The Most Important

There are a plethora of amazing friendships, sisterhood, connections, memories and events that I experienced in Charlotte since my move here in 2007. The most important moments engulfed in my time living in Charlotte are undoubtedly having my niece,Nikki, live with me these past two years. She is my oldest sister, Laurie’s, daughter.  She is both sugar and spice to its highest degree. A woman, now 20, with a sense of humor for miles and a heart of titanium.  She is honesty and love learning through life everyday.

Nikki moved here after graduating high school in June 2014 while growing through the death of her brother Mikey who passed away in February 2014.  At an age where navigating an unfamiliar territory of freedom after high school is challenging in itself, Nikki had to do all of that transitioning with the death of Mikey 6 months fresh on her spirit.  She is engulfed with the loss of her older brother…her only sibling and has left the town that swallowed him up. When I say “swallowed him up” I don’t mean any disrespect to my hometown, but moreso reference to the situation Mikey was in.  Some will get it while others won’t. I love the town that helped raise me.  I am genuinely a mindful person and I wanted to assist Nikki with embracing all the emotions she was feeling.  I wanted her to know that what she was thinking and feeling was normal.  Grief bursts will happen at the most random times but she needed to embrace them.  I was aware that her emotions were still fresh, as were mine about losing Mikey. He was my initiation into Aunthood and more like a little brother when he was growing up.

I remember the day Nikki texted me to ask if she can come live with me.  She texted “hey I have a question” and I said “what is it?”  Nikki then replied “I want to come live with you” in which I replied “that is a statement not a question and of course you can come live with me” lol.  I laid down the rules: she will pay rent, buy her own food and not let anyone in my house while I’m not there that I haven’t met and approved.  There was a rule about keeping her room clean and she did pretty good.  She knew it was time to clean her room when I told her that it looked like her clothes hamper threw up lol.  We have a running joke in the house that we both need to fire the maid next time we see her lol.  She did all of this with respect while working full time at Target and going to CPCC full time.  Oh, and did I mention that she made the Dean’s List!  Had to brag a little 😉  My sister, Laurie and my brother in law have done an amazing  job in teaching her about hard work and that money truly doesn’t grow on trees.  She is probably the most responsible 20 year old I know.   She knows she cannot buy a new outfit if her phone bill and insurance aren’t paid!  Her priorities are in check and I am so proud of her.

Her certain Leo self and my certain Capricorn self  butt heads a little in the beginning but we worked it out.  There was an incident with keys left in the door, a broke down car,  threats to take her car away, and incident with blue hair dye and I think that was really the only issues we had…(you know I had to mention that Nikki) lol 😉  I needed Nikki to harness the attention to her surroundings that she may not have had in our small hometown of Swansboro due to comfort of familiarity.  Charlotte is so much bigger than Swansboro and I needed her to be safe all the time.  I wanted to love and protect her like a mother but offer her the carefree freedom of an Aunt.  I hope I did just that!

I wanted Nikki’s time here with me to be full of knowledge  and exploration with a backing of independence.  I didn’t want to smother her with adult supervision and I wanted her to enjoy her time in Charlotte and grasp handling this change through life.  She handled it very well.  It took her a little time to warm up to gathering friends but now she has found a great group of friends here in Charlotte all while keeping her crew of old friends.  It can be difficult making new friends after living your whole life with the majority of the same friends. Now she was presented with the self challenge of stepping out and making new friends.  Bravo Nikki!

Getting to spend so much time with Nikki and watch her flourish out of a layer of youth into part of her adulthood has been a gift.  She and I have had plenty of laughs, hugs, tears, silence and random sounds as forms of communication.   I learned to identify her mood by the tone of her greeting.  If that greeting was some sort of sound that resembled a grunt, then I knew to not press and ask if she was ok…that is our understood language lol. There were reiki sessions and tarot card readings, talks about life, the good stuff we can’t physically see, soul requirements, TV shows and food!   Some days we conversed through random silence and others we talked for what seemed like hours at a time.  She is my first niece and I have adored getting to share a house space with her.

I remember chatting with her one day about the changes going on and moving and how much we both have grown these past two years.  She said that the thing she learned most about being here in Charlotte was how to be alone. At first I thought oh my gosh did I not spend enough quality time with her…but once she explained it, her sentiment was amazing.  Having spent most of her life always having friends right around the corner, living with me provided that alone time that she was ready for.  This time alone provided her with a sense of independence she needed to build more confidence in her self and her decisions.  Being able to be alone is important.  It is very important.

My move to FL obviously means she will be moving.  Of course I offered for her to move to FL with me, but she has made another adult decision and will be moving to stay with one of her best friends in Greenville.  She will attend the community college there and then transfer to a university.  This chapter for us both is a little scary but we have agreed that everything will work out fine.  New friends will be made all while keeping the old.  New environments will teach us more about life and embracing change. It will give us an opportunity to share our powerful energy where it is needed and wanted.  Life is about change, evolving, compassion and knowing that you matter.  I hope she knows just how much I adore her!  I love you endlessly Nikki and will miss you tremendously!

 

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The Mural

Because my essence is not typically one of displayed physical anger, when I felt breezes of anger during my immediate mourning of Carlleena, there were a few moments in my mind when I destroyed this mural with her paint supplies.  One by one I opened all her paint containers and began throwing them at her mural to make my mark in the universe for my grief.

There were times when I felt the need to throw something to make it seem-engulfed by the deepest pain experienced in my world.  My anger wasn’t at her mural or any part of its creation, but more so because it was the largest physical reminder of her outside of our house that I could inflict the most damage.  A month before she passed, we had a photoshoot at her mural and those moments there were all so fresh.  I felt that the mural would understand my actions.  Doors, walls and pillows can withstand my fist without blemishes, but I wanted to see a physical display of my hurt.

Obviously I never did this in the physical but admit to this playing in my mind.  I never would have acted out these thoughts, but it made me feel better to visualize them in those moments.

Carlleena completed this mural in 2011 and it took her a couple of months with scattered hours throughout the weeks setting out to get her masterpiece on that approximately 15 x 72 wall.  It was amazing to be a witness and a participant.  To watch people walking by stop and chat or just admire in silence.  When kids approached, she offered them a paint brush and let them add their mark.  It was important to Carlleena that children participate in art.  Not just the color inside the lines kinda art, but the get your hands in the paint and get messy kinda art. The sharing kind of art and the universal connection it creates.  Her trademark was Life=Art because she believed that one could not exist without the other. That’s truth.

The mural has became sort of “my go to spot” when I need to think something out and want to be alone physically but not emotionally.  I visit her mural frequently and last year I noticed that the paint began to look really faded.  After a couple of signs I needed, I enlisted the help of some amazing friends and family to help me retouch her mural.  We would leave the foundation just as it is, but add our own energy and love with the same colors.  I knew there was a reason I saved all her original paint cans LOL.  The capricorn in me totally could have done it alone, but I didn’t want to be selfish with this project 😉  Not to mention that it would have taken me forever LOL.  I wanted to have hands that knew and hugged, love, admired and appreciated Carlleena to help me.  I wanted their energy to be added into this masterpiece that Carlleena left for Charlotte.  I was particular in my choosing and  I chose an amazing group of artists and friends.  I knew what Carlleena felt for them and I was pretty sure I knew how much they loved Carlleena.  So with the help of some unforgettable people, we repainted the mural in pretty much three days.  I am forever grateful for those hands, hearts and energy that assisted.

There were a plethora of emotions during the touch up to the mural.  It was a healing process, not only for myself, but for those that loved and admired Carlleena artistically.  She was infectious in spirit and her artistic comrades soon became  friends and I felt it was important for them to know how much they meant to Carlleena.  What other way to show them than to invite them to assist me in tackling this project!  As I was out there at the mural painting and reminiscing, I had to do some impromptu art…there was a blank space where The Charlotte Art League took down a sign and it left a huge blank space.  I knew I couldn’t leave it blank…so I added something important.  Something that Carlleena began adding to her paintings toward the end of her painting career…a red equal sign.  It is appropriate and understood by those that knew her and what her art represents.

During the revitalization, I realized standing on that ladder, that sometimes it takes gargantuan leaps mirroring themselves as a million baby steps to get to a point in life where you can breathe and walk with peace in your heart because you understand.  I am grateful to have been a participant in friendship, love and life with Carlleena.  Carlleena’s mural is located at 1517 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203.

Today, June 26, 2016, would have been our 20th anniversary.  I thought it fitting that I finally finished putting the protective coating on her mural today.  So, I spent some time reminiscing today feeling undoubtedly grateful and proud at the journey I’ve traveled thus far.  I am humbled at my past and anticipating the amazing future.

 

May

May is undoubtably filled with many hard anniversaries for my life.  Scattered throughout the 365 short days that compress to what seems like a long year, are  beautiful yet difficult dates of remembrance due to loss and life challenges.  For those grieving, there are incomplete emotions intertwined with specific dates and I believe this will always occur to a certain degree.  For me, May is difficult because of Mother’s Day, Mikey’s birthday, Carlleena’s accident date, parallel universe entry date and birthday…and my breast cancer diagnosis date.  It is a tough month emotionally but I am honored to embrace the sometimes difficult benefits of loving so deeply and growing more resilient.  Although it is a heavily memory triggered month, it serves as a reminder at how precious and short life truly is and the benefits of having loved so much

On this day 4 years ago, Carlleena was in a hit and run car accident that could have and probably should have ended her life on this day.  God decided that she needed a little more time on earth with us, so she hung on for 19 more days before her passing.  I remember the phone call…her voice on the other line was strong yet scared.  She said that she had been in a really bad accident and she was stuck in the car.  She couldn’t get out and the guy that hit her ran.  I asked where she was and told her that i loved her and I was on my way.  That is one drive that I don’t recall.  I don’t know how fast I was going, I remember my heart feeling as though it was in a tight hold by something I couldn’t see.  I called Uncle Kevin because I knew chances of him being close by were great, and he was.  He was actually home that day.  I called her when I was about 5 minutes from the accident scene and what I heard on the other end was unidentifiable communication.  She was speaking but it was garbled and seemed of another language.  I couldn’t understand a word she was saying because she was getting ready to pass out.  I hung up the phone and was enraged at the thought that those sounds could be the last words I would hear from her. I remember beating on the steering wheel because I knew it could take it and it would feel nothing like I did at that moment. I screamed.  What exactly, I don’t know but it seemed needed so I followed through. I prayed and cried intently along that drive.  I didn’t want that to be embedded in my memory as the last words.  And thankfully they are not, but they are still a memory.

As I drove up to the accident scene the ambulance was pulling off.  I followed and all I could see was the rear of her car, I never saw the front end damage.  I know she had her bike on the rack on her roof and both the bike and roof rack were thrown off during impact. That day she was taking her bike to the shop and going to deliver a painting “Have U.N.E more Pull” to the Mint Museum Uptown where it was going to be displayed for an art show.  Regardless, neither item made it to its destination.  The painting is on my living room wall with minor damage and the bike hangs in my garage with damage marked in blue painter’s tape.

That night we got home from the hospital and as I was getting Carlleena settled in for what rest she could capture, she wanted to tell me about the accident.  She believed it was supposed to happen.  I am normally a believer of similar sorts, that everything happens for a reason, but this I wasn’t agreeing with.  I listened to her story and understood how she believed it was supposed to happen but I didn’t understand the reason at that moment.  I since have learned that when bad things happen to good people, the reason may not always be for us.  The reason may be for someone that we have never met.  The reason may be for the guy that hit her and then fled the scene on foot.  They later found him via helicopter.  Carlleena originally thought that he ran because the car was on fire.  It wasn’t until he stopped and turned around after his initial take off and locked eyes with her that she realized he was fleeing the scene.  I met him 7 months later as I spoke to him in court.  After the hearing, his very pregnant girlfriend was outside and we locked eyes.  I could tell that she had already been crying and I wasn’t sure what the reason, but in my mind, I felt the emotions falling off of her from the thought that I lost someone important, her seeing him knowing he would be there for a while longer and her flowing off of the gut wrenching emotions I just expressed behind those doors.  As I began to walk toward her, I remember her looking down at the floor as if she wasn’t sure what I was going to do.  I walked to her and hugged her and she cried.  I had tears in my eyes.  She said she was so sorry.  I looked at her and said God Bless her and her baby and I walked away.

A few days after the accident I had to go to the junk yard and obtain the personal items from Carlleena’s car.  When I walked up and the man told me that was her car, I hardly recognized it.  I guess walking through viewing all the other cars that had damage and my mind wandering to the condition of it’s owner had me in a fog.  I do not see how she made it out.  The jaws of life had to be used to get her out.  As I walked to the rear of the car to get the license plate off, tears streamed down my face and I began to sob.  I remember the gentleman who walked me through the yard looking over at me with grief in his eyes and I looked to him and said you must see this quite a bit.  He said yes ma’am I do.  I drive past the accident scene often, as it is 3.5 miles from my house, so it is kind of hard to avoid it.  But I’m not someone that likes to avoid the difficult stuff.  The first couple of years I would stop at the accident scene and place roses from my rose bush and have a few moments, but the nice people like to stop and ask if I need help with my car lol…politely interrupting my moments.  Those roses are in my house instead of on the side of the road today.  I am thankful to have had 19 more days witnessing her strength and creating more memories.IMG_3942IMG_3979

 

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Have U.N.E More Pull

Love is Love

My claim to be love in action is nothing but pure truth. I consider myself a well rounded individual and my balance within is absolute. It doesn’t surprise me that I have the capacity to love a man just as much as I have loved a woman…but it has surprised some others lol.  Oops…sorry, not sorry lol!  To me, love is love.   I understand that some people are only attracted to the opposite sex, the same sex, both or whatever other label society indicates, but it doesn’t mean that I follow that same path.  I honor and respect all journeys and continue to nourish my own journey. I have always been attracted to both men and women. I’ve always known about my attraction but I didn’t know how to explain it to others without them assuming that I was just confused or that it was just a phase.    Having spent the majority of my adult life with a woman until her passing in 2012, my journey to unveiling this root knowing with the world has been extraordinary.  I feel so alive in every aspect.

When I lived in Hawaii (’85-’88), I remember being attracted to an older girl in the neighborhood and also being attracted to my sister’s male friend. I remember finding the female Hula Dancers just as intriguing as the male Hula Dancers.  I was in tune enough to know the distinction between just thinking someone was pretty or handsome as we often do and actually being able to identify that I found them attractive on a romantic level.  I was young, so I was confused on how to express my feelings but I was never confused about what I was feeling.  I was never physically exposed to anyone that was openly “bisexual” in my youth, so I didn’t have that experience to help navigate my feelings.  I had boyfriends in middle school and high school and all of those feelings that generated the relationships were true.  Although there was other female attraction, I didn’t have the courage to journey through a same sex relationship until I met Carlleena though.

When people started asking me when I was going to start dating, it was like  a foreign language!  I would just reply that whoever wants to date me is just gonna have to show up on my doorstep lol.  That did kinda happen, but anyway, I was not going out looking for love.  I kinda felt like I would never love another woman like I loved Carlleena.  Not because I didn’t want to, but because I know that what she and I had was unique and solid. I felt like I wasn’t sure how to build something like that again.  I tried a couple times and those relationships were enlightening and awakening to this shift that has occurred. They were beautiful in their own light.  They were part of my journey and I am forever grateful for the reassurance in my feelings and knowing.  I’ll admit that I did lean toward just dating women because that is what presented and that is what I was used to…That is what my peers were used to associating me with.  I put myself into a societal category and tried to strictly label myself as identifying with being a lesbian because that is the type of gender identified relationship I knew and experienced the longest.  I’ve dealt with myself in that regard and in some part, in my journey, I felt that there was never going to be another love for me other than Carlleena.  We were going to grow old together so I accepted the label.  I knew (and Carlleena knew) that I wasn’t attracted to only women but I  found myself struggling to express this as an adult.  It got to a point where I knew I had to not care what others thought and honor myself , my journey and what only a few people in my life knew about me…that I truly am an equal opportunity lover 🙂

I have run these feelings into the ground, cried them out on the yoga mat, meditated, wrote about it and  I am confident within my peace and knowing.  If that makes you uncomfortable, then I believe you have some soul searching and ego clean up to deal with.  I am attracted to what I receive from someones energy.  I can easily find the physical attraction, but the energetic, dynamic, magnetizing attraction comes from the energy they exude gained by their own life experience.  To me, that is divine and alluring.  The untold story I have yet to hear as our eyes offer a window of insight,  presents opportunity.  I fell in love with Carlleena not because she was a woman, but because of all she encompassed, just as I am in love with Philip because of who he is, not what he is presented as in the physical.  My dynamic and powerful connection to the universe is so magnificent and sometimes hard to express with words, so I will continue to express how I know best….by being love in action…by being Marcy Kaye…Warrior Goddess…Wonder Woman lol!    I honor the spiritual connection that we are capable of in this earthly existence and I embrace all that God has planned.  My love has no preference on gender.  It’s only preference is honesty, laughter, understanding and reciprocity.

Love is Love!

 

 

A New Normal

The most difficult thing for me to navigate after Carlleena passed away was creating a new normal. Developing a new normal in the reality of learning to live without that person is quite a soul makeover. I showed myself how strong I truly am and unleashed parts of my essence that few people got to witness.  I showed myself what I was made of!  She was 32 when she passed away.  In 2012, I was 33 and a widow.  I know “they” always say “never say never” but I really NEVER, ever thought I would be a young widow.

While your life continues, that person is missing in the physical and now the task is to figure out how to make a new normal with the fresh, vacant time that exists.  You have to learn how to live without that person with so many  physical reminder of their existence within your home and in 20 years of memories. You develop new patterns and  will have to push your self out of an unfamiliar door as you face the world while navigating within your grief.  Sometimes that time until you feel like a semi normal human being again takes months or years.  Grief is a continual process and in some ways, lifelong.

Everything is different…every single minute in my day is now foreign within this immediate grief.  Waking up alone, eating meals, no laughter in the distance as she talked on the phone…the anticipated phone call or text during my day were no longer fulfilled.  Reaching for someone that is no longer there…Going to work, coming home from work, going to the grocery store, going to important places that cause memory triggers.  Going to sleep at night…it was full  of deep breaths and tears.  I cried every day for a year. I never hid my tears.  I cried in some very public places, IKEA was one of them LOL.  I ran out of a restaurant a few months after she passed because “our” song was playing.  I cried at work, I cried when I went running which is not the most convenient time to cry, but grief doesn’t wait for convenience.  I cried in the frozen pizza section at Harris Teeter once.  I still cry some days.  The tears now are filled with appreciating for knowing, loving and having been loved by such a magnificent person.

I remember the first day that I went back to work after she passed.  It was difficult to know that this large chunk of my life, going to work everyday and coming home from work would forever be different.   It would no longer be a normal moment for me to come home after work and greet her in her art studio (our garage).  Everyday for about 8 months, I came home from work, locked the door behind me, took off my shoes, placed my bag on the chair and walked through my living room, through the kitchen and into our garage looking for someone I knew would not physically be in there painting or doing research on the computer.  The day that I broke that routine, I was proud.  I knew I had to change my pattern to make my own new normal so I can continue healing.

I had many moments of being proud for making it through certain tasks.  If you are grieving, it is so important to be patient, and praise yourself in what seem like the small victories because they really are huge!  Be proud of yourself for taking out the trash after not taking it out for 16 years – we had a compromise LOL.  Be proud that you drank one of her favorite beers or you picked up one of her paint brushes.  Be proud that you burned the last of the Nag Champa incense left in the studio.  Be proud that you rearranged some furniture.  Be proud that you had moments in your day that you were happy and felt good.  Be proud that you allowed yourself to finish a whole pizza and at ice cream (yep I did lol).  Be proud that you were in charge of the grill now 🙂  Be proud that you finished off that jar of Nutella that she started.  Be proud that you sold one of her paintings.  Be proud that you can look at pictures of the two of you and no longer cry.  Be proud that you no longer ask why…Be proud for waking up and making breakfast.  Be proud that you ate that breakfast alone.  Be proud that you finally had their cell phone shut off.  Be proud that you stopped wearing her favorite shirt.  Be proud that you finally took that trip alone.  Be proud that you no longer smell that perfume bottle everyday.  Be proud that you laughed, that you watched a favorite movie.  Be proud that you thought someone else was attractive.  Be proud that you had the universal blessing to have felt love so deeply that it hurts this badly.

It is what you do with that time that truly heals.

My mindful participation with the rest of my life is my savior.

 

Resilient Splendor

Maya Angelou once said that “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  I agree…

One of my goals is to share my private literature with the world in hopes that I can encourage and inspire someone in need.  Here goes…

Resilient is my favorite word.  It’s meaning resonates within my soul.  Being resilient is part of my essence, my fire, my core…but it is only a small part of the foundation of who I am…all that I am…Marcy!   Resilient:  “The ability to work with adversity in such a way that one comes through it unharmed, even better for the experience.  It means facing life’s difficulties with courage and patience, refusing to give up.”  Splendor is a great beauty, brightness or luster…something splendid.  I like to uphold myself as a resilient, splendid being…hence the tag “Resilient Splendor.”  For those of you that know me, you are familiar with some of the challenges I’ve met alongside life, so this may be repetitive to you.  The choice is yours to keep reading or not. But you should keep reading 😉  For those of you that don’t know me, or if you are looking for inspiration, I am a survivor.  A life survivor and a young breast cancer survivor…a survivor.  My name means “war like”, so I guess you can say that I was predestined to be a warrior…a warrior goddess to be exact.  You can compare me to the likes of Wonder Woman if you’d prefer, as she is an icon in my world.  My friends donated the legendary, branding of “Wonder Woman” to me after they witnessed life trying to knock me down and instead I embraced my resilience coming to light.  No one has ever seen us in the same room together so my claim to be Wonder Woman has yet to be refuted 😉

Before I get into details of random life events that have unleashed my resilience, I’ll share a little bit about myself.  I am love in action.  I am independently owned and operated by a brilliant light, guided by my essence and conviction that will birth realities I cannot yet see.  Graced with the ability to live both in the now and through memories embedded in my spirit, I acknowledge that I must have been born in the belly of a star.  That star was filtered in tenacious light ready for the unfolding of what life has prepared. My anchor point is to live in my strength and reflect when I am resisting the calling to surrender.  My intention in life is to let my energy heal (self and others) and create room for those I love to become what they envision, all while continuing to keep that same light shining on myself. The world seems bigger when you look through it with a broken heart, which I have done many times for many different losses and challenges…we all have. (In case no one has told you lately, I am proud of you for standing back up after life tried to knock you down!)  I am humbled that strength has blessed me to walk in my vulnerability, holding out my hand to this old friend.  I trust in something I cannot see, but it is something that I know.   I humbly carry this gigantic view of the world and embrace the beauty and love unfolding.   I am revising the belief that “time heals all wounds” and instead point out that it isn’t time alone that heals, it is your mindful participation with life during that time that actually heals.

I walked around the halls of my high school with a hand written message on my book bag that read “love with your heart, not your eyes.”  That message still rings true in my spirit.  I don’t like labels that society creates, so I prefer not to categorize myself as “straight, lesbian or bisexual”…I am an equal opportunity lover.  The energy  you exude will tell me all I need to know to spark a potential interest.  I appreciate the beauty in all gender and races. Love is love.

I am mama to my awesome pupson, Kaipo, a Siberian Husky, Lab mix.   I love to travel, laugh, be a friend with nature, learn, share and heal!  I am an artist, a reiki practitioner and I am fluent in the languages of Love and Sarcasm 🙂  Obviously there is so much more than this that has shaped me into this thirty something warrior goddess,  but this is just a snippet.   My family and friends keep me sane and the  unspoken knowing keeps me grounded.

There is too much war in the words of my silence, so I will continue to share my story by walking in my vulnerability, nurturing a stronger side of myself and hoping to inspire those open to receive it. I hope you will continue reading my story and sharing your own.