Life as Amber knows it

"An adventure in the making…"

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Someone (who shall remain un-named for this blog post in an effort to protect the idiotic) recently commented to me about my upcoming vacation, the first I’ve taken in eight and a half years, that they can’t believe I’m “abandoning” my children for nine days to go off on my own.

My response? A very emphatic and loud, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

Another person (again to be un-named to protect the moronic) recently stated that they didn’t understand why I needed a vacation, being as all I’ve been doing the past eight and a half years was staying at home with my kids, and that’s the easiest job ever.

So after my husband paid my bail money for assault…. I’m kidding of course. I didn’t assault anyone, because they were smart enough to make that comment to me on the phone.

In January, I began really making an effort to work more on my writing.  That meant handing over some household and childcare duties to my husband, a feat that to a control freak like myself, was not an easy one to do. I had to let go of my tendency to control every little thing in an effort to make sure its done properly. And in letting go of those things, of not worrying if the dishwasher had been loaded and ran, not worrying about laundry being folded, not worrying about what to make for dinner every night, I was able to find more time to write. It also meant some nights, when I’d lock my bedroom door, I’d actually have to put on headphones and listen to music in an effort to block out my children being noisy and wanting Mommy. Their father is perfectly capable of handling them just as well as I can (and he does, so massive credit to him for stepping up and taking that added measure of work on his shoulders).

The result? A weekly podcast that brings me a huge amount of joy, five books (two of which have been best-sellers), a completed writer’s grant for three different projects, and five works-in-progress to be released sometime in the next year or so. And most importantly? Some excellent friendships that I have no idea how I survived my life without before these amazing people came into my world.

I’m also very exhausted and in much need of some down time, and some time alone. Because I am never alone. All told, my upcoming trip includes a total of driving forty-eight hours from Dallas, Texas to Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Of course, my vacation isn’t strictly fun: I will be travelling to the East Coast, to visit the city I was born in, and to see where I was born. I have been working on a book for the past twelve years, an autobiographical account of being an adoptee and searching for my biological mother. And while my story is a positive one, and a story of what really makes a family and what love truly is at it’s core, writing it still brings up certain emotions that are very hard to write through.

But I get to see family, and I get to meet, finally, face-to-face, friends I’ve known for several years through social media and friends that while they’re recent wonderful additions to my life, feels like they’re my oldest friends. They’re certainly my dearest.

For the jackass who says I haven’t really worked in the past eight and a half years, and the jackass who thinks I’m abandoning my children: Feel free to guess which finger I’m holding up. I’ve busted my ass for all of my working life, since I started my first paycheck earning job at fifteen, until this present day. I might not earn a gigantic paycheck, but believe me, I’ve been working non-stop since my first child was born. I’m way past a well-earned vacation.

 

lots of love

 

~Amber

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Just Stop

I loathe bullshit.

And I’m not talking about the game Bullshit that my friend Dionne Lister and I play on our weekly podcast. I’m talking about full-blown bullshit, in any form. The quickest way to get me to stop reading your book? Bullshit your way through writing it and don’t do the work that your readers deserve and then publish it and waste my time and money. Bullshit me in my relationship with you? We’re going to have words.

I’ll excuse bad days, because we all have those. Hell, I’ll excuse bad weeks, and offer my help in any way I can if you need it. Make a rude comment to or about me, and I’ll tell you it bothers me.  But if I look at the arc of our relationship, and all I’ve done is given when all you’ve done is take? I’m going to walk away and not look back.

I can be the kindest person you will ever meet in your life. I will stand beside and behind you, I will help you pick up the pieces, I will be a soft place for you to land when your life has fallen apart and you need somewhere safe to relearn living. If you need help, and it is within my power to give it to you, I’m going to give it freely with a smile on my face and ask you what else I can do. I won’t ask you to change, ever, and I will demand the same respect from you.

I can also be a bitch on wheels.

There is too much in the world that is negative. There have been far too many negative experiences in my life, times where I’ve had to grit my teeth and hold on tight until my physical or emotional health has balanced out. When the shit has hit the fan, and I’ve been balanced on a knife’s blade width of sanity because everything familiar and known and secure has shattered. When all that has kept me sane is someone taking five minutes to say, “Hey, I know you’re hurting, I’m here” or someone taking the reins and shouldering some of the weight before it knocked me off the edge into a place I would not be able to return from.

When things are tumultuous in my life, I myself need a safe haven. I need the people in my life to just simply be there if I need them. I need your understanderstanding that while I do love you, and I am there for you, that if the shit has hit the fan and the bottom has dropped out, I have to take care of me first, before there is no more me left. Because I can only bend and stretch so far.

For the people in my life who I have given my unconditional love to, it is with the understanding that the love I give to them is a gift and is on loan. It is also with the understanding that when I give that love to someone, it also comes with two things: respect and honesty. And I expect those two things in return. Falling under the heading of respect is my right to walk away if all you bring to my life is hurt and heartache. If you constantly berate me with negative comments and I ask you to stop and you choose to continue doing so? Guess what? I’m done, and I’m walking away, and when I reach the “done” point? That’s it. I won’t be back. Under the heading of respect, also, is the fact that you don’t have to like every decision I make in my life. Feel free to hate it. I can guarantee that I won’t like every decision you make as well. You don’t have to like it, but you owe me the courtesy of respecting the fact that I am my own person, and when I make decisions and choices in my life, its not on a whim, its with a great deal of thought behind them.

And if you’re dumb enough to give me the ultimatum of “Eat my bullshit politely or I’ll walk out of your life”, guess what? I’m going to do you one last favor and save you the trouble, I’m going to walk away from you instead.

I am who I am for many reasons: Who I am at my core due to my personality, and who I am due to everything I have faced in my life. I refuse to change, unless it is a change that is going to be positive in my life, and only then will I make the change on my terms. Accept me as who I am scars, faults and flaws included, and embrace me as I do you: perfect and beautiful for all your scars faults and flaws.

Or live without me.

~Amber

All the ways that I love you….

1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

 

At twenty-three, a huge piece of my heart was stolen from me, and I have yet to get it back.

More importantly, I don’t want it back.  I’m happy that the man I gave it to still holds onto it, almost thirteen years later.

2001

David is the most beautiful person I have ever been blessed to know in my life.  His heart is huge, and rather than being golden, it is pure platinum. He gives freely, and kindly, but if you cross someone he loves? It’s best to duck and cover. And I won’t lie: David has been very blessed in the looks department: Is it his eyes that smolder and pierce while they envelope you? His strong jaw-line? His broad shoulders and slim hips? Maybe. But I believe his soul shows through in everything he does, and that is what makes him turn every head in the room. His beautiful soul is something my heart did not hold a single chance against.

David is also gay.

You thought you were reading a romantic love story, didn’t you?

I met David when I was twenty-three, and he was eighteen. Everything about David exudes a gentle type of caring that wraps around you and makes you feel better for having simply met him. He called me “Momma Amber”, a nickname I still hold to this day, and I began referring to him as my “gay husband”. He would bring me roses every now and then, for no reason other than he understood how much I love roses. We’d go dancing together. We’d go out to dinner, and have long talks about everything from books, to love, to life. He’d introduce me to his boyfriends, and then the three of us would go out to dinner together, followed by dancing. My face would light up when someone would mention his name, and his face was my heart.

When my first marriage ended, long after it should have, and my world was falling apart, David was the glue that held me together, whether as a shoulder to cry on, someone to make me laugh, or someone to be a designated driver (I was robbing the cradle with my gay husband, being five years his senior). He was my anchor in holding on to life, and the most supportive of all my friends.  When I began working two full-time jobs out of financial necessity, he sent me an email: “I know you’re not going anywhere… But God, I miss you already!”

The very sad, very painful truth that I hate to admit is that a fight within our group of friends separated David and I for ten years. Pride, anger, jealousy? You could probably use any deadly sin to describe what caused the break. And while the fight was not between David and myself, the result was still the same: Ten years with a gaping hole in my heart, that was nothing but a huge void.

Age is only a number…

I read recently that distance isn’t important when loving someone, it’s about wanting that person you love there with you when you experience something. That is probably the most honest statement I’ve read in my life. Because when things happened in my life, meeting my biological mother face-to-face for the first time, getting married again, becoming a mother, making the soul-wrenching decision to have a partial hysterectomy at age thirty-three, my mind, as well as my heart, would think of David and wish he were there with me. I would wish that I would have put my fucking pride on the shelf and not let go of someone so very dear to my heart.

Call social media a blessing or a curse, I’ve held both opinions. But thanks to Facebook, I found David again in Fall of 2011. And we let go of the bad bullshit of the past and reconnected. Unfortunately, work schedules and my life as a mother got in the way of actually seeing one another until June of 2012, when David went with me to a writer’s workshop. After the workshop, we went to lunch, and sitting next to him at the table, talking with him again face-to-face after years had passed, those years disappeared. I was a thirty-five year old mother of three, and he was now a grown man (and quite a foxy one at that) of thirty, but it was still just Momma Amber and Gay Husband. It was no different than if we had spent the previous day together. It felt like just a normal, every day event to sit down, eat a meal, and talk with him.

After that Saturday, we made a promise to do our best to spend as much time together as we could. To learn from our mistakes in the past, and to make up for the years we lost. To schedule the time in if need be; and that has had to be the case in some situations. But in others? It’s a last minute text or call saying, “Come out and see me,” or “I miss you” followed by, “Come on down!”

In late July of 2012, I released In the Gloaming a poetry collection that was, above all other things, painfully honest. In this collection, I did something I hate to do: I was very upfront and open about how I feel about a few very important friends. You can imagine how surprised I was by the response to the poem I wrote to David.  Readers wanted to know about the love affair that inspired the poem. People commented on how romantic it was, how much passion must have been felt between myself and this other person to inspire such words. And I have to chuckle, because there has never been a romantic moment between David and I, not to mention the fact that David is just not built to feel that way about me.

With You

With you

I have no name

I just quite simply am

There is nothing to define me

Yet I become so much brighter

More colorful and free

Hope begins to take over

And I can just simply be

There are no labels

I’m free to finally become

Free to breathe

Free to break

Free to heal

And free to take.

There is, however, a great deal of love between David and I. He will never make my knees weak, he will never take me in a fit of wild and lusty passion, because that’s not in him, not how he’s built. He will, however, let me cry on his shoulder when my life gets too much to bear, he will hug me as hard as he can, and he will grip my hands in his and tell me that he loves me very deeply and he wants my happiness more than anything else.

What *real* love looks like…

David has recently made the decision to move to a city three hours from the one we live in. And when he told me, I sobbed, my heart already aching for my friend no longer being a half-hours drive from me. A few nights later, we went out, and when his upcoming move came up in conversation, I looked at him and said, “I’m really dreading you leaving.” He rolled his eyes, and I put my hand on his arm, and said something I have only ever said to two people in my life, two people who mean everything to me, who I would move heaven and hell for: “As much as I want and need you in my life, I want and need your peace, your joy, and your happiness more. Even if I’m not there. Even if I don’t get to see it, even if I’m not a part of it.” He hugged me to him, and I didn’t fight the tears that came. Why hide tears from one of the few people in the world that are worthy enough to hold onto a piece of my heart, wherever they may go?

David may move three hours away. He might one day move thirty hours away. I might only get to see him once or twice a year. But loving someone completely, loving someone unconditionally? That means letting them go. And letting them go does not mean you’re no longer in their life, it just simply means that you love them enough to put their happiness above your own.

David has taught me so many things: that the margaritas at Gloria’s in Oak Lawn should really be named Stealth Bomber, that the purest form of love is often the most simple, that unless someone loves you as you are they have no real place in your life, and that time and distance do not matter when it comes to love. Because those that truly love us? It doesn’t matter how far away they are, how much time passes between seeing them one time and the next. What matters most is that the love remains. That ten weeks or ten years doesn’t matter. Love, true love, the kind that should be written about, remains through the bullshit.

David, when you read this: Thank you for the light you have brought into my life. You are one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. I love you, you wonderful blessing. Thank you for the love and care you take with the piece of my heart you still have, thirteen years after the day I was blessed to have given you.

~Amber

A Series of Freebies!

So you’ve probably noticed I’ve ran a few freebies lately: First there was “4 a.m.”, followed by “James”.  And on Tuesday, September 4 through Saturday, September 8, “Jeffrey” will be free, followed by “Color of Dawn” from Wednesday September 12 through Sunday, September 16, and finally, “David”, free from Wednesday, September 19 through Sunday, September 23.

In June, at a writer’s workshop here in Dallas, I was speaking with another attendee about writing and getting read, and I said, “I’d rather be read than paid.”  Which is absolute truth. If I can engender any type of emotion with my work? That’s the best paycheck of all.

So tell your friends, and go download these short stories and books.  And I hope you enjoy them.  And if you do enjoy them? Well, I’d love a review on my work, so I can know what I’m doing right or wrong.

 

Lots of love,

 

 

Amber Jerome~Norrgard

 

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