Thursday, April 9, 2015

Happy Birthday Lelania, Today you remember who you are...

I don't need to forget where I have been because
 it has led me to where I am, and where I am going!
We sat outside under the stars smiling with tears streaming down our faces, like two halves of one whole who had been away from each other for far too long.  It had only been a week long business vacation in Hawaii, however my little sister and I are just that connected, twin souls if there is such a thing.  At this point in our lives it is as if we have come back together to cheer each other on through big life changes and why not, it has always been that way with us.  We have always been each others one person.

We sat reminiscing over memories stirred up from a video I made during my visit to Oahu.  A video where I shared a personal part of myself, my life and my history.  An unexpected realization that occurred in Hawaii, likely triggered by the scent of flowers and tropical fruit mixed with the warm ocean breeze, memories of a time past rushed into me one morning, memories of a time in our life when things were challenging, scary and unsure.  A part of our story that played out in 1980 while we lived on Maui in the foster care system.

As I sat with my beautiful little sister on my first night home, she shared with me how watching that video impacted her deeply, and shared one memory that has stayed with her all these years, standing out from the many she can recite so effortlessly where I have blocks of memories hidden in me, forgotten accidentally on purpose.

Tears welled up in both our eyes as she shared this memory...  I will never forget, we were standing in the hallway, I had just joined you in Hawaii after mom went into program.  I didn't know how bad it had been for you until that night.  She was coming down the hall with the whip to hit me, I was terrified, and you stepped in front of me and stood between us and told her she would never hit me.  She beat you for what felt like the longest time, till you layed on the floor with your hands over your head, and you never screamed out, you just took it.  I stood there scared for you and safe all at the same time, and I knew she would not hit me.  You were always that sister for me JoJo, I have always been safe because of you.  I remember when she made us take cold showers to punish us, I hated the cold water, you looked at me and said strongly, get in the water Tamar and don't you dare let her see you cry, don't give her that pleasure.  Cold showers are better for you, I take them all the time, Then she made us sleep on the cold hard floor under the fan in our underwear with no pajamas.  You slid your arm under my head to give me a pillow and wrapped your body around me and whispered... Don't cry sister, don't give here the satisfaction, I will keep you warm, we are okay because we have each-other, I am here don't be scared.

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As she shared those memories, the images flooded into me as if we were catapulted back to that hard floor, two little girls sleeping with nothing but each other to keep warm.  My heart filled with so much love and gratitude for her, for the role she played in my life.  She created in me a warrior.  I sat again with her last night sharing a great realization, while she was at work, throughout the day those memories swirled around in me, stirred deep within me and I almost screamed out loud... NOTHING CAN STOP ME IN THIS LIFE, I CAN BE STRONG FOR ME TOO. As I thought of myself, that young scared girl, standing in the hallway blocking her path to my sister, taking the beating to keep her safe I understood that if I could be that brave as a child in that moment and the many other moments that brave or die was the only choices I felt I had, that today as the woman I am becoming--the woman who loves herself, wholly, completely--There is nothing that can overcome me, I am a warrior with a martyrs heart. Because she was in my life, I grew in compassion and bravery, without her I would likely be dead today.

I had the best time in Hawaii, to be able to go there simply to enjoy life and offer an amazing opportunity to the new friends I made there was FANTASTIC.  Today I can do so much, I rode an ATV and now I am going to buy one, because I want to ride it to the mailbox down the street, hahaaa. It is good to live loving life, loving me, knowing I deserve to succeed.

She taught me to be strong for someone else, because my childhood taught me I had no worth, no one to protect me, I was not loved.  If I had not learned to be strong for someone else, then who could I have been strong for?  I hated me, I would have never found the strength in me to be that strong for myself, for her I found that strength and more.  I am so grateful for her today.

Freedom from the past comes in surrender to embracing it all as part of the
whole that is this extraordinary life!
As I sit here on my 46th birthday, looking back over the thousand lives I lived in this one lifetime alone.  Gratitude for it all floods me,  the realization that I gained a couple of years ago, the belief that I choose my parents, I chose it all combined with these memories, I realize that all of it was part of an extraordinary life.  I chose an extraordinary life, faced great challenges at such a young age by choice.  And as the pieces of the puzzle come together now at this phase of my life I see clearly how all of it mattered, all of it valued, because without any of it, I would not have been built the way I am built.

I Am!
Today, loving myself for the first time in my life, understanding that I am not only worthy of love, I am love.  While I have lost some friends along the way with the changes I have made in my life as loving yourself first can be a turn off to those who are used to the old you who gave more than you had to give, I have gained so much from this journey of self love.  Today I can say proudly I have earned the success I am experiencing and for the first time in my life I actually know that, so excuse me while I cheer myself on, I have paid my dues, today I get to know who I am through remembering who I have been and today I know one truth, I FUCKING ROCK!

It felt good to say that and mean it!  Today I want to dedicate this song to my sister for the millionth time!  Because I will never leave her side, not when she needs me anyways.  And to say thank you little sister for helping me remember, today I have realized that I have always been strong for others, and now I know I can be strong for me, today I can be strong for me, because I deserve to love myself that much too.  Seeing you brave all on your own today makes my heart smile, seeing you own your joy, becoming the woman all the parts of our past made you into makes me jump for joy.  I love you always in all ways sister, always!

I love you all from a place of celebration of 46 years of an extraordinary life, with gratitude for being able to share it with you and for excitement for what comes next, if you thought I was strong before stay tuned because this is about to get really good!

One Love,

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  1. I found your blog here randomly through a FB post tonight... and now I'm in tears! You are such an inspiration, Jojo! Thank you for sharing what is not always easily shared.

    1. Yaaaaay, I am so honored to have you read my blog and my heart is smiling reading your words. I love you so much.