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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last for the Van Living Series

Five children and two adults in a full-sized Chevy seven-seater van.  It was pretty stressful.  The greatest concern was probably our awareness of others' and the climate of decreasing parental rights in this country.  We were very mindful of everything.  Hyper-vigilant is definitely an appropriate way to describe that time.

I started to lose my hair big time.  It was so super thin on top that I could see my scalp readily when I parted my hair in the middle (so I didn't) and I had a bald-spot at either side of my head where I could've had bangs except that there wasn't enough hair for them.  I'm relatively sure the combo of post-partum hormones and stress from our circumstances contributed to the hair loss.

Jessie wasn't sleeping well toward the end of our van living experience.

But it was good in lots of ways.  Being together was good.  The children were so happy to have us all together all the time.  After all the time Jessie was busy with cheffing... it was definitely a good change to them!  We emjoyed being able to pick up and go whenever and wherever.  No prep, load, and depart... just figure out a general idea of where and head in that direction... figuring out the details as we went.

One of the difficulties was how to spend down time... when you have a house, you just kind of hang out there when you don't have anything else you have to do.  But when you don't have a house... what do you do?  We spent time in libraries all over East Texas.  We stopped in shops to walk around.  We ate in restaurants (that was a big time consumer when we did it and that was an added benefit to that choice).  We spent time in various parks and at many playgrounds.  The children loved that, of course.

There was so much good in those three months.  Lots of difficult.  And, if I'm honest, maybe I have a tendency to focus on the negative so that's why that part of that time stands out in high relief in my mind.  There really was lots of good in it, too.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Van Living

As I mentioned last time, EmJ and I slept on the rear seat-bed.  Jmy slept in his seat, tilted back, sometimes.  Other times he slept on blankets on the ground.  The way back was fixed up as a bed with lots of blankets.  Ria and sometimes Tea slept there.  I laid out another blanket pallet between the driver's seat and the first row of seats where Kat and sometimes Tea slept.  Jessie slept in the front seat leaned back.

He wouldn't consider sleeping anywhere else.  He was on hyper alter and very vigilant.

We hung blankets over the front windshield and from the driver's and passenger's windows.  The rest of the windows had pull-down shades and some of the side windows also had curtains.  Those were really helpful!

Because we were all over East Texas looking for our land, we couldn't leave all our stuff with the trailer in Tyler.  We used that to store much stuff, but we kept a couple changes of clothes for each of us in the van.

Also, we had to keep food and a way to prepare it... so we purchased a huge cooler and used the smaller one that we already had as a dry-goods pantry.  We also purchased a coleman-type stove.  We did eat in restaurants, but not every meal or every day.

When Jessie searched for a place for us to van camp, he was always very mindful that he must unload the ice chests so that the way back area could be used as someone's bed.  I think that was one of the most stressful aspects of his almost nightly effort.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Our Move: Van Living

We left Florida and had a few neat experiences.

It was part of our plan from the beginning that we would do our very best to save all the money we "made" on the sale of the house for the purchase of our new place in Texas.  One way we planned to save money was by living out of our van during the move and subsequent search for our place.  Some folks believed it would take us a long time to find what we were looking for... but I knew with a sure 'knowing' that we would find it very quickly and since we were buying with cash, we'd move onto our land more quickly than anyone could imagine.

As it happened, I was completely correct.  Yet, even though we found our land super fast and closed unbelievably quickly, we still ended up living in our van for almost three months.  Thankfully the van's rear seat reclined into a bed of sorts...  It was big enough for me and the baby, EmJ, at least.  I'll tell you the rest of the story of how we slept next time.

We did it for almost three months.  It was probably the worst best experience of my life.  You know those, right?  The really bad experiences that teach you so much that you have to qualify them as good in some way, shape, or form.

Next post about van living.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

More About Hair

Hair is helpful yall!

For one... regardless of how "advanced" we are... long hair tends to be a differentiating marker for females.  Short (especially clipper-guard short) for guys.

It helps you stay warm.  I've taken to wearing a hat to bed... at least until I'm warm enough to deal with not wearing it.

Cushion.  Have you ever considered how many times we knock our heads?  Hair is a nice bit of protection from those knocks and bumps.

Sensory overload.  I've experienced greater issues with sensory difficulties since I shaved my head.  Strange?  I'm not sure.  It seems like I'm not able to process information from my environment as well.  I feel like I'm overloaded much of the time and just want to hibernate!

Did I mention the warmth factor?  Yeah... given that it's turning winter around here and I'm still more Florida acclimated... hair was really helpful!

Feeling pretty... or, at least... feminine.  I'm not a beauty.  I know it.  I don't wear makeup because I choose not to afford the products I would be willing to wear (not stuff from the drug store, that's for sure!).  I don't really wear jewelry.  So my long hair was really my only adornment... and I didn't style it all up or anything.  It was just there.  Usually in a bun on top of my head.

Anyway... I was looking in a window (in lieu of a mirror) while I shaved my head and I realized to a lesser degree (than when I saw myself in a real mirror) how rough I was going to look and I started crying and repeating a mantra that I need to say to myself much more often... "Hair doesn't make me pretty.  I am more than my hair.  I AM more than my body.  Beauty shines out from within.  I don't need hair to feel pretty."  *sigh*  It sure helps, though.

Be kind.  You never know what battles someone else is fighting.... or what troubles they are working through in heart, mind, or soul!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hair Revisted

Most pertinent is the fact that I still hold the same position as the last time I shared my thoughts on hair.  Actually, I think my experiences of late have only added to my belied that hair is helpful in innumerable ways.  Among them are things I have heard of, but not experienced to the degree I have recently.

Have you ever felt something coming for years?  Have you heard someone tell a story of their own life and felt like they were talking about something you would yet experience?  Have you ever felt as though you could see a path being laid out in front of you and you didn't want to walk it, but knew you would regardless of how much you may dislike it?

All of those experiences have visited me in various ways and for different experiences in my life.  I've felt them all come together concerning my choice just a bit more than a week ago to shave my head.  Number three guard.  My hair was long enough to hang past my bum, yall!  Number three guard.

I've been writing a LOT lately.  I promise this is pertinent to the hair thing... just give me a sec and you'll see.

I love writing and have gone through spurts of great productivity before... but nothing like this recent laying out of realities that are only real in my own head.  The characters have arisen from a dream in three parts the morning of October 15th, I think.  The overarching story has been developing in me since I was first preggie with Ria (my eldest who is almost twelve now!).

When I say I've been productively writing... I've had many ten-thousand word days since the end of October when I really started writing on the story.  Even a few twenty-thousand word days!  Thus far (and I haven't been able to write on it much since the discovery) I've compiled about three novels worth of words, assuming an average novel is sixty-thousand words long.   I realize I may not keep all of those words... but the scope of this story has always been epic... definitely series-type stuff.  Now with three novels already written... it's just coming to fruition.

So what does this have to do with shaving my head?  Okay... okay....

Well, Tuesday Novemeber 24th (and dang it I just realized I didn't call a brother to sing 'happy birthday' to him because of this upsetting "find"....) I found a louse.  Not just anywhere... but on me.  Well, really... in my hair.  I was shocked and upset.  Yet not.

I searched the heads of the three children home with me (two were out with Daddy) and found lice on each of them.  Dang it!  I knew, because we've done this dance before, that if the three I had with me housed lice, the other two surely did.  So... I felt the press of all the preparation... years of whispers and 'knowings'....

Two roads rose up in my mind's eye.  One involved my desperate effort to retain my tresses and the time requirement such an endeavor would mean.  I already knew the next ten days to two weeks would be full of conditioner treatments, picking lice from heads, ridiculous laundry washing, nit picking...  Oh, the torture!  And adding my own head into the mix would mean more time... and how would I pick through my own hair?  Honestly... that's just not likely to work out well.

The other option was cutting my hair.  And by cutting, I mean shaving.  I saw this as a way to reduce, at least, the conditioner treatment time consumed on myself (and money spent on said conditioner, which is no small consideration given our circumstances of late).  My hair was around three feet long... maybe more... so the amount of conditioner and plastic wrap necessary to deal with the darn bugs on me would be... well, ridiculous is an understatement.

So, I shaved my head.  Not as completely as I shaved my son, Jmy... I took his down to no-guard.  I used a three on me. 

Funny little guy!  I know he thought I looked weird.  Pretty sure he actually said that word to describe me.  And then, after I'd cut all his hair off he asked me at least three times, "Mama, do I look weird?"  Each time I stopped, looked at him, and considered.  When I answered I told him some version of, "You look like my handsome Jmy-boy with no hair.  Not weird.  Just my Jmy."  He was satisfied after the third query.

My husband didn't deal with the shock of seeing his shorn wife very well.  At least, not for my vanity.

One daughter (who was away with Daddy while Mama cut all her hair off) told me right off that she liked it and told me I was beautiful.  Kat.  My sweet exuberant Kat.

Tea, my seven-year old... well, she was WAY less tactful or encouraging, "Mama!  What did you DO?  You look wee-eird!  I mean, you seriously look WEIRD!"  Yeah... thanks kid.

I don't have many mirrors around our place.  Actually, most of them are on vehicles, honestly.  There's one in our house... medicine cabinet mirror.  Right now I'm really glad.  But it was a bit shocking to see myself for the first time in a real mirror.

You'd definitely know I'm related to my brothers and Dad right now!  Mannish.  Yes, definitely.  Tranny... probably could be mistaken as one.  I'm pretty sure I was stared down by a group of guys who thought I was a man dressing as a woman.  That's probably the worst reaction so far.

The second worst could be considered nice... or positive, but unfortunately not by me... It's the really nice way some gay girls treated me when previously they've never paid me any mind.  Butch.  Yes... I look butch.

Funniest of all... I realized only just recently that I'm turning forty in a couple weeks and now I look like I'm having a mid-life-crisis!  Good grief!

So... if you see a fat chick (preggie, too... but that's not altogether apparent since I'm fat) who looks mannish or butch... and she's got a bunch of kids... maybe she's not crazy or gay or tranny  ... maybe she just wanted to get back to her writing and had to take time off to deal with lice.

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