Due Diligence


60 plus tomorrows later…

This post is brought to you by the light of a new day…

Peace and freedom

Relatively Speaking

Another trip to the Psychiatric ER and I’d been obsessing, and struggling to get my appearance just so-making up for the past week of sloth. I wondered if cancer patients and/or diabetics have an ER patient hierarchy. I wonder if they too feel at fault for being ill or look around thinking along the lines of their neuroses somehow trumping an other’s psychoses because it’s hidden behind a nice new haircut and overpriced Mac lip gloss. I don’t know anyone close enough to ask if these thoughts are mine alone. I wonder often just how close is close when mental illness presents itself. I’ve been shamed, bullied and abandoned by some of the closest friends I’ve had since my last MDE began in October. To that end, some of my dearest friends have come together to support me in ways I didn’t know they could. Needless to say I have been taking inventory of my circle and cut my losses all of them in one fell swoop.

As I looked around the crisis center at fragile, shaken and battered women; some disheveled and notably filled with embarrassment, shame and fear, I couldn’t help but feel like we…us, those here for help and healing, maybe we are the only normal people. Knowing that our pain has a root: a person an experience, a loss, really makes you step outside of societal norms and ask your Self, “Is it normal for one person event to be more traumatic for some than for others and isn’t this sensitivity, fragility-part of what makes them who they are and not necessarily indicative of what they have?” Aren’t we all a product of intricately woven patterns of behavioral responses shaped by our own individual experiences? Where are the meanies, why aren’t they here talking to someone. Laughs. (Yes, I’ve been doing that again lately, loud and heartily-I am learning to laugh again.)

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”-
Maya Angelou

Five…I’m Alive

Each day presents another challenge, another obstacle, another step through the walk of fire. I am literally fighting for my life on a daily basis. While I am not physically marred, the mental/emotional undoing has been catastrophic. There are parts of me that others, and myself knew who have been lost along the way, and I’ve only just begun to journey.

My life has not been my own for many, many years. I am finding, in developing the parts of me that atrophied from injury and subsequent dependency, that I have lots of rehabilitation ahead.

Yesterday a a pertinent recognizance was made whilst sitting with him and talking. I had been in my bedroom (where I am most often found these days) reading “O” Magazine, and as much as Oprah “Wince” Winfrey irks me, she does have an incredible staff. This month’s magazine features a segment by writer Martha Beck . The segment, “20 Questions That Could Change Your Life” has already changed my creative vision for this next phase in my life.

As we sat and sobbed, these words churned through my empty, nervous belly and rushed from my trembling mouth, “I just want a love that doesn’t hurt”. What happened next in my head kept me from fully hearing anything he had to say behind my comment. At once I felt shame and determination, it was a simultaneous “Oh no, a-ha” moment. The realization that I- perfectionist to a fault, had in fact perfected the art of settling for a life of mediocrity. If all I want is a love that doesn’t hurt, I have clearly lowered my standards through the course of this thing called life. You see, Tameka would have never consciously entered or fostered a relationship of pain. Hell, I don’t even “break-in” shoes. This is a dynamic realization and a painful truth.

“Is this what I want to be doing”, Martha Beck asked me to ask myself. I fought to utter through pain-induced asphyxia, that one barely audible word and out it came set to the drumbeat of my palpitating heart, “No”. I whispered as I shook my tear-stained face in support of the assertion I’d just made. And, then I nodded and even giggled a little because the revolution has indeed begun.


These past weeks of introspection have been good for me. I have bathed in frigid pain and warmed myself in love: soft, warm, nurturing, self-love.

I realize that I am not whole, but I am enough. I realize that what I’ve given of myself was neither naive nor in vain, but in a higher awareness that I was put here to give love freely…and in that knowledge, I have no regrets.

I challenge the old adage that love is blind, as an artist I can truly say I viewed my marriage the same way I view all the world, as a thing of beauty worthy of eternal curation, and creation. As an artist I also know “A work of art is never finished, only abandoned.” -da Vinci

There is beginning and and end in all things, even those which are incomplete have an ending point.

In facing my fears, I have located the cycle in which I have been haplessly spinning in for my entire life. No longer a child, I look to my own children who mirror the fears of my inner-child and, solemnly albeit valiantly I make a decision to end it here.


By beginning at the beginning, a 12-Step program for families of addicted persons. Much like addicted persons, the families who love them lack the self-control, willpower [insert your reason here] to stop enabling them to destroy themselves and ultimately you. I will not be destroyed, I can not be destroyed, it isn’t part of my plan, it isn’t part of my peace.


It’s been four days since he left to “find himself, and gain strength”, and I, in some strangely surprising ways have managed to find strength in what I believed to be a formidable situation. These days and nights have been long and lonelier than the longest of loneliest days and nights.

I watched him descend the stairs, eyes welled with tears, mind replete with confusion, empty clothes hangers swaying to and fro in the periphery. He ambled on, dashed dreams, hopes and future plans following him like cans in a wedding processional, the cacophony played out by my arrhythmic heartbeat. This is not my life. This is not my life.

We’ve been here before, but this time is different…I hesitate to release what makes this time different for fear that I have power to make it true, but my heart knows we are at a crossroad and when the time is right, I will face and release my fears.

For now, I’m spending a lot of time in my own mind soothed and sometimes shaken by the words of my inner voice, healing and haunted by my inner child. She is afraid of abandonment, imperfection and failure…and while I know there is no abandonment, imperfection or failure in love, the same cannot be said for the ways and the people with whom we share that love…

I ask myself, “Do I love freely and openly without expectations and fears?” And, I nod softly in the recognizance that change must begin from within.

“When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.”-William Arthur Ward


I am a yo-yo, haphazardly thrust toward the ground, sometimes successfully finding my starting place and other days a tangled mass of fear and longing between the dangerous grip of an emotionally underdeveloped human and my own bottom.

In truth, I don’t know what I want to do, this isn’t nice and orderly like beads and wires, or cooking, or syntax. This is about love and, love is so incredibly complex. How can I love someone who hurts me? How can I hurt someone who loves me? Really, think about it. How do I know that this shitty-hurts-like-hell-haphazard-yo-yo love is not the best he has to give right now. How do I know that at this very moment in our 22 year relationship that he, for whatever reasons-even those of which I may have contributed- is not giving me his all? I don’t. And, that is where the bulk of my day goes. I spend hours vacillating between a broken heart and a racing heart, reconciliation and resignation, hell and hope.

Yesterday, I took a break from it all. I willed myself into the shower in front of the mirror and into a new dress and even some lip gloss. I went downtown to one of my retailers and sold enough jewelry to pad my purse nicely, and then I went to the Crisis Prevention Center and asked for help. Gasp. Me? Help? Yes, me.

As I approached the desk, I could feel the anxiety building…building…building and then the desk nurse asked, “How can I help you?” Barely audible, “I replied, I need some help, please”. And he replied, “I’m sorry did you say you’re here to see someone?” And, the levee broke. He rushed me into a room where I could gather myself and complete the intake information. It was there in that room, alone, fixated on the small stain on an armchair that I realized I was spent. And for the next four hours that I sat there, I didn’t think of anyone but myself. And, as I signed a host of consents for new medications, I didn’t think of any one’s opinions or judgments. It truly was a money in the bank moment, the first step in investing in me.

I returned home, and all was well, even without my incessant check-in calls. It’s safe to say that for now, in this moment, my investments there paid off, so now it’s time to work on me. This is where the real work comes in.


With intense trepidation he summoned me toward him, lightly patting the large blue pillow backed sofa. On his face was an expression I’d seen before-an expression I knew meant nothing good, but couldn’t quite place. I felt fear and tension embrace me, as I pulled the laundry unto me like a shield. I intuitively looked to the sky and took a deep cleansing breath in and then out, I could hear my heart beating. Fight or flight? I could feel my inner Self, as if disjointed from the present Self, frightfully pounding from within as if she were trying to break out and away from the impending doom. Such is the deep silent omnipresent worry of anyone living with mental illness. But, there was no time for escape or disassociation, here I was before him shrinking inside as his lips began to part and utterance befell me. “I’ve been thinking…” he said, when my eyes widened in insurmountable fear, having just placed that… “I know that face, oh no…I know that face!” I began to shiver and brace myself with another deep, albeit labored and broken breath.

My heartbeat is so loud, to hear him I shake my head and adjust my footing, like an old TV antenna. Squinting, I direct my eyes on his and begin to hear his words escape, in forced crackling sputters from his own personal stranglehold of pain. “…unfulfilled…break…sep-a-ration”. From his lips to my ears and through me like a fire gavage, engorging my chest and belly before reflexive rejection violently forces it back up where it wedges tightly in my throat. I close my eyes and will my heart to stop beating, or conversely that I might open my eyes in full view of a cat’s ass and have this have been a terrible, horrible, very bad dream.

I sit, having dropped the laundry somewhere during the first blow and the present moment; time is dragging at warp speed. Now, with my hands suddenly free, I place one on my throat and one on his leg as the first tear begins to fall, followed by so many others. One, for all of the many years of tireless, endless love, hard work and commitment. I know what he said, I know what I heard, but what I feel is “shame…pain…dev-a-station”. Silently, we sit before each other and while on the outside I’m visibly imploding, on the inside I’m planning and constructing strategies, compromises, sacrifices- an-y-thing I can will my troubled mind to piece, because I am a fixer.

But this time-this time is different and, there are many layers deep beneath the surface which warrant repair-self repair. Selfishness: the caveat of married people may be our only saving grace. It is with that recognizance that I retreat, not in surrender but in search of the answers that are buried beneath the piles of photos, milestones and memories amassed through the years: under promises and obligations, at the naked core of who we truly are as individuals.

“For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.”-Gibran

>Charity begins at home…


…in the kitchen with the “good” scissors and the big comb.

Yesterday was no ordinary hair day at Mom’s salon. Well, there were the usual tears and threats to “leave you looking just like this”. But, it was also much more, so much more, some might say it was the best hair day ever.

A few months ago after plans to have her nose pierced were thwarted by a responsible piercer (I say it’s adultism…but that’s a whole other post.) Yael Rose, looking for ways to express herself-gratefully sans the usual histrionics- spotted a young woman with BIG kinky curls. “Mom, can my hair do that? I wanna do that with my hair!” She was giddy at first sight.

Hair politics being what they are (and in my opinion aren’t) I admittedly began deliberations; far more thought than was warranted for a hairstyle, but the pull of familiar thought patterns is strong even if said thought patterns are woven with ridiculous.

Whilst repeating, “It’s only hair.” In my mind, and at times aloud, it became clear to me that it may only be hair to us, but it is hair, like wow-oh-my-goodness-beautiful-amazing hair to someone in need, and the decision was finalized. Yael could have her cut, and BIG kinky curls and we’d entrust Locks of Love to pass on her generous gift of ooh-girl-thank-goodness-I-don’t-have-to-comb-that-stuff-no-more…er I mean wow-oh-my-goodness-beautiful-amazing hair!

And, we did it! Her donation was just under 11 inches when pulled straight. After the big cut, Yael exclaimed, “Well, I’ll never do that again”! Already wrought with anxiety, I came from behind to face her and said excitedly, “You regret it?!” She replied, “Yeah. I’ll never let it grow that long again!” Heartbeat? Check. One cool kid? You bet!

Note: BIG kinky curls ‘grow’ upon standing. Stay tuned…
Peace and love

>I’m back…


“Ovid’s Hope” In A People House -T.Allen-Mercado 2011
The winter season has, dear friends, taken me on quite a tour of the whirl variety, not at all to be mistaken for the far more propitious tour of the world variety. Tumult abound, I have been forced to face some painful truths. But, in the darkness of recognizance, I have found light in the infinite promise of hope.

“Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” –Jean Kerr

I feel renewed and resigned-willfully this time to accept hope as an answer, when all else fails. Thank you, all of you who have shown support here, or via Networked Blogs on Facebook. Your presence, and the realization that my words and feelings therein resonate with so many others is truly a gift.

This blog is a great source of comfort to me, and whilst I’ve been sucktastically erratic in my posting schedule, being here is one of the things I’ve missed and needed most. It feels good to be back, and believe me, I am back.

Peace and hope

>The Ghost of Christmas Impasse


“Twas the night before Christmas, Christmas day, the day after and another damn day after that, and all the through the house not a kind word was spoken betwixt a wife and her spouse.”

Alas I’ve reached the point of reason…well, maybe not reason but some semblance of cogent thought and articulation, that I might write (Read: purge) what ails me about “special days” and the special pressures they present. Along the same vein as people who bellow out in anguish and upset when their favorite celebrity is revealed to be er…um, human, I have come to find that I have gravely mistaken egg nog as the cure for assholery. Hark, the shame and frustration!

Much like celebrities, special days are just regular ol’ days with added expense, pretense and expectations. And boy, did that I ever learn that the hard way this year.

Some of you may have noticed my erratic and harried posting schedule; many days and events’ recaps cut from lag between posts and sheer lack of memory. I’ve been pretty bogged down with my business, my books and some of the less exciting aspects of real life. Why, why then- did I think the twenty-fourth of December would swoop in on a sleigh and bring with it cute mammals adorned in bells –of the un-ringing variety, please, I am a mother, silence is both golden, and scarce– patience, peace, respect, consideration, compassion, [insert other things that don’t incite me to full-blown histrionics]. What was I thinking?! Well, whatever it was, clearly it was not a shared sentiment, because my December 24th came swooping in alright, and out of me came words I’m almost ashamed to repeat. OK, so that last part is a big fat lie if I ever told one, but it sounds good…so, let’s stick with it.

In truth, it was disappointing, I was disappointed, I am disappointed, and although I’m quite pissed with the Favorite Guy, I may very well be most pissed with myself for having just realized…admitted- Oh semantics, you can suck it too- the obvious.“This is no new elephant, Tameka, and you went and put lights and silver doodads on it?! Hell, now it seems larger, and even more ominous”!

Now on the heels of a brand NEW! year, I’m feeling yet more pressure. Yes, in addition to the sad and heavy said glittered elephant has left deep in my craw. “I’ve got to snap out of this, everyone will be making resolutions and writing lists”, I say. Yet, the best I can come up with is a plan for surrender, a white flag, an un-flipped bird, one final act of anything but willful resignation. More pressure, more pretense, more blog fodder. Sighs and sulks.

Hey, how much alcohol do you think it takes to kill an elephant? No, not a real one, silly.
I’ll take peace for a thousand , Alex.