JANUARY 21, 2020: “The Answer” …

There have been so many days in my life when even the most unassuming things have had the most profound effects on my spirit, but yesterday might take the cake …

I had to leave the house for an appointment, but because it was Martin Luther King Day, Gia asked to stay behind and relax. Honestly? I’m just now getting accustomed to leaving her home alone in the wake of all she’s been through, but she still had to complete the last of her high school applications, and she is 14 going on 15, so I agreed. As I was headed out the door, I found her sitting at the computer typing away at the application. Mind you, I hadn’t yet looked at the questions and had no idea what she was writing.

I returned to find her nesting peacefully at her little “perch” upstairs working on her latest sketch and singing out loud to her favorite Beatle’s vinyl. (Yes, she was born in the wrong decade!) After settling in, I made it back to the computer, only to find it left open to the questions and answers she’d been working on, which of course I had to read before submitting:

What do you think adults should know about social media?

I think that adults should know that while there are dangers to social media, as there are in many aspects of life, that social media also has the potential to do great things. Social media allows people to support and encourage people not only in your local circle of friends and family, but people all over the world. My personal experiences with social media have been very positive. I have found role models and people who have inspired me to become a better person physically, mentally and spiritually.

Think about things in your life that bring you joy. How do you ensure time for those people, experiences or moments?

I believe that when something or someone makes you truly happy you won’t need to find time for them – they will come to you and happen spontaneously. If you must sit down and think about how you will find a way to work something you love into your everyday life, there is a bigger issue at hand. Whether it be your schedule or the thing that you are trying to incorporate, it is a very big issue. People, experiences and special moments can’t be planned – they stay in your life and follow you throughout your journey. You will find that the people that bring you joy always manage to be a priority without even trying.  I think that’s part of what love really is – not having to think or plan when you will show appreciation or care because you already do so without thinking. And experiences? Well, I firmly believe are priceless! Be them good or bad, every experience you have teaches you things and makes you a stronger and better person. If you have a chance to experience something you should focus on that moment because you might not ever experience it ever again and you should appreciate it before it’s too late and get caught thinking, “I should have appreciated it a lot sooner,” or “Why did I not live in the moment?”

Tell a story about a time when you made a mistake or experienced failure and what you learned?

I have made many mistakes and experienced many failures throughout my life. As a human, I am bound to do both repeatedly. My biggest mistake, however, was allowing all the hardships I experienced have such a negative impact on me. I have dealt with bullying and trauma for practically my whole life and let those things and people bring me down, feel worthless and lose my faith. I got to a very bad place and treated myself horribly, allowing myself to believe all that I was being told and all the bad things I thought. I let those things blind me from the fact that God made me, and He loves me no matter what anyone says or does. It took a lot of hard work to dig myself out of the dark hole I had put myself in, but I prevailed. With the help of loved ones, heroes and most importantly my God in heaven, I’ve survived. I learned that God will put things in my path to strengthen me and that when I hit a bump in the road, I keep going, because I was made to be strong and fight for who I am and what I believe no matter what. I’ve learned my value well and learned how to love people and care for them unconditionally, just like God does. Most importantly, however, I learned a lesson that many people never learn and a lesson that I believe is the most important one to learn: I learned how to love myself just as God made me and just as God loves me.


So, go ahead and ask me if I wept after reading these words. Umm, yah … LIKE A BABY! I was so emotional in all the best ways that I had to sneak back to my room, shut the door, and just sit in the chair a while to process through the flood. This is my “reason”. This is my “why”. THIS is the answer to “The Riddle”.

None of this is about me, nor will it ever be! It’s about him, and her – the fruit from my branch that will bear the legacy of strength, courage, and unconditional love for not only others, but most of all, THEMSELVES, that I hope to leave behind. It’s about living out loud in the truths I’ve learned in all the hardest ways and being the answer to all their riddles. It’s about leading by example until my fledgling phoenix rises above all this darkness, and never losing faith that my first-born prince will eventually find the strength to fly from the inside and get that God-forsaken Venom suit off his soul, just like his mother finally did. It’s about days like yesterday when I come face to face with vindication and proof that I must be doing something right!

To top it all off, Gia and spent last night at dinner and a movie with her boyfriend and his little sister, both of who I adore, and who are also living proof and vindication of their own parents’ forward shift in their family’s legacy. Their parents have become a fiercely true and loyal support to me and my daughter, and the mom especially is someone who I very much admire as a woman in her own right, such that after hearing THESE words just before the movie started from her daughter, “one of my ‘lil besties”, the victory I’d experienced just hours earlier became infinitely sweeter than I could have imagined:

Miss Cat, I know I’m just a kid and everything, but I hope you know that you are an inspiration to me, and you are doing a really good job raising Gia. I notice things about people. You are special and you’re raising a special girl.

My heart couldn’t be any fuller tonight if I wanted it to be. I’m a very happy girl.


There was a man back in ’95 whose heart ran out of summers but before he died, I asked him, “Wait, what’s the sense in life? Come over me. Come over me.” He said, “Son why you got to sing that tune? Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon. Let an angel swing and make you swoon then you will see … you will see.” Then he said, “Here’s a riddle for you … find The Answer. There’s a reason for the world: You and I”. Picked up my kid from school today. “Did you learn anything cause in the world today? You can’t live in a castle far away. Now talk to me. Come talk to me.” He said, “Dad I’m big but we’re smaller than small. In the scheme of things, well we’re nothing at all. Still every mother’s child sings a lonely song. So, play with me. Come play with me. And hey dad, here’s a riddle for you … find The Answer. There’s a reason for the world: You and I”. I said, “Son for all I’ve told you, when you get right down to the reason for the world: Who am I?” There are secrets that we still have left to find. There have been mysteries from the beginning of time. There are answers we’re not wise enough to see. He said, “You looking for a clue … I LOVE YOU FREE!” The batter swings and the summer flies as I look into my angel’s eyes. A song plays on while the moon is high over me. Something comes over me. I guess we’re big and I guess we’re small. If you think about it man, you know we got it all cause we’re all we got on this bouncing ball and I love you free … I LOVE YOU FREE!” Here’s a riddle for you … find The Answer. There’s a reason for the world: You and I”.{Five For Fighting}

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