Be proud of who you are, always!
love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
Happy Valentine’s Day!! Or #galentinesday, which I hadn’t ever heard of until people started posting about it, and I guess it shows that I never watched the whole television series “Parks and Recreation”. Either way, it’s a fun concept and I’m all about it, but that’s not what inspired me to write today.
What inspired me was a heart, not anyone’s heart, but someone’s heart that ended up discarded on the sidewalk near my house. Now before you get all creeped out, it’s not an actual heart! Sheesh you guys are morbid! Here’s the heart:
I initially walked right by it and then I knew I needed a picture of this green sidewalk heart. Then it got me thinking, why is red the color associated with love? Is it because when we feel love our blood gets pumping? Is it because when we feel love, we feel it in our hearts which are essentially red? I continued to ponder how the color red actually has a lot of negative emotions connected to it, like anger, rage, and danger. Here at Totem Tamers, red is the first step in our visualization process when you’re trying to stave off or recover from an anxiety attack. Red is typically not where someone wants to be, so why then do we associate the color red with something that is supposed to be a good thing? Red on a stop sign, red on a traffic light, that tells you to hold up, back off, stand still, but green, green means go for it, proceed, pass go! That’s what I got when I passed this green sidewalk heart. That my heart is not red, my heart is green and wide open, ready to receive and give love to all who cross my path. So from now on, I will wear green on Valentine’s Day, not red! It’s a revolution I tell you!
Show me your heart is open, show me your green heart, and I’ll show you mine.
I hope that whoever you are, whoever you want to be, whoever you want to love and be loved by, that you have the strength and the courage and the support to do just that. At Totem Tamers, we send you all that love and strength and courage, and we see you for all that you are, and all you deserve to be! Keep a Totem in your pocket for any time you feel anxious, and be reminded that you are beautiful and worth it!
Wednesday started in typical fashion, walk the dog, kids off to school, have some coffee, catch up on Facebook and emails and texts. For a little it feels like just another Wednesday, and then I remember that it isn’t. Once again, the memories come crushing back as they have every year for the past 13 years, and I have to say goodbye to my brother all over again. I write about him every year on this day, the anniversary (seems like such a strange word to use) of his passing, because it helps. It helps me, it helps the people who knew my brother, it helps the people who didn’t know my brother, it just helps. My brother Jonathan is a part of my everyday, not just because he was my brother, but because his death from an overdose is what propels me to “do good” wherever I can. Deaths from opiod overdose can be prevented, we have my stepdad Jack Fishman, to thank for that. Now it’s our job to get that information out in to the world and get naloxone into the hands of anyone that needs it, thinks they’re going to need it, or thinks they might know someone who needs it. Yeah, that basically means everyone. I have written about this subject so many times, that I will just link a few of those posts here for you to peruse when you have time.
I could write so much more, but part of me wants to go back to this being just another Wednesday, at least until later when my mom and I will be together and drink a toast to my brother, his girlfriend Ashley, and all the others who have been lost. I hope it’s just another Wednesday for you, even for just a minute.
This is not a political post about gun control or mental health treatment (lack thereof), this is not about our current election crisis, or the state of the union, this is a post about a little boy who dreamed of superheroes. This is a post about Jacob Hall.
This is about a smile that will now only live on in photos and the hearts of Jacob’s family and friends. This is about a life lost way too soon. 6-year-old Jacob was shot by a teenager last week in South Carolina, and succumbed to his wounds this weekend, you might have heard about the story. Jacob will be laid to rest today in the outfit of his favorite superhero, Batman. Even a replica of the Batmobile will accompany his procession.
Jacob’s parents, who are the WARRIOR’s we honor today, have encouraged mourners to show up in costumes, dressed as their favorite superheroes. Not only to honor Jacob, but in the hopes of not scaring the many children that will attend the funeral to bid goodbye to the their lost friend.
This isn’t a post about propaganda and polling, this is a post about parents and children, about love and loss, and about making the most of the lives we are granted. I will keep my children close today with my invisible lasso and hope that my cape will keep them safe and all the while I will think of Jacob’s smile and his family’s tears and the unwitting WARRIORS they have become.
Where is my sun?
Woke up and it was gone
Clouded by a rain of ammo and tears
Shrouded by sadness and awash in fears
Darkness is here but not the dark of night
it is the dark that suffocates the power of light
I am searching in vain to understand what’s become
to understand why I can’t see my sun
I am not wise to how this all started
I only know I am broken hearted
my brothers and sisters demanding justice be done
all of us waiting for the light of the sun
The list is too long of those we have lost
we claim we want freedom but look at the cost
Two sides against each other but no one has won
as we stand in the dark longing for the sun
There can be no more death, no more blood spatter
and yes it is clear that all lives matter
now more than ever we have to stand as one
now more than ever we need the light of the sun
Where is my sun?
Woke up and it was gone
clouded by a rain of ammo and tears
shrouded by sadness and awash in fears
As I wait for the chance to feel the warmth again
I choose to shine my love on others from within
My right to bear my arms that I use to hug all and one
my right to laugh and smile and be my own sun.
My morning started off rather sweetly today. Sure I didn’t sleep well, sure I knew storms were predicted that were going to rain out a school fair I had hoped to attend with my Totems, but that wasn’t going to get me down. I did something I love to do this morning, I baked.
That’s my zucchini oatmeal bread with a little twist of chocolate. You can see it’s a hit with my boys as half of one loaf was gone by midday. There’s something about mixing all those ingredients and having it come out into a delicious finished product that is deeply satisfying. The smell in the apartment doesn’t hurt either. I had already been emailing with a friend from the Harm Reduction Coalition about a very informal, and very hush-hush drug education conversation I am going to be having at one of my kids’ schools. Hush-hush because apparently the principal isn’t interested in keeping her student body safe, but that’s clearly for another blog post! In the midst of this emailing, my friend forwarded me a link to an article that is appearing this week in Newsweek magazine. She did this because I’m mentioned in the article, as is my mom, my stepdad, my brother, my stepbrother, her, the head of Drug Policy Alliance, and a young, incredibly aware and caring doctor in Miami, Dr. Hansel Tookes. This article is about my family and the course we have taken since my brother’s heroin overdose almost 13 years ago, and my stepfather’s ironic creation of the drug, naloxone, that could have saved my brother’s life. It’s bizarre to see your story in print, especially when it’s written by someone else, and their spin on it all. I have written about my story many times, just click on the blog page and search anything from overdose prevention, to harm reduction, to heroin, and you can find lots of stories I have written. It’s not the same when you see your own name in print in relation to an event that still makes your breath catch in your throat and your stomach drop out from under you. It’s not the same when someone is retelling the horror that you lived when you showed up at the hospital and witnessed your brother already in a coma because people he was using drugs with were too afraid to call 911 and instead dumped him on the hospital steps. It somehow feels like you’re reading someone else’s story. That’s exactly what my mom said when she called me sobbing this morning after reading the article. It’s a sadness for sure, but there’s also a sense of hope that comes along with it, which is bittersweet because it comes too late for my brother, but it’s not too late for so many others. That’s why so many people have shared the link to the article on Facebook, for example, because there’s power and courage in the telling of our story and there’s much work to be done, and many brave souls doing the work. My brother isn’t here and that’s devastating a lot of the time, but a sweetness happens when I show my mom a picture of one of my boys and she sees a resemblance that is sometimes too overwhelming for me to admit. Yes, my brother’s life ended many years ago, and sometimes it pisses me off that he’s not here for me as a brother should be, that he doesn’t get to enjoy my children and be their uncle as he should be, but I am doing my best to make sure his memory lives on in all that I do to prevent this tragedy from happening again and again, just as I should be.
My son has a girlfriend. MY SON HAS A GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!! Yeah, ok, he’s 16, 6ft tall, looks and acts even older and yeah, ok, he’s a good kid. And now he has a girlfriend. He had a girlfriend once before, like for a minute in 8th grade, and she broke his little heart. He wrote a beautiful song about it and still sings it occasionally. I hate her. She hurt my boy. I saw her not too long ago on the street and my mama bear was all catty and mean (in my head, don’t worry) and I judgy-judged her because she hurt my boy. Now there’s another young lady on the horizon, and my boy’s heart is even bigger than it was three years ago. She’s coming over today so I can meet her. I’ve been wanting to meet her for weeks now, but my son said he wasn’t ready, and she wasn’t ready, and it was clear he was nervous and he said she was nervous. If they only knew how nervous I am, too. I want to make a good impression just as I’m sure she wants to impress me. I’m sure she’s changed her outfits three times already. I’m sure she’ll put less lipstick and eye-shadow on as well. Hey, I’m going to take a shower, so you know this is a big deal. Thing is, I don’t want her to be any different than she is with my son. He’s googly-eyed for her. I want to see why. I want to meet her authentic self, her true self, her sarcastic self (that’s one of the characteristics my son said he really likes about her). I will be her champion all the way, unless there comes a time when my boy gets hurt, then she best get in line for the judgy-judging Mama Bear, because I will find her. Until then, it’s all about innocent until proven guilty. It’s all about the “talk”. Yep, the s-e-x, one. Truth is, I’m a rock star when it comes to awkward conversations so we’re good. We’ve already had lots of talks, my son and I, and now we’ve added consent to the topics of importance. I stress to him, that no matter he wants to do, he must ask if it’s ok, then ask again, and then double-check that. I also had the conversation with him about making sure they practice safe sex. Now I know they aren’t having sex……yet. They might be though, and I want to make sure he’s prepared, not only with condoms, but with all the necessary mental prep he might need. Truth is, I would rather he didn’t have sex, at least not for a while, and I told him there are at least 300 things they could do that don’t risk making a baby. I encouraged him to try all 300 before they move on to the good old in and out. Ya know?! He seemed receptive and admitted out loud that he wasn’t ready for a baby. Whew!! Because I’m not ready to be a grandma, and I’m certainly not ready to let my baby go. Not yet anyway.
I’ll surely have my Totems nearby to grab if my nerves get the better of me and I start acting like a silly embarrassing mom. If you need a Totem for those just-in-case moments, visit our store www.totemtamers.com/shop, and get one today!
It’s the best feeling when you’re validated or at least when your company mission is validated, especially on a national scale. Maybe I’m reaching here, but it was actually a friend who brought the article to my attention, so she made the connection first! Totem Tamers mission is to help people who struggle with anxiety, stress, anger, or any overwhelming emotion that may get in the way of every day functioning. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal focused on baby sleep expert, Marc Weissbluth, and his connection to a carving that healed him. “Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child”, was definitely a book I used with my last baby, and it was a miracle worker! Dr. Weissbluth’s basic premise of “sleep begets sleep” saved my sanity while caring for a newborn with two toddlers in the mix! Anyway, the WSJ article is all about how Dr. Weissbluth discovered the healing impact of a Native American carving of a Bear! He’s quoted “it just felt right in my hand.” That’s what Totem Tamers is all about! If I am out at a fair or expo, I always encourage people to pick up a Totem so they can see how it feels. They all feel differently, but inevitably one will feel “right”! Sometimes people just know and connect to a Totem without having to pick it up, because they have an affinity for one of the creatures we carry! If you don’t have an opportunity to hold a Totem, I can tell you that they are surprisingly heavy and beautifully designed. Here’s a closeup of Bear!
It was great to read how Dr. Weissbluth looked to his carved Bear for healing properties, which is exactly what we want you to do with your Totem of choice! Do you need something to help keep you grounded? Help keep you calm? Then you need a Totem! Visit our store at www.totemtamers.com/shop and get yours today!
I’m sitting in my teeny office on a lazy Saturday morning. I’m checking in on the baby eaglets on the DCEagles Cam (I’m obsessed), I’m enjoying a second cup of coffee (sssshhh, don’t tell my GP), and I’m keeping myself “hidden” so I can enjoy the symphony of my children in the living room. You might already know that I have three boys, 16 going on 20 (he lives for independence), 13 going on tomorrow (he lives for the moment), and 9 going on 40 (he lives to tell everyone how it is). They are all so uniquely different, but those times they come together are the most amazing ones. Currently, the three of them are in the living room watching some wacky-sounding video and cracking up. I’m talking belly-aching, sore cheek, tear-inducing laughter. The temptation to go in and investigate, participate, and celebrate, is so strong, but I know that my presence will only alter the experience and change the vibe. So I sit here apart, but as together as I could ever want to be. Sure we have whole family moments where we all giggle, sometimes to the point of falling over, and those are awesome, but hearing my boys enjoy each other is what makes me whole. The three of them will (hopefully) be together long after I’m gone, and what gives me peace in that morbid thinking, is that they will all able to comfort each other and make each other laugh. These are the moments that build their relationships and the best place for me to be is not with them. Consider that the next time you hear your kids from the other room and the desire to join them hits you, give them the space to add the mortar to their foundation without you telling them where to lay every brick!
I was tempted to go in and snap a new picture of the boys, but I know they would not have wanted that, so here’s an oldie but goodie from the Lincoln Center fountain!
Apart, but together, is actually pretty special.
Well, sort of. As a dear friend calls it, this is “love day”! This isn’t a day where you’re supposed to feel sad if you aren’t in a relationship, for example, this is a day where you find gratitude for being able to love in the first place!! And the best way to find that gratitude is by loving yourself, and then you can make room to love others. I know people who think this day is a crock of you-know-what, others who use this day to lament that they are ever lonely and will never meet the right person, and still others who cherish their loved ones and celebrate them with flowers and chocolates and fancy dinners. Me? Sure I’ve gone through different iterations of this day, but I’m wiser now (fine, older), and I realize it’s not about romance, it’s not about relationship, it’s about finding love in yourself so that you can share it with others. Then it can be shared back with you, and that’s what “love day” is about. I am blessed with three incredible children who fill my heart on a daily basis, so it’s Valentine’s Day every day in my house! So whenever you need a Valentine, start by looking in the mirror, and there you’ll see the best Valentine of all, then offer your love from that reflection, and this day, and every day, will always be special, no matter what!
A Totem is a great Valentine to have because they always keep you company and always keep you calm. Get yours today or even better, get one for you and your Valentine!
We all have memories, some good, some bad, some that we question as if they might never have happened, and plenty that we would like to forget. I was reminded a while ago of a beautiful memory that I have held on to for about 25 years. In the age of social media, I decided to seek out the other party in my memory, just in the hopes of reconnecting, for the memory’s sake. Lo and behold, LinkedIn, turned up my search and even though I hesitated, I clicked the invite button and waited. The hesitation was rooted in fear of course, because my memory is just that, mine. The other person involved might have had a completely different experience and not share the same nostalgia with me. I was quickly rewarded with an email telling me that my invitation had been accepted! Now I could send an email, open a dialogue, and possibly, hopefully, validate my memory. To spare you the angst that I experienced in the process, I was able to validate my memory. Amazingly enough, this was indeed a truly shared experience, down to the sweetness associated with it, down to the cherishing we had both done of our short, yet deeply intimate connection. I had taken a risk, and I had been rewarded, we both had in a sense, and for that I will always be grateful. Sadly though, that beautiful shared memory, is shared by people that no longer exist in the way they were 25 years ago. We have had a lifetime of experiences since then and created many lifetimes worth of memories, the good, the bad, the ones we’d like to forget, and those we hope to never forget. These new people aren’t necessarily supposed to be connected today, maybe their time was 25 years ago, in that shared moment that has kept them both warm in heart over the years. These new people don’t know each other, and the attempt to try and box them in to the fantasies of who they used to be, is futile and frustrating at best. As a result, that wonderful memory has lost a lot of it’s luster, and no longer provides the warmth that it had supplied for so long. Now all it gives is a twinge of loss and a melancholy for someone I used to know, someone who isn’t who I remembered them to be, and hoped they would still be.
With that, I bid you cherish those incredible memories from your past and find that the validation you may be wishing for already exists within you. Your memory is just that, yours, and that is enough.
Totems can help you create wonderful memories by helping you through potentially overwhelming situations. Click on any of the Totems on the side of the page to get your Totem today, and start creating a lifetime of memories to cherish.
Every once in a while, looking down has its rewards. Obviously, avoiding the remnants of the obnoxious owner who refuses to pick up after their dog, is first and foremost. However sometimes, you look down to see something beautiful. I was walking along with my son who was chatting away, and we walked by this grungy, dirty, cut-out heart, stuck to the sidewalk. I kept walking, but then I stopped and took myself back to the heart, thinking that sometimes, our hearts may get grungy and beat up and tossed aside, but somehow, they are still beautiful. As Valentine’s Day approaches, remember your heart, whether you share it with someone significant or not, your heart is beautiful and capable of so much love. Grungy, dusty, wounded or even broken, see your heart and use it love yourself first, and then share that radiance with the people around you! Even though we should always keep our heads up and eyes forward, every so often, take a look down, because you never know what beauty you might uncover!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
You can always give the gift of a Totem to your loved one, or love yourself enough to buy one of your own!! Just click on any of the Totems on the page and get one today. Find us on Facebook and “like” us, so you get all of our updates and can share your Totem pics!!