Painfully Beautiful

It took me a long time to notice all the noises outside my head. And, even longer, to take the time to stop and really listen to them.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve intentionally avoided seeing the world around me. And, not just the ugly parts, I turn away from even the most beautiful.

It is all so heartbreaking.

When I finally realized it was probably better for me to feel, I opened my eyes to everything around me. Now, there’s nothing I don’t see. And, while this is wonderful in so many ways, most of the time, it’s way too much for me.

In an instant, my jacked up mind can turn beauty into tragedy.

Like, the other day, when I was watching the two cardinals that live in my yard. These guys are monogamous, and will stay together as long as life allows it. As I watched them take turns at the feeder, tears started falling down my cheeks, and my mind filled with worry. What will happen if one of them dies? Will the other one search and search and search? Will it fly into every tree calling for its other half? Will it feel heartbreak like we do? Or confusion? Or both?

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I’m crying again thinking about them. Go figure.

When the weather gets cold here in Houston everyone cheers. And, so do I, until I think about all the animals and the people who have no place to go and no one to love. I think about dogs trying to find a warm place on a cold night, and it rips me apart that I can’t rescue them all.

And, of course, the people.

The other day when I returned home from dropping the boys off, there was a squirrel in the street. He’d just been hit by a car. As I neared it, I prayed over and over again, “Please be dead already. Please be dead already.”

He wasn’t.

So, I stood there, cars swerving around me, trying to figure out what the hell to do, because doing nothing was not an option. There was no way I could walk into my house and leave him dying in the middle of the road….alone. No one, even the smallest of beings, should have to die alone.

So, I picked him up. And, I stood on the sidewalk holding and petting him. I spoke to him softly, “It’s okay. You’re not alone. I’m here. It’s okay.”

He seemed peaceful when he finally went.

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Or, maybe that’s just what I want to believe.

All this emotion inside of me is like an active volcano…bubbling and bubbling until it reaches the surface. It’s so exhausting, and I’m constantly wondering the purpose of it all.

Some people, no, many people, probably think I’m crazy – the girl who talks to dying squirrels and cries over cardinal romance.

But, to me, they’re the crazy ones. They’re the ones I don’t understand. The ability to see pain, big and small, and feel nothing? That’s something I can’t wrap my head around.

Or, maybe I’m just jealous. After all, apathy does seem less exhausting.

The night to hand out our We See You bags is quickly approaching, and my emotions are all over the place, more so than usual.

I’m happy I can help someone a little.

I’m sad I can only help someone a little.

Is a blanket and a toothbrush going to change their lives? Will it save them? Will it rescue them? Will it love them?

No. The answer to all that is no.

And, that kills me. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking and why can’t I do more?

But, then I remember, that doing nothing won’t change their lives, save them, rescue them, or love them, either.

So, for now, this is the only road I know to take and I’ll take it with my eyes wide open.

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Project: We See You 2013: Homestretch!

Hi guys!

Well, we’re in the homestretch for this year’s project!

Updates:

My son’s school has taken this up as their community service project for December. They set up bins around the campus to collect donations. They also took an excerpt from the first piece I wrote on homelessness, publishing it in their weekly post. My mind is officially blown.

When I told Luca that I’d written this page, he thought it was the coolest. It earned me major mom points and made him more interested in Project: We See You.

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The students and their families will be packing the bags this weekend. I really can’t believe it. Like I wrote in my letter to the school, “All I’ve ever wanted was for this to become a movement of love and compassion, and I’m moved beyond words to see this dream coming true.”

You people, you good, wonderful, generous people, have given so much. As of now, I have raised $3,665. Amazing! I’m so grateful and I wish I could hug all of you!

Today I began purchasing all the items and it looks like I’ll be able to put together around 150 bags this year! That’s 100 more than last year! Because of you.

Happy tears.

If you still want to buy a bag, you can do so by clicking HERE.

Thank you so much for making this a world where I’m proud to raise my kids.

Originally posted at Project: We See You.

PWSY Update and Donation Information

Hi guys! Re-posting this over here for those of you not following the Project: We See You site

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Hi!

In today’s post, I will attempt to forgo the chit-chat and extra adjectives and just get to the point.

(No promises.)

You guys have gone above and beyond and, for that, I thank you so much. In one week, Project: We See You has raised $2,215! I can’t wait to finally go buy those boots I’ve been wanting (KIDDING).

I’ve been impressed with the overall usability of Fundly, but I do have one small thing to bitch about. I tried to go in last night and change the default donation to $1, but it wouldn’t allow it. So, then I tried $5, and it still wouldn’t go for it. This rubs me the wrong way, because it sounds very presumptuous of me to assume everyone has $10 to spare. So, please know this is not my request. If there is anyone who wants to donate less than $10, we can always set something up through PayPal – even the mail! A dollar is a dollar and I appreciate whatever amount you’re able to offer.

Second, if you’re not able to contribute financially, but still want to help, I’ll gladly (and so gratefully) accept in-kind donations (new and gently used). I mean, you can send me an old blanket, sweatshirt, or one tube of Neosporin – all of it is just as needed and helpful as cold, hard cash.

And, you know what? If you’d rather go out and donate these items in your own city?  That’s amazing and I say GO FOR IT!

Let’s see….

A good family friend who just happens to specialize in teeth donated 900 disposable toothbrushes! 900! Thank you Norman and Cristina Speer!

My boys have a kids care club at school and they will be helping to pack the bags once all the supplies are in. A Brownie Troop is also going to contribute by grouping and organizing items, before they go in the bags. And, to both of these things I say YES for teaching kids compassion and YES for child labor (ha).

I’ve yet to began purchasing items, because I want to get a better idea of my budget and how many bags it will allow. So, if you want to send anything for the bags, here is a list of needed items!

Toothpaste
Long-sleeved shirts
Towels
Blankets
Winter hats and gloves
Rain ponchos (Disposable or not)
Band-aids, Neosporin, Tylenol (or anything that can be used in a first-aid kit)
Cereal Bars (or any other easy to eat, non-perishable food items)
Water bottles (With water or empty, reusable ones)
McDonald’s Arch Cards (or any meal cards)
Feminine Products
Chapstick
Manicure Kit
Houston Metro Passes
Body lotion
Soap
Shampoo/Conditioner
Brushes
Socks (socks are HUGELY needed)
Shaving razors
Feminine Products (Imagine being homeless and not having those?!)
Underwear
Toilet Paper
Wet Wipes
Dog Food
AND ANY OTHER ITEM YOU WOULD WANT IF YOU WERE LIVING ON THE STREETS

Let me know if you’d like to send any of these items. I’m renting a PO Box and I’ll have that address soon.

Lastly, my non-profit status is pending approval so it should be ready as soon as the red tape is ripped off (and we all know how easy that is!).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Love you guys!

My Friend and Me.

I posted this over at Project: We See You, but wanted to share with my friends here, too!_ _

The man, the one I spoke of the other day, is something else.

Something amazing.

Because, if I were him, and I say that about every little thing, I wouldn’t know how to cope, and I say that about every little thing.

Despite his circumstances, he doesn’t seem to hold an ounce of bitterness. He’s kind – so so kind! And, one of those people who leaves you feeling overcome with inexplicable emotion after he walks away. The kind of emotion that is so happy it feels sad, leaving a gigantic lump in your throat.

I always give him something when I see him. Sometimes it’s 5 bucks, and sometimes it’s 5 cents.

But, sometimes, the only thing I have to offer him is respect. On the days I don’t have a dime, I still make it a point to roll down the window, stick my hand out, and squeeze his. You know, the kind of squeeze reserved for only the most special of people; a squeeze from the heart.

Now, it’s entirely possible I’m making this whole thing up, because I want so badly for it to be true, but I feel like this man and I have a special connection.

Let me explain.

I always have this need to downplay what I have, and how fortunate I am. It’s not that I feel guilty for having it, it’s that I feel guilty so many others don’t. Because, no more deserving, I’m just a member of the lucky sperm club. Born into a world of opportunity, I had a leg-up from day one.

But, with my friend on the corner, I feel none of this guilt. For some reason, I know he knows me, and who I am underneath it all. I don’t have to tell him how much I respect him, he can feel how I feel about him. When we talk, he is not homeless and I am not privileged. We’re just two human beings who enjoy each other.

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A couple of weeks ago, there was a ton of traffic at his intersection, which left my car stopped pretty far back at the red light.

My friend can’t walk fast, his pronounced limp won’t allow it.

So, when I saw the crossing signal for the opposing light begin to count down, I started to panic.

10 seconds…

9 seconds….

8 seconds….

I became frantic my light would turn green before he could reach me and the $3 bills crunched in my hand, so I rolled down the window and screamed to him.

HEY!

He heard me right away, smiled, and began to limp faster…but not fast enough. If only our determination carried us around, instead of our legs, he would have gotten to me in a flash. But, unfortunately, we’re stuck with our legs, and there was no way his were gonna reach me in time.

So, I put my car in park, jumped out, and made a beeline towards him.

It must have been a sight to see – me running towards him and him limping towards me, down our narrow path between two lanes of cars.

It felt like slow motion, because I’m dramatic like that, but we finally reached each other.

Hi! I was so scared the light would change before I could reach you and how are you today?!

I handed him the $3 and stuck my hand out to squeeze his. Ignoring my outstretched hand, he went in for a hug – the best hug! I bear-hugged him back in the middle of those two lanes and we laughed. Then, I hauled ass back to my car before people could get all road rage-y.

I didn’t realize how much I needed that hug.

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Yesterday, I happened upon a book of quotes. And, that’s where I found them.

The words that express how I feel about my friend.

samesouls

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I’m so happy to say that we’ve reached the $2,000 mark over at Fundly.

There’s much more to say about our progress, so I’ll post full update later this afternoon.

Have a wonderful Monday!