Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Life as Tetris

It is interesting how my thoughts run wild at two a.m.

*this photo has nothing to do with the post, but only with how my brain feels right now

I made the mistake tonight at about midnight (when I was having trouble sleeping already) to pull out my journal. The old skool kind. All I really wanted was to find a piece of paper to write my husband a note. I was feeling too lazy to go back downstairs where I knew there was paper. After sifting through my nightstand drawers, and coming across the journal...I opened it up. I didn't go through the pages I had written, but rather rummaged through the little pieces stuck into the front and back covers.

There were polaroids of me and my kids.
Photos of Hubbs and I shortly after we were married.
There were some notes from Hubbs, and a birthday card.

There was also a stack of five papers stapled together.
A collection of thoughts from my father writing about his brother Mike who
took his own life when he was 24 years old.


I recall tucking it away years ago after it was given to me.
I am pretty certain my dad gave it to me.
I remember reading it for the first time the day they were given to me,
but it was painful to read.

I remember my uncle Mike vaguely.
I remember I was only four when he died.
I remember his exotic birds.
I remember his 15 speed road bike.

I remember visiting him a few times with my dad. That is a lot to remember when you are only four. I also remember his funeral. I remember the smells and sounds and pictures in my mind from the evening of the viewing.

I knew better than to read through these sheets of paper in the middle of an already sleepless night. But there I was, unable to find a blank piece of paper to write down some thoughts...so I read what was in front of me.

I didn't know my dad's mother's middle name was Lucy.
I really wish I had known that when I named Millz.
I would have given her that name.
See, these five sheets of paper are filled with some awful, heart-wrenching things.
Things that kids should not have to endure.
Suffice it to say that my grandmother herself once told me as we sat on a porch swing with little six month old J-Man in my arms:

"Kim, you are a good mom. I never was a good mom. I was good at having the baby and that was it. I was an especially bad mother to Mike."

Our relationship with my dad's mom is an interesting one.
If you can understand her saying the things she said to me on that swing, you may understand why my uncle killed himself. Regardless, I love her. I love her very much.

That got me thinking about the pattern of my life.
The game of Tetris if you will.
How the choices that my grandmother made...formed and shaped
the pieces and lives of her children.
I am a firm believer that we can make anything of ourselves, despite how we are raised, or in any condition in which we grow up.

Opposition can do two things...it can make us stronger if we let it, or it can weaken us.
I think sometimes when we are playing the game of life we get SO fed up with the game that we hit the down button and let the pieces pile up until they reach the top of the screen,
and then game. over. If we are lucky, we get to start again...but...
If we choose to, really deeply, we can do the opposite...stretch, turn, twist, and rotate those pieces to fit nicely together until we create a bigger and stronger foundation.

We are very much products of our environment.
I wonder sometimes where I would be now had my energy been put forth into other things besides getting over my parents divorce, or my dad's imprisonment.
I wish that I didn't have to feel like I have been running for the past two years trying to catch my breath from some very challenging trials.

It has, however made for a much more interesting life.
It has stretched me and strengthened me to keep pushing to the next level.

I am really sad that I outlived my uncle. I am sad that he never got to see 25, 26, 27, or 28. That he never got to work through his struggles and emotional sadness and possibly make a better life for himself and for any future family he may have had.

It wasn't happen chance I came across those five papers tonight.
They were the answer to a prayer in my heart.
The prayer to live each day to the fullest.
To try harder, run faster, and love deeper.
Be a better mother, prove it can be done, no matter the difficulty.
And to never give up.

And really...who doesn't love a good game of Tetris?


Cory and Becca said...

Beautiful insight.

kenna said...

i concur, such beautiful thoughts. the fact you can express these things at two a.m. is amazing. anyone who reads this will feel the tender spirit that abides with your words.

what a great way to start my morning.


Kristina P. said...

I love this analogy!

My mom became so addicted to Tetris, when I was in jr. high, she finally took a hammer to the game and destroyed it.

Holly said...

I think it's a good analogy - life is like Tetris. Sometimes it does feel like we inherit a half-played game with a bad foundation but that just means we have to be more creative in how we make it all fit before the clock runs out.

April Greener said...


Thank you for this post. I really needed to read this today...after a week of feeling 'down.' Thx.

InkMom said...

Love this analogy. Thanks for sharing.

mandee said...

Profound and too true! Love you!

Leisha & Brian said...

Love you and your analogies. Such a good one. You are amazing and I am so grateful to have you as my friend.

Katie said...

Love it. Such true words that I wish more people could hear and believe. You should be very proud of the life you've made for yourself and the choices you've made to be happy. Thanks for a great post!

Britney said...


Ron and Jessica said...

I think about my parents divorce a lot too. Wondering how much it's changed and shaped me. Divorce is painful. One good thing to come of it though is I'm more committed to my own family. I'm not going to make the mistakes my parents made and continue to make. One thing is for sure...life would be dull without opposition AND tetris. -Jess

moosh in indy. said...

Quite lovely my darling. Down to every last detail.
You are lovely.
But I still don't love Tetris. heh.

Carlykins said...

With all your own personal details, I feel like you just posted the last 2yrs of my life.
I've been really holding onto Abraham and Sarah, their story when Abraham is asked to make one of the greatest sacrifices; yet as a result of his faithfulness, a ram is provided in the thicket.
As hard as that hike is on the way up, or down.; once the ram is provided, how much more you notice when traveling the opposite direction ; memories, lessons, etc. Attached to different points of the travels.

Thanks again

Amy and Josh said...

Amen . . . life is a precious gift that isn't always in our control, whether for ourselves or for those we love . . . we choose how to live it with whatever time we are given.

thanks for sharing Kim:)

Ashley said...

My sister and I have both struggled with our childhood. We were both abused by our father growing up and are at very different places in our lives with it.

I've watched her struggle. I've watched her allow "abused" to be who she is as opposed to something someone did to her. I've watched her waste the talents and gifts she's been given and I've watched as she's only focused on the bad. It breaks my heart.

I did this myself for a while. I let "abused" be who I was and felt the pieces falling where they wanted. My foundation was shaky and unstable. I didn't care, I just didn't want to deal with it.

Things are better now. I do wonder at times what my life would be like if these trials hadn't been mine; if I'd grown up in a home where happiness was abundant and we were a loving and Eternal family. I wonder what it's like to love your father and be able to turn to him when you need advice, support or just someone to listen.

I like the tetris analogy. I used to say that growing up with abuse is like growing up to find that you have a ball and chain welded to your ankle. You have two choices; you can let it hold you back and let it rule you forever or you can pick it up, learn to "own" it and use it to help strengthen you until it's weight doesn't restrain you anymore. It makes you stronger.

I don't know why I was blessed with the desire to do that. I wish I could give the desire and strength to my sister because I do worry about her. I don't want her to give up and I don't want to lose her- in any way - to bad choices someone else made.

Thank you for sharing this Kim. Means the world. Sorry for the novel.

duston todd said...

great shot!
(i didn't read the post, but i love the photo)

The Silva's said...

That was a wonderul post!! Great analogy. I am glad that those pages were able to give you a positive outlook!!

Julie Carlile said...

I forgot about all you had been through! You are an amazing woman, and a wonderful person that I am happy to call my friend. Thanks for sharing this post Kim.

Vanessa said...

great post miss

-vanessa from inevergrewup.net