Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bring Adam Jones Home/A Foreign Mother's Fight for Her Half British Half Qatari Son


Adam Jones was tricked out of the custody of his British mother 4 years ago after her ex husband, a Qatari national, died in a motorcycle accident. Her husband's family invited her to bring Adam over under the pretense of a family get together, something she had willingly done before, so suspected nothing was different this time. They asked her to sign a document pertaining to his inheritance from his father's estate but in fact it was her signing over her custody of her son to the family. She has been fighting four long years in the Qatar courts to get Adam back with only two visits per week with him. So far not much has been done for her and I find this whole drama heart breaking and quite personal as it is something foreign mother's to Arab nationals must live under the threat of constantly. Our children and rights and access to them is what binds us to these marriages or to the countries long after we might other wise be gone. This is the letter I wrote today in regards to Adam and his mother's plight. 

In response to the plight of Adam Jones whose mother was tricked into giving up custody of him to his Qatari family, it boggles my mind that the word "allegedly" was used when describing what her ex husband's family did in order to gain custody of her son. Despite the fact that nobody should ever sign a document that they do not understand, especially when it is in a foreign language (a practice that is forced on many non Arabic readers here in the  gulf), I must wonder at the Sharia Court in Qatar that still considers that document as valid and legal. Once she stated in court that she was under duress to sign it and that she was misinformed as to its contents then the court was obliged to throw it out or at the very least to investigate the reasons behind the accusations and whether they were true or not. To uphold that document for four long years and keep Adam from his mother, who clearly did not want to release custody of him, is a telling indication of just how Sharia Courts in the Middle East view foreign mother's rights as being nonexistent and not worth the trouble to implement them. Personal experience and hearing the stories of so many other foreign mother's of Bahraini, Saudi, Qatari and other G.C.C. country's children is proof positive that Adam's mother will most likely not find the justice she is so desperately looking for. If it were going to come one would have to assume that the concerned authorities (if they really are concerned) would not let 4 years pass by without finding a resolution. Four years that neither Adam nor his mother will ever get back. I am wondering if anyone in Qatar has bothered to ask young Adam whether he prefers his father's money and family who have connived and tricked his mother into separating him from her or to relinquish his right to that money (since that is most likely what they are really after) in order to sleep once again in his own bed with his own family around him? Chances are they will never ask him nor care for his response if they do and yet they must also be blind to the fact that he will not be a minor forever and eventually when he comes of age he will be free to go where and with whom he pleases. Time will tell whether his father's Qatari family really do have his best interest at heart or whether they will let him leave when he is of age and not bother to keep in touch after that. It is my experience and those of other women that once the native father (or his family) loses (either custody, children come of age, want nothing to do with him etc.) then neither he nor his family are interested in what becomes of those children they once so ardently fought for. As much as I hope that Adam's mother does get her hearts desire and Adam is returned to her sooner rather than later, I am convinced that only time and Adam's age will be the telling clue as to that family's true intentions with him and I truly hope that all the lies and disinformation that Adam is most assuredly being fed do not take their toll on his young mind and convince him that his mother willingly surrendered him to those people for the young are so easily mislead from the truth with false smiles, fake hugs, and confidently spoken words with god interspersed throughout.

Stay strong, young Adam. From one mother who nearly lost her children to the unjust actions of the Sharia Court here in Bahrain to another suffering the same fate in Qatar, I can honestly tell you that your mother is fighting for your life with every muscle and breath in her body. That is what mothers do.

Lee Ann Fleetwood

Monday, September 16, 2013

Who Knew Being A Grandmother Would Be So Time Consuming. Anyone?

I have the best of intentions when it comes to writing on this blog. I have stories to wow and amuse my scattered audience (come back, everyone), however, Awesome Maya keeps me on my toes and job searching keeps me on my heels. Hardly enough time to form a sentence these days.

Exciting times but no time to log it in. I will find time. I must. Have patience. I'm talking to myself with that last bit.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bahrain: Humanity lost among sectarian divide.

On Facebook, a pic of a man on fire was displayed with the caption that he was a Shiia that caught himself alight while setting some tires on fire. The comments under it were a litany of disgusting and very telling opinions about how Sunnis and Shiia see each other during these days of blood shed. Most of the comments were along the lines of  he deserved what he got for being a protester/terrorist despite the fact that he was dying a most horrible death. My reply was this:

This man may have been "the enemy" or a Shiia before he set himself on fire and thus might possibly warrant every mean spirited comment left here, but the moment he set himself on fire is the moment all of that hatred should have been dropped and the humanity of this man allowed to shine through. At the end of the day Sunnis and Shiia must see each other as first human beings, then Arabs, then Bahrainis, and lastly (if you must) as Sunni and Shiia before any thought of peace can come to Bahrain. If a man on fire dying a horrible death cannot let you drop the hatred even for a moment and have a second of empathy for him then where is the future of Bahrain headed? Not towards peace that is for sure because each side sees the other as less than human...even during the last moments of an agonizing death. There is no peace to be had in that depth of hatred. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The value of a child.

A Bahraini man publicly declared that he would be willing to sacrifice his children for peace in Bahrain. He was called a hero by many when it was posted on Facebook by supporters of peace in Bahrain. I was the only one who took exception to his declaration and said so. Here is what I said. Comments?

I am a follower of the Defend Bahrain page on Facebook and recently a particular Shiia man's name was mentioned as being "a hero" because he stated that he would be willing to sacrifice his 5 children for peace in Bahrain (for the record he was denouncing those in Bahrain that are causing chaos). Dozens of comments lauded this man as a not only a hero but a shining example of what a citizen of this country should strive to be like. As a parent myself I was absolutely horrified by his statement and by those that verbally back slapped and high fived him. I'm sure they would have carried him on their shoulders as well if possible. As parents we are given one task the moment we realize we are now parents and that is to protect our children from harm. There is no piece of land on this planet that comes close to being worth the blood that flows through any one of my children's bodies. We are meant to protect them with OUR lives...not sacrifice them on the alter of stupidity, ignorance, and pride. What is the point of bringing peace to Bahrain if we have thrown our children to the wolves in the process as we are meant to want peace for THEM, not for ourselves. We are leaving this land for them and for those that come after them. Not for ourselves as we will be long gone eventually. To say you are willing to sacrifice your children for a piece of land means you are not only an unfit parent, but neither deserving of nor striving for that peace you so loudly claim you want because a home that has lost all its children to war can never be a peaceful home....and a home that has lost all its children due to a parents neglect, pride and misplaced priorities is hell on earth. How can peace come from that? A true hero is a man that lays down his weapons, be they real or imagined, physical or verbal, while standing in front of his children and declaring, no more fighting...I want peace..and I am willing to sacrifice my pride, my ego, and my life for that goal, as long as they are safe. If everyone of those on that page who called him a hero were willing to sacrifice their own children as well, Bahrain would become a barren wasteland for what is peace without the sound of children playing and laughing. It is an empty meaningless peace.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hey, Folks...Coolred is back online. Did ya miss me?

So it has been a hectic few months of late and I just did not have time for this blog. I took it off line for awhile so that I wouldn't feel that constant nagging pressure to write something on it. Now I'm all settled in and ready to get back to doing what I love doing....however, a few things have changed since last I wrote.

1. I became a Grandmother (did I mention that) and that was and is awesome. 
2. I decided, unlike my mother, that I wanted to be a part of my grand daughter's life...and so I made the choice to do that...and in order to do that I moved back to Bahrain. 
3. I have been here about a month now and it has been pretty busy with new baby (well about 5 months now) and life in general. Living with my daughter and hubby now but working on my own place. Playing babysitter in the mornings until I find my own job. 
4. I discovered the trick to being happy. You just decide...to be happy. Yeah...it took 44 years but I finally figured it out. Now if only other people would let me enjoy my new found blissful state instead of insisting this is only a temporary condition and will not last. No..it won't as long as you keep poking away at it with your negativity. 
5. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring...but I can't wait to find out.

At any rate, I already have ideas for posts so expect them to come fast and furious...InshaAllah.

Stay tuned...and thank you for all the inquiries into where I had disappeared too...blog included. Nice to know people miss you when you're gone. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Squeezing of the Heart

A Squeezing of the Heart

For much of my life I was alone. Yes, I had a family growing up but I was not like any of them..or they were not like me. Not sure which is more relevant or if it matters. What matters is that I wasn't very connected with them and so spent much of my time alone...and by alone I don't actually mean physically alone, since that was rather impossible, but more emotionally alone or mentally alone. I spent more time inside my head then out of it...if that makes sense. 

When I married things didn't really change all that much. I really had no connection to my ex, who never read a book, never thought too deeply about anything important, and never understood why I did. I spent more time alone then with him...both physically and mentally. 

I couldn't really make friends either. Mostly because he didn't allow me to be with people, for the most part, but even when I was I didn't really know how to foster friendships and maintain them...so either he broke them up or my inability to be properly sociable did. Either way, I was alone more often than not. I was alone a lot in my life. I could say I was use to it but that wouldn't be true. Choosing to be alone is one thing...having it forced on you is something else.

And then I met someone who changed all that. 

This person was (is) everything I thought I would never have in my life. Something I thought I never deserved to have in my life.

 I was taught from a young age that I was worthless, useless, a waste of space and not very good at anything. Not a good daughter, sister, wife, mother, Muslim, friend, girl friend...etc.. Even though my I.Q. was higher than most children my age (I was tested and skipped grades blah blah blah), I was made to feel stupid and never encouraged to build or make something of my intelligence. My father couldn't be bothered to allow me to see just how smart I was. He refused to send me to college...hell, he refused to pay for SAT to get into college. I couldn't take them because I had no money of my own. I took the free ASVAB and went into the military. Not what I wanted in my life but the choice was not mine at the time....and see where that got me.

My ex spent 20 years destroying what little self worth I had left. He degraded everything there was to degrade in me..both physically and mentally. We both knew I was smarter than him...yet he made it a point to attack me in every way possible so that my intelligence was never a weapon I could use against him. I was too busy trying to get through each day...day after day...trying to be a better wife, mother, Muslim etc. so that the words and abuse would stop. If I could be better...he would be nicer. Didn't work with my dad but it might with the ex.

It didn't work but we all know now that it never would have. Abusers don't care. Period. No amount of fixing yourself will fix them....since they are the ones who are truly fucked up. 

At any rate, by the time this person entered my life...I was about as low as one could go and not actually be under ground in a grave. That all changed...to a point.

There is something about being loved by another human being that changes you. To see how he or she looks at you to the exclusion of anyone else in the room. The way he or she softens their voice to speak just to you...softens their touch just for your skin. The way they sit closer to make sure their body has some kind of contact with you. The way the sound of his voice causes a  reaction in you...or the way her gaze focused on you makes goosebumps crawl up and down your arms. That reaction your body experiences just because that person is near...or if they are not near...just thinking about them can do things to you that nobody else can. The way they go out of their way to make sure YOU know how important you are in their life. How special you are. How loved and appreciated you are just for being you. It's like your existence suddenly makes sense...you exist for the soul purpose to be loved by that someone special. 

Now it is one thing to have someone fall in love with you, quite another for you to believe it...to believe you are worthy to have such a love given to you when you have been made to believe that you are unlovable, unable to generate any emotion other than disgust, hate, or worse, indifference, in others. To have someone open a door and enter your life that knows none of your history, none of your emotional hangups and can't see the scars you have on the inside that are far worse than the ones on the outside...and just loves you because of YOU...not only is that hard to believe...it is hard to understand. 

There is obviously something wrong with me...for my entire life people have been detailing exactly all that is wrong with me. They can't all be wrong...can they? So how is it you can't see what they see? How is it you can see my intelligence? My sense of humor. My blue ocean eyes that sparks a shiver inside you when I look at you with that intensity that you love so well. How is it that my touch, which has always been described as cold and unwelcoming, is suddenly, not only welcomed but longed for? Who is this person you see when you look at me that nobody else can see because it seems you are looking at a stranger. Someone I certainly don't recognize and have never heard of. Since there is something obviously wrong with me...yet you find me desirable, lovable, and all things good...then there must also be something wrong with you. Yes...that is how my mind has been working during the course of this relationship.

Of all the things I have had to work on within myself..my anger, my self esteem, my sense of purpose and worth...believing I am worthy of another person's love has to be the one that has come hardest to me. People who professed to love me have been leaving me all my life...and usually after doing something  truly horrible to me (so better they left really but still painful), and those that stayed in my life made sure I understood they were the ones suffering from my existence because I was more work then I was worth. It is hard to get past a life time of that sort of conditioning. It doesn't happen over night and not just because someone enters your life and tells you that you are loved. 

It doesn't work like that. Believe me. 

No matter how much that person will express his or her love. How much they might go to pains to show you, prove it, live it every day of your life. No matter how much you want to believe it..there is always that little voice in the back of your mind saying, it's only a matter of time before he or she discovers that same person everyone else was aware of, that unlovable person, and do what they all did...either leave or stay and suffer from your existence. 

So because that voice is the voice of the demon that lives in your head and has lived in there since you were old enough to know that a demon lived in your head...it is the voice that dominates much of your thoughts, your choices, your life. No amount of love from another human being can silence the voice of the demon that assures you that no matter what that person says...you are not worth being loved. Period. 

So you hear the words, love and enjoy how that person makes you feel, how they touch your heart, your mind, your body...while the whole time the demon is negating it all in your head. It is a constant war going on that never ceases. There are lulls, there are retreats now and then but it is a full scale war going on and the casualties are constantly piling up. Of course the casualties are the moments you let pass, the choices you made believing they were the right choices, the harm you did to your relationship because the demon dominated your thoughts. Created anger and doubt and suspicion where none existed...but existed in your head none the less. Demons are powerful things. So powerful that sometimes even love cannot conquer them. 

My personal demon was anger, of course. All the years of abuse from every corner of my life caused such an all consuming anger in me that in the end, I had very nearly destroyed not only myself...but the one relationship...the one love that was given to me freely and unconditionally. 

It is not that I don't love this person. I do beyond words. Beyond expression. It is just that I couldn't believe in myself, find worth in myself, find anything in myself to deserve what I was being given so much of. I was letting the anger and self doubt destroy even the little bit of good I had in my life. I was allowing that anger and self doubt to make choices for me that were not good choices but of which I had no power NOT to make because the voice in my head, my demon...was the most powerful force in my life up until then. Not even the greatest love I have ever had the honor of being given could quiet the voice of my own personal demon. 

I had to fall very hard and very fast and all the way to the goddamn bottom almost (almost) before I learned that the demon was alive and well because I fed it, nurtured it, and gave it everything it needed to survive. It needed my anger, my self doubt, my self loathing to live comfortably in my head...it needed everything negative I had within me...and I had a lot...and so it grew and grew and became louder and louder...until every other voice was drowned out (even my own). Even the voice of my love. 

So I made choices. Bad choices. Choices that were bad for me, for my children and for this relationship that was the best thing I have ever had in my life. At the time, of course, I thought they were the right choices but then that was the lying little demon convincing me they were. And I listened...and lost a lot. 

As my previous post indicated, I had an epiphany of sorts. Realized that I needed to just Let Things Go if I was going to survive my life. Survive with any sense of peace and happiness. I'm 44 years old and not getting any younger (so sad) and all I can say is better late than never that I was finally able to drown out that terrible horrible little voice that has been my constant companion since I was a child. Of course I still have moments of doubt, moments of in which I have to mentally catch myself from falling into bad habits of self destruction...but I'm coming along quite well for the most part. 

However, I have learned that just because I am healing myself...working on myself and doing what I can to ensure I am a mentally healthy person...that doesn't mean the damage all that anger created isn't still being felt by those that are closest to me and suffered the most from it. Most especially by the one person that loved me when no other person on this planet could find one reason to do so (not including my children here of course...that is a different kind of love). I damaged this relationship a lot by making choices that hurt us both. I thought they were the right choices at the time...but they were choices made in anger so obviously were not going to turn out well. Unfortunately, fortune telling is not one of my skills...and I'm worse off because of it. 

So now that I have let the anger go (mostly, still working on some issues) and have gained a lot in my life because of it (inner peace, happy thoughts, better choices made with a clearer mind and losing weight), I find that now this relationship is in danger of coming to an end. Not because the love is gone, it isn't. Still as strong as ever. Not because the desire to be together is gone. Still there...but because my anger has been a very real part of this relationship even when we both tried to ignore it or excuse it. My decisions and choices were made from anger and they turned out very bad for all concerned...and so this person is use to being hurt because of my anger and the resulting fall out. Hard to convince someone that it's no longer an issue when it always has been before. Sort of like convincing myself I am worthy of being loved...even when everything in my life convinced me that I wasn't. 

I am so afraid now. More afraid than at any time in my life. More afraid then when I thought my father was going to actually kill me. More afraid then when I thought I was going to actually kill my husband. More afraid then when I thought I was going to die at various times in my life. None of those moments of fear can measure up to the this overwhelming fear that now consumes me that NOW...when I have finally gotten my life on a good track. When I have accomplished so much mentally, physically and emotionally...to the point where I can feel actual happiness is within my grasp...now when I believe that this relationship can actually be better than it has ever been before because NOW I won't be busy destroying it with anger and self doubts etc....now is when it will finally succumb to all the pain it has had to endure over the years. 

Now....when it has the best possible chance of succeeding...is when it will fall apart. 

Irony...Karma...which ever it is...you are a bitch.  

I am fearful that my vanquished demon will return with a vengeance because even though the anger is gone...it is being replaced with fear of abandonment once again. I cannot blame this person for leaving me...lord knows I did my share of pushing away...but I cannot seem to find the right words to convince that all will be better now.

Words have abandoned me, it seems....and without the power of my words...what do I have left to convince with? Words are all I have ever had to truly express myself. To make people listen up and pay attention to me when most of the time I am invisible and ignored. 

I have accomplished so much within myself this past 5 months or so...but my greatest fear is that it is simply too late. I will end up losing the one thing that kept me going when nothing within myself could do that. And for that reason...I am terrified. 

It is hard to remain positive and moving forward towards happiness when that very source of my happiness seems intent on moving further away no matter what I do. I cannot blame anyone but me for this. Which is ironic considering I have been blamed for all the failures my abusers had within themselves but pushed off on me all my life...I didn't deserve those blames...but this one I actually do...and I am afraid it will send me free falling back into the black that I have worked so hard to pull myself out of. 

I have dealt with abuse, with neglect, with anger and self doubt. I have lived through soul destroying loneliness and unhappiness. I have survived when my abusers have died alone or continue to live but are alone having lost everything. I survived all of that for better or worse...but I am not sure I can survive this person leaving me (or worse yet, becoming indifferent). 

It will be one leaving too many. 

All I can say is that I love you. Need you. Want you and that I am so sorry for my past mistakes. I have no excuse other than that I am a work in progress. I cannot undo in such a short time what 40 plus years has had time to create in me. Have a little more patience with me and I promise it will all be worth it. I am trying so hard. Please don't give up on me. 


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Grandma Coolred...how awesome is that?

 Maya Rashid AlJuma March 24, 2013

During my long absence my oldest daughter had the nerve to make me a grandmother without so much as asking me. As I said...what nerve. She was due around March 23 and thus I made it my goal to be with her during one of the most terrifying wondrous moments of her life. I was alone for the birth of all 5 of my babies so I know what it feels like to not have a hand to hold or someone to calm me down...I didn't want her to feel that way even for a moment. 

Of course I told her I wouldn't be able to make it because I simply didn't have the money for such an expensive ticket. She believed me...so gullible.

I got busy on my side, ensuring I had a month off from work (all my coworkers seemed as excited as I was by the prospect of me becoming a gramma...ancient jokes were in abundance) and I waited impatiently for my tax return to show up. It was the only way I could afford to go but it was taking it's damn sweet time and time was running out on me if I was going to make it there before she delivered. 

Now here is the thing. Other than my kids over here...and coworkers of course...I told nobody that I was going to Bahrain...not even my best friend there. The only person I did tell was someone I knew who wouldn't spill the beans..so he could pick me up at the airport. (well that didn't work out as well as I hoped but what to do?)

My daughter constantly made comments about wanting me there and how she was getting so nervous and worried. I told myself if she really did start to freak out I would ensure her I was coming to calm her down...but that point never arrived so all was good. The day I left I constantly texted her and everyone over there all the way across the U.S. until I lost contact in the air. By this time my best friend sort of had a clue of my intentions as I would see in all the texts back and forth later...but she wasn't positive. 

I arrived in Bahrain after a torturous 23 hour flight all together. I was exhausted...and to make matters worse...my expected ride was no where to be found. My phone had discharged at this point so I couldn't even see his number to call him. I still wanted to surprise my daughter but wasn't sure what to do at this point. My plan wasn't working out...grrr.

I ended up waiting about an hour before I decided he wasn't coming (I was the only red head in a sea of dark haired people..he wasn't there or he would have seen me) so I decided to take a taxi to best friends house. Surprise her...then go to daughter's house and let the party begin. 

By the time I got to best friends house it was fairly late..and she wasn't there. I spoke with her housemaid who ensured me she would be coming soon...so I hid in her ladies salon where I could see when she arrived. Unfortunately, her housemaid wasn't very good at keeping secrets and sort of let the cat out of the bag as soon as best friend arrived. So much for surprises...grrr. 

She was surprised, to a point, but had a feeling I was coming over and so expected me as well. By this time it was quite late and since my daughter was late stage pregnancy and didn't need middle of the night surprises...I decided to wait until morning to spring my awesome self on her. I spent the night at best friend's house and anticipated the morning's adventures. 

A little bit of back story at this point. I had told my daughter previously that I bought a lot of baby things for her...but would mail a box to her and hopefully it would arrive on a certain date (my arrival date no less). She was constantly asking me if I had mailed the box and I told her be patient. So the next morning my best friend calls her and tells her SHE had the box..as I had actually mailed it to her...not my daughter. My daughter was sort of miffed at that but was happy just to know it arrived..and told best friend to bring it over. 

When we arrived at daughter's house...best friend knocked on door and indicated that the box was so big a man from the street was carrying it for her to the door. As I sprung around the corner..my daughter was standing there with a very skeptical look on her face at this point...but it immediately dissolved into a pool of tears as soon as she saw me. I quickly realized how relieved she was to have me there..and I was very happy that I had decided to come despite the crazy cost of the ticket. 

After celebrating we got down to the business of waiting for baby to arrive. She still had about a week to incubate so we shopped, and readied baby room and just enjoyed the next few days while baby was still on the inside (always the best place for them). 

During prenatal visits the doctor kept mentioning C-sections and epidurals as choices my daughter  could consider and I was rather irritated by that. Why not promote natural birth first and foremost...why even bring those up unless the need was very apparent? By this point baby was being just a tad stubborn and delayed her arrival by a few days so induction was talked about. My daughter decided March 24th would be the day to get baby moving. We waited for that day to arrive with bated breath and mixed feelings of Fear and Finally it would be over with. 

The morning of the Big Day we arrived at the hospital very early in the morning and daughter was settled in and prepped for an I.V. etc. to begin the process. She was scared but I could also see that she was very relieved to have me there..along with her husband. I might add at this point that her husband is a wonderful man and was there every step of the way with her (as much as he could be). Always attending her prenatal visits...always very interested in what she was going through and doing whatever he could to ensure her comfort and calm state of mind. They chose a private hospital that would allow him to be with her during the whole birth process as well and he was with her every moment. I like him a lot. 

When her doctor arrived...she still brought up a possible C-section and epidural..even though my daughter was doing fine up to this point. Yes she was experiencing pain but she was handling it well..so what the hell? I talked with my daughter and advised her to do what she thought was best but that natural birth was the best choice unless something warranted such actions. She seemed intent on doing it the natural way...which didn't seem to please her doctor for some reason.

My best friend arrived at some point and we all spent the morning listening to the fetal monitor, getting my daughter whatever she needed..and counting the minutes down. She was very slow in dilating, was experiencing more and more contraction pain, but was doing OK. Once again the doctor came in and advised her to consider a C-section or epidural. Her comment was that she didn't think my daughter could handle the pain...which was odd considering that's exactly what she was doing up until this point. My daughter told her...I'm fine right now. Give me a chance to do it this way. 

Shortly before noon, as we were all gathered around, my daughter (while suffering through more intense contractions at this point) suddenly demanded we get the nurse. It seemed the urge to push had just arrived. The nurse came and did a pelvic check and was surprised to learn that my daughter had went from barely 2 cm over several hours to 7 cm in no time flat. Suddenly things got serious and nurses came in preparing to take her to the delivery room. 

Best friend and I waited just outside the delivery room for awhile...alternating between crying and excitement...waiting impatiently for good news. Her doctor came out at one point and said we could go in if we wanted. Wow...that was awesome. I didn't think I would be able to be with her..just near her...at that point. We put on gowns and hurried into the room. 

Daughter was concentrating on her moment in the limelight...SIL was holding her hand and doing his part to keep her calm...and the nurses were running around like those last few minutes before the curtain was drawn and the show began was at hand. 

Best friend and I elected to stand just behind the curtain since it was close enough to offer support but not in the way of all the activity. We shouted encouragement to her every step of the way..until we eventually heard what we had all been waiting anxiously for 9 months to hear...the indignant cries of a new life brought into the world. 

We were all crying, excited, and overwhelmed...but not too overwhelmed that we didn't record the moment when new baby Maya was brought over to the table for her first check up. It's an awesome video that I would have loved to have with any one of my own children. Oh well..sign of how things are changing in Bahrain from the 80's. For the better in some regards. 

At some point my daughter looked at her doctor and told her...see, I did it without drugs or anything. I proved you wrong. That's my girl. Don't let the doctors bully you into unneeded procedures unless it's absolutely necessary. Everything and everyone came through with flying colors. 

And  I was a new grandma. Grandma Coolred. How awesome is that?

I spent the next two weeks helping daughter with whatever she needed but she assured me that she had a perfect example on motherhood due to her own mother. She had this. Very cool. A million pictures and a hundred videos later...I was sad to see my day of departure arrive. I had to say goodbye to my two kids, my new granddaughter, SIL, and best friend that I love so much. It was the first time I had ever found it hard to leave Bahrain. Imagine that. All it took was a new little baby to make that happen...well not just that...but more on that later. 

So little Maya is well over a month old now...thriving and keeping her parents on their toes. I get lots of daily pics and videos still and share them with everyone who doesn't run away at this point. My daughter is planning a trip here so her siblings can see their new niece and her husband can visit the states for the first time. I can't wait to see them. 

I will make an effort to be in Maya's life because my own children did not have that sort of connection with their own grandmother (thought hind sight tells me they didn't miss out on much but at the time it was very hurtful to me)...plus I have so many things to teach this precious little girl. Sarcasm and a sharp tongue being top of the list...as self defense against the Stupids of the world.

 It's the least I can do. 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Big Golden Dog that spoke to Coolred in her dreams.

Anyone that has known me throughout my life is aware that I have a thing with dreams. My dreams often come true...in one way or another. This has happened my whole life and I have just come to expect certain dreams will "speak" to me in some way. Now I may have a dozen dreams a week...several dozen a month etc. with nothing extraordinary happening..but then one dream will come along that stands out. It's rather hard to explain why this dream is different except to say that while I'm having the dream, I'm fully aware that THIS dream has something to tell me...and it's usually more vivid and more "real" than other dreams. I wake up and immediately know that something will happen eventually to make this dream "come true".

Another clue that tells me a certain dream is more special than other ones is that I will have it more than once. Up until recently, twice or possibly three times was the max for having one particular dream (with variations but all on the same theme) until that dream played out is some fashion in real life. After that, I never dream that particular dream again.

Until several months ago that was the pattern for my Special Dreams. Now and then a certain dream would come to me...possibly twice or three times...and then become reality in some fashion. Not all the dreams were good, so to speak, so I can tell you that I have been damn scared by some of them...but generally speaking they have been pretty interesting the way they played out.

As I said, up until a few months ago...then something happened that changed the whole Special Dream scenario...I dreamt of a Big Golden Dog. When I say big...I mean larger than the size that this particular dog (it appeared to be a Golden Retriever type dog) generally grows. His head reached my chest and was the most beautiful dog I have ever had the pleasure to look at.

I knew from the moment this dream started that Big Golden Dog was special. I needed to pay attention to this dream. However, in the first dream he did nothing more than follow me around the dream as the dream itself played out. I wasn't surprised when about a month later he showed up in my dreams again. This time he walked by my side as I wandered through my dream. Again, nothing happened to explain his presence but I felt incredibly calm just having him in the there with me. I remember waking up and just laying there almost expecting that he followed me out of the dream...that's how real he seemed to me.

Over the course of several months Big Golden Dog made an appearance in my dreams 4 times (the first time a particular dream happened that often)...but something interesting started happening...he started looking directly at me and doing things with his muzzle (mouth) that made me feel as if he was trying to speak to me.  It got to the point where I absolutely hated waking up because I felt like just a few more seconds and I would understand what he was trying to tell me...and he was really struggling by the 4th dream. I knew, without a doubt, that if he showed up in my dreams again...he would speak to me...and I also knew he had something important to tell me. 4 dreams obviously meant something...but what?

You know where this is headed, right? Big Golden Dog did show up for a 5th time...and yes...he spoke to me...but wait...first let me give some back ground that will explain what he had to tell me and why it was so damn important that I get the message (as if I needed telling but who am I to dictate my dreams...or who shows up with a message in them).

If you read my previous post (I hope), you will know that I have been struggling with a lot of personal issues for a long time. The past few years have been especially hard after the divorce (and the reasons for it) and just dealing with the anger that permeated me so deep I think my bones were soaked in fury. I sank quite low, to the point where friends were abandoning me and I was in danger of losing some very important relationships that meant the world to me. I was on a very destructive course that had me free falling into The Black.

It's about this time (at my lowest and darkest point) that Big Golden Dog first showed up. I didn't equate the two until much later...as you will see.

At around the beginning of this year I had a nasty wake up call. I realized that if I continued on this course of self destruction I was going to lose the one relationship that mattered more than any other (besides my children). I needed to figure out a way to rid myself of this over powering anger in order to save myself...and the relationship. By this time Big Golden Dog had shown up 3 times.

I started thinking (see previous post) about all my issues and what was at the root of all the anger. My ex obviously played a very big role in this. The life I had with him has scarred me in ways that I will never be rid of...but I was holding onto the anger long after the divorce was a done deal...so essentially I was keeping the man in my life as if we were still married. I needed to drop that mentality if I planned on getting rid of that anger. I spent two days off from work, around this point, doing nothing but laying in my bed and thinking...and just letting go of things that had bothered me to the point of causing issues for me...and for those closest to me. It was a weekend of mental purging and by the end of it I was completely exhausted. I barely had the energy to return to work...but before I did Big Golden Dog returned for a 4th time. This is when he really tried to talk to me but couldn't quite make it.

By this time I had told plenty of people about my dreams and the latest star appearance. Everyone had opinions about what a dog in a dream meant but I was no nearer to knowing at this point what his purpose was...but I knew he would come again and I was patient.

By March I had sorted through a lot of my mental anguish and had let so much crap go that I started feeling like a new person. It was mid March that I traveled to Bahrain to attend my daughter's birth of my first grandchild (another story there) and for the first time ever...I enjoyed my time spent in Bahrain (with a few bumps). So much of the anger and suffering that I equated with that country was simply gone. It was almost like visiting it for the first time...with no preconceived opinions about it. When it came time to leave and return to this life...I actually didn't want to go. Yes, I know. Quite surprising that Coolred was actually reluctant to leave the country where here demons came to life...but reluctant I was. I could almost feel my heels digging in even as I looked forward to seeing the children I had left behind for a month.

It was then that I truly realized I had successfully done what I never thought I would ever be able to do. I separated the fact of my abusive 20 year marriage to a worthless human being...from the country it took place in. Bahrain wasn't evil just because evilness occurred there. If that were true then America would be evil and unacceptable to me as well since my own father was every bit as abusive as my ex. I realized that I had been equating the place with my ex and my marriage...and for that I had been making those closest to me suffer with my anger and personal issues. I also realized that because some of my children still live there (and my new grandchild) that I would obviously be making more trips back there and so getting rid of the anger and bullshit that crowded my mind was paramount if I was going to be the Awesome Gramma that my own mother never was (another story...I have plenty of them...just wait).

I returned home with renewed determination to continue the healing process. I had plenty of incentive...a new me...a new life awaited...and happiness.

And so...for the 5th time Big Golden Dog showed up in my dreams (last week)...and he spoke to me just as I knew he would.

And this is what he said.

You have lived a life full of pain. It has made you who you are today, for better or worse. You cannot deny your past nor can you change it...all you can change is how you let it influence your future. Letting go was essential for healing to begin. Those who left you while you struggled were meant to leave...and those who have stayed were meant to stay. Do not spend precious moments grieving or feeling anger for those that are no longer in your life as their paths sent them in a different direction. Those that love you, need you, and want you in their lives have made it a point to remain in your life. You have learned that life is short. Time is precious. Prolonged anger is a wasted emotion and love is often the victim. You have traveled a rough road but it has led you to where you are today. Be proud for what you have accomplished. There is still work to be done but you are well on your way. Happiness is always a choice.

I woke up from this dream feeling absolutely amazing. Rested and at peace with the choices and actions I have made recently. I have no doubt that what I want for what remains of my life is the right choice or me...but it doesn't hurt to get a second opinion that supports that choice. Ha ha.

Big Golden Dog (who remained nameless throughout the dreams but strongly reminded my of my dog King) was a sort of spiritual adviser I'm thinking. Something I've never experienced but certainly was well worth the wait. I have no idea if I will see him again but I doubt it. He had a message and he delivered it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Just Let It Go

For those that use to read me regularly you may have noticed that I haven't written anything significant for quite some time. Writing is my Thing. It's what I do and I have always enjoyed it since I realized I do it rather well. However, this past year hasn't been My Year, so to speak. I've been in an up and down roller coaster ride that has had me either hanging on for dear life...or raising my hands in the air and enjoying the thrill. All this has resulted in one very troubling aspect in my life...I lost the desire to write.


It just left. No idea why...or really when but I realized at some point that I just had nothing to say anymore. Or maybe I felt my words had lost their ability to really convey what I was feeling or what I wanted to express. I have no idea but the end result was silence in the one area of my life I had always depended on to get my demons out...or my humor (I choose to call it that) or whatever was on my mind. Without being able to write...it has all been locked up inside me...and damned if I haven't suffered because of it.

I went down the rabbit hole more or less and apparently enjoyed it so much I decided to stay there for a spell. I have been down that hole before (my past made it a place I tend to visit from time to time) but I have always used my writing to pull me back out again. This time I did not have even that ability to rescue myself...so there I stayed.

Around the first part of this year I had a revelation of sorts. I was angry. Very angry. Angry at the people in my life (past and present) that have done things to me that turned me into a negative, pissed off person. Every day I was fuming about one thing or another. My temper, which use to be so hard to trigger, was now on a veritable trip wire. Anything could set me off...and I was a raging ball of fire. I was a seething mass of negative energy that ended up corrupting everything good in my life...because I was too angry to pay attention to the good things in my life.

I was letting my past ruin my present...and destroy whatever good my future held for me. I was allowing all that bullshit that was my past life...be the sum total of my present life. I was my past..and my past was me. When I realized that I was allowing those people, that are long gone from my life, to still be a part of it (taking up full time rent free space in my head) and therefore impacting and corrupting it...I knew I either accepted the rabbit hole as my forever dwelling...or fight my way out of it.

Everyone who reads (or did) about my life know that I have 5 kids. I had a blast with my kids while they were growing up. We were rarely apart for any reason and they were a close knit group of siblings. My kids are mostly all grown now. I have my youngest, 15 years old, at home still but the rest are off living their lives. The silence that is my house now weighs on me terribly. Gone are the sounds of the music they all played, the fighting or laughing...the messes they each generate in their way. This silence has fueled my anger in ways...because I had no distractions from that anger and could spend copious amounts of time nurturing it and feeding the flames. My children are the soul reason I survived my marriage. Having them in my life, knowing I needed to be there for them..meant I couldn't give up or give in. Even if I felt my life wasn't worthwhile or important, theirs was...and I had to make sure they knew it. Now they are gone (generally speaking) and Ive been alone with my thoughts, my inner demons, my anger issues...and that has meant I had little respite from the inner destruction that was going on.

As I said, I realized one day that I might as well still be married if I was going to wake up every day and spend my time, my precious time, living as if my ex was still a real and meaningful presence in my life. If my memories of the past were going to keep me company as I went about my daily routine, ruining whatever happiness I might gain from even the smallest of joys then why bother living. If the experiences I had while living in Bahrain for the first 20 years...were going to color and corrupt whatever came after that then what was the point of the divorce..of gaining my freedom...if I was still going to live as if I were a prisoner?

I realized that the only person that could save me from my anger and issues with my past...was ME. Once I realized this I set about on a course of emotional healing. I spend far too much of my time alone...but one thing that being alone affords me is time to think....and think... and think some more. At times I would lay in my bed, during my time off from work, and just think. I would do nothing else but think about my past, my anger issues and where they came from...and what I could do to change what I was becoming (or had become) into someone better. I would literally lay there for two days solid and just stare at the ceiling...going through every damn issue that had turned me into a person that others didn't want to be around (did I mention I have lost several "friends" this past year as well)...I thought it was them...but realized it must be me since it kept happening. I find it incredibly hard to make friends, went most of my whole life without really having any, so losing the ones I did have was like a confirmation to my already low self esteem that I'm not even worthy to remain friends with. If others can't stand me..what did that say about me?

I worked my way through issues that were like open wounds on my soul. I poked and prodded them and made them bleed out all that pent up corrosive blood until only fresh blood remained. As I dealt with each issue I would ask myself...why is this still making me so angry...and is it worth it still? Of course, most of the time (damn near every time) the answer was no. Anger and self loathing, low self esteem and feelings of unworthiness were not worth it. My past was what it was...I couldn't change that...but I could change today, tomorrow and whatever came after that. As I worked my way through each and every issue...the end result would be to Just Let It Go.

Like a balloon that yearned to be free and sail off into parts unknown...I released, one after the other, issue after issue that was weighing me down, corrupting my relationships, my goals, my life. As each balloon sailed away I felt myself become lighter inside. I started feeling something I hadn't felt in so long I wasn't even sure I was calling it by the right name.

I started feeling happy. (don't be as shocked as I was please)

Happiness is not a feeling I have really felt too often in my life...and when I say happy I mean more than just a fleeting moment of happiness that is more like a memory than a state of mind. It felt unfamiliar and alien at the beginning...almost like an impostor had set up residence after I kicked out the abusive squatters. I almost didn't know how to handle this new emotional state. I felt like a beginner at happiness..a noob that needed to feel my way around and learn the rules and tricks before really putting my all into the game.

Apparently the "new" me was attracting some attention. I have had people at work comment more than once that I always seemed to walk around with a scowl on my face (I'm sure I was as I always had some inner demon playing with my mind)..or that I looked like I wanted to punch someone. Now they were amazed to notice that I was smiling, whistling...even singing...while going about my work. I had a few people ask me if I was in love..had I found someone that had brought about this change. Well, first off, yes...I am in love, have been for years now, but that relationship was one of the ones I was busy destroying due to my anger issues and one I was desperately trying to save at that point....but the reasons for the smiling, whistling and singing was due to another person all together.

Me. I was happy....or working hard so that I knew it was coming. I could feel it...see it...taste it. As I worked my way though each issue...I finished with it..and then Just Let It Go. I could not possibly explain with adequate words the effect this had had on me emotionally. Yes of course I still get angry (more than I like still...a work in progress) and I know that to never get angry is just not possible...but when I trip up and fall into a full blown anger melt down, I mentally try as hard as I can to reign myself in and put a halt before it gets out of control. (again, not always successful but I'm far better at it then I used to be). I ask myself, will this matter in 5 minutes, ten...tomorrow...and of course it most likely won't. And when I realize this...I can almost  feel myself relax and feel the anger start to recede and dissipate. It has stopped my anger in its tracks most of the time...most, work in progress as I said.

I have reached a stage now where so many things that use to set me off (thoughts of my past, of Bahrain, of certain people) don't really affect me at all anymore. I can think about them without feeling that tightness in my chest that would be an indicator that rage was building. I can talk about them without gnashing my teeth or getting angry at the person I'm talking to because the person I'm really angry at isn't there. Those balloons have sailed...and I have never heard of a balloon that was set free...come back to its owner.

Now, if there was one set back to all this emotional healing...it's convincing others that it's actually taking place. People who know me, love me, are so used to Angry Red...that they are suspicious of New Red. For some reason they would rather believe that you can't change who you have always been even though those same people have been encouraging me for years to do exactly that. I have actually gotten into arguments (go figure) while trying to convince these same people that the changes are real, are reaping benefits and are permanent. I much prefer New Red to Angry Red...why would I go back to that...and why do those I love most keep insisting I do? I have no idea.

Anyhow, I have a lot more to say. That makes me happy just writing that as it means I have more writing to do...and I realize this post is not up to my usual standards but I felt the need to write and I haven't felt that in such a long time...I'm just putting it out there before the mood disappears. So you guys (if there are any readers left) get a rough copy and I'm sorry for that but it is what it is. 

A few topics I will write about are my two recent trips to Bahrain (yes...imagine that), my new status as Grandma (my granddaughter is amazing) and what the future might hold for me. I became friends again with my ex from high school and other topics that might be of interest.  Stay tuned...if you are interested. I know I am.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Oh mind of mine...

Being alone with my thoughts
What black chaos
What red pain

Filling my head with your sneaky ways
Devious pain filled images
Do you even care...oh mind of mine

Three little words on a screen
Causing doubt...hurt...regrets
Squeezing my heart

Wonder of wonders
It still functions...beats
Tho each one leaves me breathless

Choking my throat
Filling my eyes so I can't see
Squeezing...always squeezing

Oh mind of mine
You are not really my friend
Will you leave me too?