Monday, February 3, 2014

In the wake of Phillip Seymore Hoffman's death… Shawn Pyfrom lifts us up with his own truth related to addiction and what honoring thyself in life or not, means to him

http://shawnpyfrom.tumblr.com/post/75414104395/something-i-must-share
something i must share…
i just read the news about mr. philip seymour hoffman, and against the advise of others; i had to write this open letter. i can’t stay quiet anymore about this…
i am an alcoholic and a drug addict.
and yesterday i celebrated five months of sobriety. i’m relatively new to being sober, considering the scope of time that i’ve been an addict. but within that scope, this is also the longest i’ve been sober; since i began using. i’m not sure what to approach first, with regard to this letter — my head is still spinning from the news. i even question whether or not i should publish this, as i type out these words. but if these words can encourage someone to hold on to their life… to keep from ever using, or to find the strength to stop; then it’s more important that these words are shared. i’ve considered what’s at stake, for myself, by sharing this - but i find myself without regard for that. i won’t allow my selfish needs to get in the way of potentially reaching another human being’s life.
when news reaches us of a public figure, like mr. hoffman, passing away from such a terrible affliction; we tend to get the feeling of great loss. it is a great loss. i feel grief when i hear of such a talented human being leaving this earth… but every life is important. there are just some that hold the public forum. the loss of their life is no more, or no less, of a loss than anyone else’s. and anytime a person uses drugs, they are taking the chance that their life will be taken from them. whether they steal your breath, or rob one last beat from your heart - that is left to fate. but they will steal your life from you. whether you are the occasional user, or someone that uses every day. every moment spent using drugs (alcohol included) is a moment stolen from your life. a memory you will only recall with vague reflection - through fogged glass. leaving an imprint in your memory, like a stamp without it’s ink. that is, of course, my own realization.
some people could argue that drugs have provided some of the most memorable, creative artists this planet has ever experienced. jimi hendrix, kurt cobain…the list goes on. but drugs also took their lives away. it’s tough to say if their creativity would have flowered, in the same way, if it weren’t for the seed of their struggles. we could debate and extrapolate all day on the topic of drugs and their effect on creativity. but i don’t write this to debate. only to share. even i could say, for myself, that if it weren’t for the struggles and experience of my addictions; i would not have created the things that i have. i can argue that with all certainty, in fact. but i would have much rather lived the moments that i lost; and seen what would have come, creatively, as a result of that. that is one thing that is undebatable. but i digress. i am writing this for anyone who reads it…
i want to express that i chose to share this about myself because i could not hear of another person being robbed of their life, due to addiction; knowing that i stayed quiet about mine. knowing that if, by sharing my story, i could potentially save a life - and didn’t; that i would no longer be able to look myself in the mirror with the same pride i’ve allowed myself to have, for overcoming the thing that almost took my life.
for several years, i lived for drugs. i lived for other things as well. but drugs dictated the other things i lived for. i thought more about using, than i thought about any other “pleasures”. i put myself in places i never would have ended up, otherwise, for the sake of getting high. there are countless nights of blacking out, and making poor decisions as a result of my overusing. i wasted the time of valuable people, who worked so hard to pull my career to a higher place, by allowing my addictions to tug me out of their grip. i worried the people that care about me. my friends. my parents. my siblings. all for the sake of something that i believed i had control over. i didn’t even realize how low drugs and alcohol had pulled me. but i stand now from a higher place. not higher than anyone else, or anyone that is using. just a higher place, than i was before. my thoughts are clear. my body is energized. and the creativity now flows out of me, easier than it ever had when i was using. i wake up looking forward to my days, rather than looking for a way to get through them. i feel the life inside of me now. the life that i deprived myself of for so long.
i made a promise to myself that i would never stand as a preacher of sobriety - speaking from a podium that could be interpreted as arrogant or judgmental. and i wish to clarify that this letter is not my way of trying to indoctrinate. this is not my dogma. this is my truth. only mine. i have no judgements for the way anyone chooses to live their life. and i only have compassion for those who currently struggle with their addictions. i am fortunate enough to no longer struggle with mine. i can say with all honesty, that i have no desire to ever use again. but it took a long time, and a lot of struggle, to finally reach that place. we sometimes have to learn through our own experiences - as i had to with mine. i was too strong-minded and wrapped up in my own addictions to listen to anyone. it was even obnoxious to hear someone speak about addiction, to me. i wasn’t “a part of that club”, i thought. i shut myself off to good advise. i thought an addict was someone that i wasn’t. i thought i had control. ithought… but now i know.
i am an addict. and i’ve never been more proud, saying it. because when i think about where i’ve been, and where i am now… i am proud of the man who has addressed and admitted to himself, what was once a clouded denial. self-pride and love are two things i’ve never had for myself, until recently. i hold them closely, now, by my own humbled awareness. and i wouldn’t trade that in for any pill, line, or drink - on any day. i could go on, but i’ll leave it here, for now…
if you’re reading this letter, i hope it comes to you with only encouragement. i hope it provides you strength, in the way that i’ve intended it. whether you are currently battling an addiction, or have never even sipped a drink. i hope it gives you strength to consider the potential it has to take everything, that is dear, from you. you may be one of the lucky ones that leaves unscathed from it all. with all sincerity; good for you. but i leave it to you to decide if it’s worth risking; finding yourself on the unfortunate end of things. just know that either way, i’m pulling for you. with only love…
i hope you can save your life.
love.
shawn

a few minutes of you, at 3 and 1 month, Monday afternoon

I am working on my "pewter" on my Great Grandmother's chair.  And I cannot really work.  You are at your whiteboard, attached to the basement door to my right, wearing your sparkly white butterfly wings, your "tutu" (a ruffly skirt that you say is also a tutu), and drawing with your new whiteboard markers.  "T, I'm going to write a 't'".  After several blue t's you move over to your bookshelf, singing, "I have sumping to show you…I have sumping to show you".  And now you've brought over your wooden numbered snail puzzle to me…"look at this mama, look at this".  You are on the rug at play with it now.

Talulah Temple, you are such a joy, emanating just that from your pores wherever you are.

We so adore and appreciate you.  You have grown up so much in the past month, certainly in the three years you've been in our life.  You have transformed us by your presence.  You are a gift of an experience of heaven on Earth.

"Ten, I did it"  "Ten I did it, I did it…stand up, twirl, bow and hands to heart center, head nod (still with white sparkly butterfly wings on)."


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Very important and well said


After slaying critics in defense of her daughter Willow, outspoken actress and activist Jada Pinkett-Smith took to Facebook today to drop some knowledge on how the degradation of women has resulted in problems for both sexes.
As we look at societies where the women are lost, struggling for education and otherwise disregarded, versus those who consider women the center of their communities, Jada‘s words ring all the more truer. Read what she has to say below:
How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only.
The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.
I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.
There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.
He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.
He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him four children.
When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.
Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.
May we all find our way.
J

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

from jada pinket smith

"This subject is old but I have never answered it in its entirety. And even with this post it will remain incomplete. 

The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power, or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit, and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It's also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother's deepest insecurities, hopes, and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be. More to come. Another day."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just a day in the life of you

@ and around 19 Months and some odd days old.









How much your mama loves you!




Your work space


"Al Doh" (All done)

Beloved Indi RIP










You and Charlotte @ Teddy Bear Park




Last day of spring time ECFE.  Hello Summer.

Abbey

















Cammann

Luca, Georgia, Talulah, Teague @ the Sizers




Minnehaha Falls



So funny and getting funnier every day!

Running away when it is time to change your "dipuh".  You make some funny game of it but taking off running wild with arms flailing toward the stairs.  You get to the gate, climb up, look up and put a big ol' grin on your face til I come up to you.  Or you run or crawl behind the chair and "hide", eager to squeal elation at being "caught".

You are starting to say 3 word sentences.  Your first string of 3 words was on our hotel bed the morning we were checking out in Portland after John & Jacqui's wedding reception a couple weeks ago.  You were naked sitting on the bed "exploring" and you said, "Jida (vagina) pee dipuh (diaper)". Today in the bath you said, "something I couldn't make out and then, buss (brush) tee (teeth)".   You were avoiding brushing your teeth and were speaking to it somehow.  You ramble on in your own language with some intelligible words throughout the day and most often when playing by yourself.

You put layers of necklaces and purses that I leave hanging on the doorknob in our bedroom in addition to any random piece of clothing of mine or yours or your dad's (you especially love to rope my underwear around your neck) on in the morning while I'm getting my teeth and hair brushed, dressed, etc.

For the past month or two you can often be found sitting up at our dining table or your new little table and chairs at your notepad scribbling away.  You will spend 10-15 minutes uninterrupted engrossed in your artistry and digging into your boxes of tools (markers, colored pencils, pencils, crayons of all shapes, stickers, pens).  Taking the covers off and putting them back on in addition to buckling and zipping anything you can find are top choice activities for you right now.  You will rifle through opening and closing your dad's dresser drawers until you find something you can practice zipping.

Morning activity downstairs continues after breakfast, with you strolling around the house poking around for your mornings "work".  Anything with a buckle or zipper will lure you in for a solid 5 minutes.  Shoes are another source of indulgence.  Naming which are daddy's or mama's and trying them on mixed or matched, walking around. "Blip blops" (Adele's speak) are your latest.  You manage to walk in my flip flops somehow.

Your dad was backing out of the garage with you on your way to get groceries this past weekend and you were pointing and vocalizing "yeah yeah yeah" - this week evolved to "yep yep yep".  It took him a bit but figured out you eyed a toddler life jacket on the sidewall.  Those buckles don't escape you anywhere.  Grocery carts are new found fun.  That lifejacket and the Ergo are in the car for your riding entertainment.

You are into helping me with the laundry.  Going downstairs into the "durdy" basement.  (You like to point out many things dirty.  You hunkered down into a squat at my toes yesterday inspecting and dictating to me that my "toes durdee").  Pulling diapers, clothes or "dowl"(towels) out of the basket (after much negotiation not to disrupt the already folded laundry) and stacking them into "pieohs" (piles).  Another fun counting opportunity if we so choose.  You especially like to carry the "pieoh" over to its appropriate storage place (lo and behold- another basket!).  We live out of baskets of stuff- everywhere!

You like "ehsss".  What you say?  "Ehssss"  = Eggs.  You talk a lot about "Elwissssh" or "Elshisshss". Who you say?  That's what I said.  Who?  What?  Oh, Eldridge.  (Not to be confused with Eggs- tough sometimes). Yeah, unfortunately, Eldridge (our beautiful black feline beauty) spends most of his time on the second basement stair- out of our sight and not interested in our company- these days, winding down his last leg in life.  But we get him out now and then and you are still very interested in feeding him, watching him eat or making sure he gets a "nack" (snack) when you do.  Chances are he really appreciates your diligent advocacy.  If I say he is downstairs taking his nap, you say, "NOooh" and hold your hands out to the side palms face up.  As in, "No?  Where did he go? Can't find him".

You catch onto positive and negative in conversation no problem.  Even when reversed in speech, as with a tag question.  I have always found that fascinating.  Another testament that language is just absorbed and deduced, not really taught. (like most everything else)

You are climbing, scaling and braving your way around this world more everyday.  Because you are well inclined and practiced to explore around the house and find your own "work" when I'm packing us up to go, getting lunch ready, making a call or heaven forbid taking a minute to pee without your company (which is fun too, just rare I make it up the stairs without you coming along after my heels to join in the adventure of going up the stairs).

I tend to take liberty with my time in checking in on you.  Our house is small after all and fairly well child proofed at this time, so mostly things are safe.  Until, you take things to the next level.  There is always that next cusp to address that comes along before we know it.

Right now it is standing on the edge of a chair that is a foot or more away from the table or ends up there and you reaching to the absolute farthest distance in your ability from the chair toward the center of the table to pounce upon some irresistible item you typically aren't familiar with or allowed. Aha, got it!

You mimic these kinds of phonetic idiosyncrasies of mine or your dad's.  I hear you saying some version of "Aha" all the time or the expression on your face when you find something. Or saying, "hmmm".  When you accomplish something desired or efforted you get the widest open mouth, spread your arm wings and express "aha" with your face and mannerism.  It is infectious.

I take the approach of not overreacting to your achievements or doings throughout the day.  I do share in your excitement and acknowledge your efforts consistently with something along the lines of, "you did it!", "you got it." or "I can really appreciate how much effort you are putting into that." but I'm careful not to show over excitement or "reward" trying to avoid commentary such as "good job".  This is challenging as it is so culturally engrained.  But I really want you to develop your own intrinsic satisfaction of the efforts you put forth.  I want you to find satisfaction in your own process.  And hone your own sense of what is satisfactory, fulfilling or not to you. I believe this is what is most important.  Not result.  There is a great article with research that supports this I should attach here for my future reference.  Actually, I think a chapter in the book, "Nurture Shock".

Today at the Holly Tot Lot you scaled up the "rock climbing pegs" with just a bit of assistance and the army ropes without any, first try.  Sometimes I wonder would you be climbing trees by now if we lived in the bush?

This week we went to the Walker Art Museum for a Mommy and Toddler dance out on the grounds.  Bear walking, rolling, and Twinkle Twinkle, Shrinkle Shrinkle are our latest morning ritual amusements as a result.

You talk about "Gampa" (Grandpa Mark), Heaer (Heather), Abbey, Ehya (Elya), Daddy, and Ninah (Naiya) throughout your days.  And, fish.  You really like fish.

Butterfly and eskimo kisses tickle your funny bone.

You will close your eyes at me at the dinner table when you want to avoid something I'm asking of you.  It is so hard for me not to laugh that I often bust out torso shaking belly laugh for minutes on end. In which case my mission may be temporarily aborted but you chime in because you love when either of us or anyone is laughing.  It took me a while to figure out where you learned to do something like this.  But I think you got it from me.  I think I do this when I am reactive to something and need to take a minute to sort it out without saying something inappropriate in your company.

You are really interested in feeding your babies "mama milk" accompanied by a special lips squished out face and eating/slurping sound effect.

You love babies.  All things babies.  Babies- real, small and doll.

You enjoy looking at photos of family and friends, recognizing and naming them.  You are dancing more on your own.  Before it was almost exclusively in my arms.  You are busting out your own moves now.

You still love to get into down dog.  This week we added the leaping frog.  Giggles giggles giggles.  You love to giggle!

Throwing yourself down on the bed.  Jumping on the bed.  Throwing yourself down on the floor, or us or the rug, or grass.  Whatever.  You find this hysterical.  Despite some pain I am sure.

You ride on your daddy's back to mow the lawn and my back to hike or shop sometimes.

Books books and more books.  Right now we have a pile of books about mice and their adventures and  counting.

You take initiative to go sit on the potty thru out the day and make the "Ssss" sound.  Nothing has come out.  But you think it is fun.  I think Elya's potty training and example have it on your brain.  Thank you Elya!

Baths, anything water (wah wah), sandcastles, collecting pine cones, rocks and sticks, hats, sunglasses, any adornment, hair or otherwise, "tick" (chicken), "ticka" (tickling), salmon, peas, picking pieces of the leaves of swiss chard, kale, thyme or otherwise in our garden for a snack or for fun, pushing your baby doll stroller around the block, darting to Sue and Marty's to visit their fauna lawn ornaments, traipsing thru Auntie Rae's flowers, sitting at your picnic table with your snack or on a step, anywhere, apohs (apples), "mana" (banana),  "Gampa" Mark, riding on shoulders, riding on our backs on our hands and knees or child's pose, hanging upside down, any and all sorts of monkeying around and laughing, cuddling, hugging (clinging when upset but also the big lovable wrap your arms big and tight around our neck kind of hugs now) "I'm sorry hugs", "stick" (stickers) peeling and placing, stamping marker on yourself and then saying "OHh" with a frowned concerned face, looking for a kiss to make it better, making happy, surprised, sad and fish faces, saying "Uh Oh", lifting and carrying things from one place to another that are "hehby" (heavy) to you, having your "nack" in your stand at the island while we work in the kitchen, sweep up the food you throw on the floor after eating, finding "gahbaisssh" (garbage) and putting it where it belongs, singing songs (Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Pat a Cake, Trot Old Joe, This is the way the ladies ride, Ring Around the Rosies, If You're Happy and You Know It, Head, Shoulders Knees Toes, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Jumpin Josie, Barnyard Dance, Monkeys on the Bed, Little Bunny Foo Foo) newly discovered legos, stamping, looking at your picture or video immediately or before it is done shooting, talking on the phone "Hey O" (Hello), pretending you are "seeping" (sleeping), wrapping your babies or yourself in a blanket and rocking, putting a "dipuh" on baby, imaginary play is starting to take off,- these are some of your favorite things right now.

Monkey See Monkey Do.  This sums it up.  I'm trying to be as conscientious as I can as to what I expose and introduce you to from habits, rituals, manners, etiquette, foods we eat, how we do anything, interaction of all sorts (with friends, strangers, animals, inanimate objects, nature, creativity).  Such a rich impressionable time.  Life is full.  There is much to sift thru, treasures to discover, relationships to build and life to experience.  What a gift I have to be able to do this with you every day.  I cherish it with all my heart.

Your father and I feel you are growing up exponentially before our eyes every day.  We've felt this way since the day you were born.  We hold every minute with you dear to our heart.  You light up our lives.  We recollect the moment you swooshed out of me into our arms with awe and the most fondness we will ever know, often.

You take up half of your bed now.  When you are sleeping you look like a child.  Not a baby.   You are heavier.  Taller.  Fuller.  In physical presence and personality.  You are unfolding and developing before our eyes.  You are our heart walking around outside of us.  We love you.  We are here for  you always and forever.

~Your blessed mama