start by seeing what tasks I can have someone else accomplish. I will call it my “honey-do list.” Repairs around the house. If my Honey can’t do it, he can call the repairman. He certainly can take care of the dry cleaning since it is on his way to the office.

I continue going down the list and creating a plan of action and going from task to task. Not all of the to-dos will get crossed off the list at that time. The important thing is that they have become organized on paper, and a plan of action is in place. And I can now breath a little easier because I am mo longer holding them in my mind.

And this is when I do my best thinking. Because now I get to decide which project I want to do next.

I have a hobby that has turned into a project and two-plus years later

My project has also become my “Side Gig.”

“My project” leads me to find my flow. It can be an emotional outlet for me, where I share my feelings. It has surprised me at times when my creativity blossoms.

I am in my flow when I am working on my social media. I get excited and energized with new ideas. I meet new friends often. I learn something new each day. It might be something I’ve learned from you, or it may be a new way of posting content.

Either way, it all brings me joy, and that is when I know I am in my flow.

Sixty-Six Years of Marriage

  William Arthur Ward wrote, Feeling GRATITUDE and NOT expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it! No matter who you are, every single person has something to be grateful for. By consistently practicing gratitude, it shifts the entire focus of life. Stress dissipates, and a calmness washes over our being. I … Continue reading “Sixty-Six Years of Marriage”

 

William Arthur Ward wrote,

Feeling GRATITUDE and NOT expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it!

No matter who you are, every single person has something to be grateful for.

By consistently practicing gratitude, it shifts the entire focus of life. Stress dissipates, and a calmness washes over our being.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lovely place to be. The bliss of the miraculous life we have.

Sixty-Six years ago, these two love birds were married.

I am so grateful for my parents and my siblings as well.

I am fortunate to be the youngest daughter of Dell and JoAnn Tyler – I say that because I was adopted and became part of the family at age two.

Unfortunately, my mother passed away this past week. She was 85 years old. It thrills me to know that she is no longer in pain, and her mind once again is active, and she is full of life.

It is difficult to watch our parents age. For me, at this time as happy as I am that my mother has transitioned through life, I am equally as heartbroken for my father.

He has lost his sweat heart and is deeply grieving.

His own health is deteriorating quickly, and there is no way of knowing how long he will be here to answer my phone calls and hold my hand at chemo appointments.

Please keep my sweet father in your hearts and prayers.

These are lyrics from my mother’s favorite song.

Side Effects? — There’s an App for that

 

You go through months of chemo, and you have a follow-up scan which show’s improvement. Hooray!

So now what?
What’s next?

An oncologist’s primary purpose is to slow the progression of cancer and improve your outlook. There are a few different treatments that you may continue with.

Yes, these treatments can help prolong your life. The bad news is that these treatments also cause side effects that can make your day-to-day life difficult.

Common side effects of metastatic breast cancer treatment include:

constipation
diarrhea
fatigue
hair loss
headaches
hot flashes
increased risk of infections
joint or bone pain
loss of appetite
mood swings
mouth sores
nausea and vomiting
numbness or tingling
vaginal dryness

There are the obvious tips that can help with side effects from all cancer treatments, such as making sure that you get enough rest. The simplest tasks can wear you out very quickly. Drink fluids often. Drink even more water when you have any type of infusion.

Other tips to keep in mind.

 

Up your fiber intake –

Bowel movements might not be at the top of your list of concerns right now, but when you ‘can’t go for days at a time, ‘you’ll feel bloated, crampy, and miserable. Cancer treatment will most likely leave you constipated.
Add more fiber in your diet from fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods or take a fiber supplement. Stool softeners can also be helpful.

 

Exercise –

You most likely are not going to feel like but a ten-minute walk will help you feel better and actually have more energy.
This will help you sleep better as well as improve constipation. Start small when it comes to exercise.

 

Divide up your meals –

I have found eating smaller meals more often has always been helpful. You may have learned this when trying to control nausea.
Treatments can affect your appetite and cause mouth sores that make eating more difficult and painful. Because you need proper nutrition to help your body heal, try to eat smaller meals that are high in nutrients and protein. Include foods like peanut butter, whole-milk yogurt, milkshakes, and granola. You can also add nutritional drinks and snacks throughout the day.

 

Keep a notebook –

There is always an App for that! Like I’ve mentioned in other posts, the best way to be your own medical advocate is to keep track of your side effects. Honestly, it is difficult at times to determine what is a side effect of your treatment as well as your possible progression. By keeping track of what is going on with your body, you will have a better discussion with your oncologist.

 

Don’t Give Up

I saw you

 

I recently read an inspiring story on Facebook that I knew I needed to share with you. Aaron Sherinian, I believe, is Steve’s third cousin. Aaron’s occupation requires him to travel all over the world. Aaron was kind enough to let me share this story with you.  This is his recent experience and in his own words.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .

To the man outside the convenience store on U St. in Washington, D.C.: I saw you. I saw what you did a few minutes ago. I witnessed it all.

I saw your face as you overheard the uncomfortable conversation between the homeless man and the store owner. The details were unclear. But I could see from your face that you wanted to help.

I saw you quietly buy this man the items he could not afford. And then more.

I heard you subtly encourage another man to refer to this person with more respect. I also heard you treat the convenience store owner with empathy as well while you covered his debts at the cash register. I watched you try to observe the situation without judging…Just helping. I listened as you communicated it all in soft tones so that others would not notice your role.

I saw you quietly help the homeless man outside the door.

I saw you shake his hand, walk 2 blocks away before ordering a cab so that he would not feel embarrassed or beholden to you once you both left the scene.

I witnessed all this. You did NONE of it knowing you were being observed. But you were. I saw it all.

And you did not see what I saw after. I saw the homeless man sit down, eat his lunch, and say a prayer.

I have no idea who you are. But you reminded me that there are good people everywhere. I do not know what motivated your actions today. But I know it was not praise.

I saw you. And it changed the way I will look at the rest of the day. Thank you. I know that it is not always possible to do everything or help everybody. But I witnessed an act of kindness on U Street that reminds me we should do what we can whenever opportunity crosses our path.

So, Thanks. Whoever you are.
-Aaron

P.S. I also couldn’t help but notice that you bought Double-Stuff Oreos for yourself. So, extra points. Well done, you. I saw that, too. #GoodTaste

You can follow Aaron on Facebook and on Instagram