I no longer expect others to “make” me happy.
It has become obvious to me that what I perceived as the shortcomings in previous relationships, began with me. I chose partners that embodied my own strengths, deficits, entrenched patterns and limitations. The illusory emptiness, confinement, and privation in those relationships, and the pain of ending them, caused me to seek more in myself.
Many consider the ending of a relationship to be a “failure”. I now believe that some relationships are mutually propitious for a lifetime and some are not. Learning what is possible from one another, and then releasing the dependency on the familiar no longer equates to failure for me. It simply means that some relationships can be concluded once all of the benefits and lessons that it had to offer have been experienced. Once there is no more for the participants to lovingly give, do or receive, it is wise to consider that rendition of the relationship complete and move on.
I stayed in some relationships due to the bromidic belief that it was “the right thing to do”. The drudgery of forcing a relationship for reasons outside of myself, (societal expectations, familial or financial pressures), leaves all involved dissatisfied and miserable with themselves and one another.
Coming to this place of personal understanding has generated fortuitous consequences in my own life. I am able to more acutely see myself as the architect of my own being. The relationships I now nurture are more stable, honest and indelible. The expectations and responsibilities I formerly placed on others have been reintegrated in to a keen awareness of my own self and self-worth.
Releasing the thoughts, habits and compulsions that conscripted others to be responsible for my fulfillment, has brought about the emergence of a ME who is fully capable of loving with ease and grace, and in return I am now receiving the same.
When I was pure bliss, among the bright stars, I floated in knowing for eternity.
At some point I chose to have an adventure.
I chose to experience the illusion of splitting myself into what would seem like a countless myriad of colorful parts.
I chose to ride in a separate vehicle called a human body and to be given a name, and a life.
I knew life would pass as a near invisible blip on the radar of everlasting beauty, yet, I desired to feel, see, absorb, know and expand.
In the creation of my own adventure I thoughtfully chose one particular part of myself. I asked it to help me more than any other.
I said, “when I am separate, and have forgotten that I am only ME, and that the “I” ME is YOU, as well, I would like YOU to remind me of WHO I AM.”
The part of me playing YOU asked, “how might I do that?”
The “I” ME was very creative and bold. The “I” excitedly painted a picture that would provide the most opportunity for expansion, adventure, growth and wisdom.
“I” asked YOU to deliver life, to love ME, and to stay with ME throughout the journey.
YOU said, “Yes, of course I will do these things, I love ME. I can agree to anything “I” desires.”
“I” was pleased and continued. “I want YOU to offer ME pain, darkness, sadness and oppression as well….”
“What?” YOU exclaimed. “Why does “I” ask for such things?”
“I” smirked and breathed deeply. “I asks for an experience that will provide the most opportunity to remember “ME”.
The place ME is going has many variables. I want the highest possibility to feel ALL of the emotions, to see ALL of the contrast, to absorb ALL of the beauty and horror, to know ALL of the pain and glory, and to expand ALL of the ways I desire… Can YOU provide ME these gifts?”
Without hesitation YOU confidently stepped forward. “Not only will YOU provide all of these things, YOU will give ME clues in this adventure to help uncover ME’s magnificent and whole origin.”
“What will the clues be?”, “I” excitedly asked.
YOU now looked pleased and mischievous.
“”I” shall be named, ALL.”
“Oh! That is lovely!”, “I” exclaimed.
As the ME separated and YOU began the journey to Earth, “I” waved with joy and lovingly called out…
“and “I” shall name YOU, Mom!”
Thank you for ALL of it, Mom.
~Annetta Louise Lucero
I am compelled, through personal stories, a desire for truth, balance and an opportunity to educate, to write this today.
Due to my own incredible history of familial and spousal abuse, my studies, research, lectures and conference presentations, I have developed a keen sense for recognizing controlling and abusive patterns in the lives of others. Many friends and “strangers” have shared their own stories and sought my advice, knowing that I am someone who may identify issues, and listen without judgement. Surprisingly, some of these people are men.
Research demonstrates that the same abusive tactics and behaviors demonstrated by men (physical, verbal and emotional threats and intimidation) are also demonstrated by women. The resulting shame and fear of being abused, as well as the excuses made to cover up the abuse, are not gender-specific.
Men who are “trapped” by control and abuse have the same denial issues as women. Humans of either gender are adaptable to familiar situations, patterns and lifestyle, and in my experiences as an observer and listener, I have seen men deeply struggle with the possibility that their circumstances fall under the category of “abuse”. The concept of victimhood does not often make sense to a construction worker, martial arts master, or firefighter. I see my former self in their shock and denial every time.
When I was court ordered to a Victims of Domestic Violence course after a dramatic escape from my husband, I was stunned.
I remember telling the instructor, “there’s been a mistake, I’ve never been a victim of anything in my life. I am a well-oiled machine.” By the third class I was even more surprised, realizing that my situation was blatantly abusive, meeting every physical and psychological category of behavior, patterning and conditioning presented.
There are many reasons people stay in abusive relationships, ranging from believing abuse is normal, to embarrassment, abuse/why-do-people-stay/, Cultural and societal pressures condition many to believe that relationships are to last FOREVER, regardless of the circumstances. Many people tough it out, even in the midst of escalating pain and entrapment.
Of course both the abuser and the one receiving the abuse become unhappy and dominated by the patterns of control. I do have compassion for all involved, as those who act out with abusive behaviors are suffering as well, and often times will never learn to recognize or seek help for their conditioned outrage. Gender is not indicative of who is dominated and who is subdued.
Whether or not you are a tiny woman or a burly man, if you call your partner 14 times in a row, making up stories in your head why they are not answering, and intently hit them while they are asleep, you have a serious issue that needs addressing. If you are accepting this behavior, it is important to seek an education in the area of pattern changing and get the hell out of Dodge.
We all have experiences throughout our lifetimes as being perpetrators, victims, hero’s, failures, and everything in between. Recognizing these attributes, admitting they are a part of us and keeping it all in check, regardless of what side we may be on, is the key to growth and expanding the best possibilities for ourselves.
Here are some very common traits that present themselves in those who are abusers, these traits are not gender specific. It is not the purpose of the listing to imply that every person with some of these attributes is an abuser or potential abuser.
- At the start of the relationship, an abuser will equate jealously with love. The abuser will question the victim about who the victim talks to, accuse the victim of flirting, or become jealous of time spent with others. The abuser may call the victim frequently during the day, drop by unexpectedly, refuse to let the victim work, check the car mileage, or ask friends to watch the victim.
- Controlling behavior
- In the beginning an abuser will attribute controlling behavior to concern for the victim (for example, the victim’s safety or decision-making skills). As this behavior progresses the situation will worsen, and the abuser may assume all control of finances or prevent the victim from coming and going freely.
- Quick involvement
- A victim often has known or dated the abuser for a brief period of time before getting engaged or living together. The abuser will pressure the victim to commit to the relationship. A victim may be made to feel guilty for wanting to slow the pace or end the relationship.
- Unrealistic expectations
- An abuser expects the victim to meet all of the abuser’s needs, to take care of everything emotionally and domestically.
- An abuser will attempt to isolate the victim by severing the victim’s ties to outside support and resources. The batterer will accuse the victim’s friends and family of being “trouble makers.” The abuser may block the victim’s access to use of a vehicle, work, or telephone service in the home.
- Blames others for problems
- An abuser will blame others for all problems or for the abuser’s own shortcomings. Someone is always out to get the abuser or is an obstacle to the abuser’s achievements. The victim or potential victim will be blamed for almost anything.
- Blames others for feelings
- An abuser will use feelings to manipulate the victim. Common phrases to look for: “You’re hurting me by not doing what I want.” “You control how I feel.”
- An abusive person is easily insulted, perceiving the slightest setbacks as personal attacks.
If you are in an abusive situation that you feel you can not safely leave, seek help.
*Tell Somebody. If you have covered it up for so long that it is hard for those around you to believe, tell it anyway.
*Contact a Domestic Violence Prevention Advocate or call the HotLine: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
*If you are monitored by your abuser go to the library or use a friends computer to view the Domestic Violence Website: http://www.thehotline.org/help/
*When you escape file a restraining order ASAP. The piece of paper cannot protect you from physical attacks, but if you are threatened or attacked and you have the piece of paper it can cause a quicker, easier conviction and jail time for your abuser. If you are killed by your abuser the restraining order points the police in the right direction.
*Attend meetings for survivors of domestic abuse. Swallow your pride and go to these meetings. Every city has domestic shelters and classes. They are free. I was court assigned to a 12 week course. It was mortifying at first because I did not view myself as “one of those women”. The class ultimately changed the course of my life by giving me information and tools to step away from patterns of abuse and victimization.
*If you are abused you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are not weak. You deserve your freedom and your own voice. Please leave the situation. You can do it. I did it.
It’s more thrilling than I could have imagined, especially after previous relationship missteps, disintegrations and heartbreaks.
I have heard it said that true love can often surprise you when you are not seeking anyone, and that has certainly been the case for me and the reason for my unexpected engagement.
Although I’ve known my new fiancé for a very long time, I had not ever truly recognized the importance of this person in my life, the fullness of their beauty, dedication to my well-being, strength in kindness, loyalty, ability to adapt to meet my needs and I certainly did not consider this person to be the one who would complete me as my other half.
As the proposal was happening I was filled with amazement, peace and a knowing that I deserved to be loved fully by this amazing, compassionate soul. This is someone who can forgive and even snicker with good nature at my shortcomings, encourage my growth and root for me under all circumstances… they’ve got my back.
On the frivolous and fun side of things, my true love enjoys ALL of the same things I revel in. We have the same eccentric style, music choices, decorating sensibilities, appreciation for art, adoration of nature and sense of humor. This person totally gets all of my jokes and laughs hysterically right along with me. Beyond that, I have never come across anyone who loves, admires and offers so much positive attention to my children. Even my mom is completely in awe of this person. It’s absolutely the most perfect match possible!
It’s been quite a journey getting to the place in my life where I can recognize true love, embrace it, and throw all caution to the wind, and so I would like to vibrantly proclaim, I ACCEPT YOUR LOVE AND I PROMISE TO COMMIT MY HEART, MIND AND SOUL TO YOU FOREVER!
Annetta Lucero, you complete Me. You are EVERYTHING I have ever needed and I feel so grateful to have found you. You are exactly what I have always deserved in my life and I am so excited to continue my journey with you by my side.
I AM committing to myself.
Do you know what frustrates me beyond reason and causes me to do and say irrational things I regret?
When a person I love leaves me and does not communicate often enough.
When somebody who is out of touch only communicates when they NEED something.
When that OTHER person is irritable, mean, short tempered, detached AND arrogant.
When SOMEBODY ELSE is a nit-picking NAG about tiny details EVERY day.
When THAT OTHER GUY, doesn’t turn out to be EVERYTHING I pretended they could be to fulfill ALL of MY expectations, needs, wounds, LACK OF LOVE, hang-ups, sorrows and feelings of abandonment… and I especially HATE IT when it turns out that when I experience any one of these UNBEARABLE, IRRITATING, HEART-CRUSHING traits, I am actually observing MY very own SELF in the MIRROR!!!
It seemed easier when I was blaming the other guy and I was flawless.
Alas, the reality is that I have recently come to the full awareness that the repeating cycles of neglect, abandonment and abuse in my life have been produced, directed and performed by none other than “The Amazing Lucero”— yep, that’s Me.
“Those whom we love and are emotionally attracted to, and those whom we are distressed or repelled by emotionally, are both mirrors of our own self. We are attracted to those people in whom we find traits that we have and want more of, and we are repelled by those in whom we find traits that we deny in ourselves.” ~Deepok Chopra
…and both the attraction and repellent can appear in those you are closest to, until you find the keys to heal your personal damage.
Because if you haven’t found healing for your own wounds, those gaping lacerations will angrily glare at you from the other side of the shiny, truthful piece of glass, they will convoke the love and scream in your face, “I TAKE IT BACK!”
I’m taking it ALL back and now YOU are once again abandoned, just as you already were, because you, Annetta Louise Lucero, haven’t found enough healing for those wounds, and I’m showing you how ugly and open they are as a favor to You… from Me… who is actually YOU.
Growth is EXHAUSTING!
Being stuck, however, without the courage to observe, receive, admit and reach further, is a far worse prospect. I can handle the stretch, the tears, the pain, the loss and the shocking truth because it all leads me to a shot at bringing a more developed Me to the next round.
I AM RESPONSIBLE for all of the qualities in myself that are reflected back to me by those who cross my path, whether it is a momentary meeting or a long term relationship. It’s all Me.
Do you know what heartens me beyond reason and causes me to do and say thoughtful things I am delighted by?
When I communicate well and often with the people who are important to me.
When I haven’t seen somebody for some time, and I remember to inquire if there is anything they need.
When I find a way out of my irritability, before I become mean, short tempered, detached AND arrogant.
When I catch myself being nit-picky, and I let go of the need to direct others, and instead chose to relax and release it.
When I turn out to be EVERYTHING I have created without expectations and I fulfill ALL of MY needs, wounds, LACK OF LOVE, hang-ups, sorrows and feelings of abandonment… and I especially LOVE IT when it turns out that when I experience any one of these UNBELIEVABLY IRRESISTIBLE, HEART-ENHANCING traits, I am actually observing MY very own SELF in the MIRROR!!!
Read Deepok Chopra’s short articles and lessons on Mirroring:
Lessons on Mirroring
My Name Is Ned
Selected Working Excerpts by Annetta Lucero
My mom dated a variety of losers, weirdo’s, underachievers and perverts who liked the way she looked in her cropped tops, hip huggers and way-too-short mini skirts.
Concerned for her well-being and lack of ability to pick a decent man, her sister Gloria stepped in by inviting us to attend church – a 4 Square, Christian church.
This was a new one for me.
One time previously, when left home alone, I had snuck in a little television watching when I was supposed to have been practicing. Bad idea. I tuned in to a television preacher who was terrifying! He was sweating, spitting and screaming about something called the “tribulation” and detailing the atrocious events that would surely befall humankind. After seeing this, I was wholly unable to control my nightmares!
Now here I was being ushered into the very place where the knowledge of these petrifying events originated. YIKES! I was not an average kid. I knew things and saw things that other people didn’t. I had not yet been diagnosed with epilepsy but I knew I was different.
My first day in Sunday school was uncomfortable. I just didn’t get it- how could all of these people be so happy about being sheep? They were actually joyously singing about being sheep. My mom, who has always had issues with self-confidence, was immediately sucked in. She has always believed she was unworthy of…well, everything, and so church was the perfect fit for her.
“Mom”, I mused, “they all like to be sheep.”
“Honey, this is the kind of stability we need,” she retorted.
I think my mom accepted Jesus in to her heart as her savior that very first day. She was gung ho immediately, and life would dramatically change for us within a few months time. From one extreme to the next, the theme of my life continued.
We faithfully attended church every Sunday and after a brief time period, Wednesday nights became part of our routine as well. This put a cramp in my regimen since I now had to fit in my twirling practice, accordion time AND boring sheep training!
One thing about Sunday school I did look forward to was the memory challenge. I discovered you could win prizes for memorizing scripture and answering Bible questions. PRIZES! In a brief amount of time I had become a virtual Biblical scholar. I won every challenge every week. I could spout out pages and pages of memorized scriptures at the drop of a hat. I became the biggest prize hoarder of all time. It didn’t matter what challenge was presented; I refused to lose.
After a while those scriptures started getting under my skin. I began feeling guilty about the things I did that were less than holy. I began modifying my thoughts and actions. It was almost entirely based on fear, but I must admit, I was becoming more aware of my behavior. These Bible scriptures were kind of like instructions on how to keep from burning to a crisp in hell. I decided it wasn’t so bad and figured it was better to pretend to be a sheep than end up as a human shish kabob.
My Name Is Ned
Selected Working Excerpts by Annetta Lucero
I am a baton twirler… Okay, stop yourself right there. I know you just conjured up an image of a smiling cheese-ball in a cheerleading costume marching in a parade. Do you really think that all of these hours of practice, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears I have been alluding to thus far are for the benefit of neighborhood parade attendees drinking beer and cheering on the local senior citizen garden club? PAALLLEEAASE!
I was born into a family of baton twirling nuts. I was raised and trained to live and breathe the sport of baton twirling. I am an elite dancer, and floor exercise gymnast. I can remember more routines, tricks, and series of movement than any math scholar on the planet. I am an athlete, artist and sports psychologist all wrapped up into one skinny, strong, baton-slinging body, and I’ve got big news for you: I am not alone.
For your quick education here is a short twirling glossary:
SPINS = The amount of pirouette turns your body completes under a tossed baton.
ROLLS = The tricks that roll on and around your shoulders, arms and neck. It looks like a magnet is holding the baton there as it twirls.
CONTACT MATERIAL = The super fast, low tossed, flips and whips that build speed in your routine.
BREAKS = Penalty! When the baton stops and jerks unintentionally rather than flows.
DROPS = Obvious. Go kill yourself now. You’ve lost and your mother is coming to beat you senseless.
Twirling was HUGE in the 70’s and 80’s. Competitions lasted for days and were so ferociously stacked with talent that any one of the top ten at Nationals could have been the champion. At the State championships my single age division boasted more than a hundred entries. Just to get to the final round you had to make it through several preliminary age cuts. The top three then moved on to compete against the top three from the other age divisions in that category.
For example, the Juvenile division was comprised of 9 to 11 year-olds. The top three 9 year-olds competed against top three 10, and top three 11 year-olds. THEN, the single champions from each Division would compete against one another for the Grand title.
In the end ONE Champion was left standing as the winner.
If you won Grand at Nationals you were truly a GOD. You were awarded the DIAMOND CUP (a monstrous trophy bejeweled with five real diamonds) and you were plastered on the cover of TWIRL Magazine! (Insert angelic chorus here)… and that was just USTA!
The United States twirling Association (USTA) has flourished since the 1960’s. It was a branch off of the other original twirling organization, the National Baton Twirling Association (NBTA). NBTA is a mega federation of countless twirlers. NBTA was less concerned about “technique” and more focused on speed, tricks and showmanship.
The two organizations were brutal enemies back in the day. It was political suicide to jump from one to the other and the style differences between the two organizations made it nearly impossible to win in both. Only one person had ever succeeded in capturing both Grand titles: Cathy Fujymi. You may bow humbly to the ground now.
Cathy Fujymi was the untouchable deity of my dreams. She lived in my imagination. She was real but I had never seen her. Cathy Fujymi was IT for me. My hero. My fantasy. My reason for daydreaming that one day I might, on a fluke, make the top 3 in my age division at State. My mom told me magnificent stories about her.
“She caught a 6 spin, split leap pull-out on the grass! She has a roll named after her, the Fugymi Roll!”
Nobody could ever be arrogant enough to think that the accomplishments of Cathy Fujymi could possibly be matched. To do that, somebody would have to be strong enough to bust through political boundaries, be ten times better than everybody else athletically, be persistent, confident, superior in every way . . . wow . . . I would have loved to been able to catch even a glimpse of someone like that. They would probably come from a great family with lots of money, they’d have beautiful costumes, a sparkling personality and they would definitely be trained by the perfect coach.
Anyhow . . . back to me.
My Name Is Ned
Selected Working Excerpts by Annetta Lucero
My yearlong sentence to the hell that was Rhode Island ended and my mom, cat and I once again conquered the highway and found our road home to Southern California. I enrolled in my former elementary school, reacquainted with my few friends and trudged forward with my practice regimen and now-tainted childhood existence.
My hair had grown out to a shaggy, who-gives-a-shit length and I can see from photos of that era I had a very haunted look in my eyes. It was a look that even a smile could not disguise. I was no longer a problem in school. I was more . . . invisible.
One day, while on our back patio grinding out my daily twirling routines, I heard the doorbell ring. This was unusual, as nobody ever visited.
I heard a man’s energetic, booming voice and my curiosity got the best of me. Peeking around the corner I saw a man in a funny, ill-fitting suit opening a big black case.
My mom, proclaiming her disinterest, was powerless to stop him. When he pulled out the contents from the mysterious case it was as if the heavens opened and I heard a chorus of angelic hosts lifting their voices just for me. I may have actually seen a giant sunray beaming through the front window, highlighting the most amazing treasure I had ever seen.
AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! My eyes actually lit up.
The cheesy salesman lifted the heavenly object to his chest, strapped it on and began playing a magnificent polka. That sealed the deal for me. Although I already had practice responsibilities beyond any average 9 year-old kid, I begged my mom to sign me up for the six-week, door-to-door accordion rental and lessons.
Did she give me the If-you-sign-up-you-will-stick-with-it-for-a-year-without-complaint speech? YES. Did she make sure I understood that I would practice this skill for a minimum of a half hour per day, everyday? YES. Did I tell her that I had found my calling in life, I couldn’t live without this divine instrument and I would become the most famous accordion player of all time? ABSOLUTELY.
And so it began.
I loved playing the accordion. I practiced more than my assigned time and I was quite a natural. The small, white, rented accordion was sufficient and I was satisfied with my blossoming music career.
During an outing to purchase sheet music I spotted something that obliterated my contentment. Displayed in a faux black alligator case was the largest, shiniest, most impressive accordion I could have ever imagined. Pearly, iridescent keys that spanned miles, so many black button chords I couldn’t even count them, so large, so beautiful . . . my eyes swirled like a cartoon character.
“MMOOOOOMMM!” I yelled through the store. “THIS is my LIFE! I MUST have it!”
My mom gazed at the atrocious instrument and with a lump in her throat she sadly stated, “Honey, this is $600. We just can’t afford it. EVER.”
Oh no! On the silent drive home my mind was racing. How can I get that king of accordions? There must be a way. I can be sold for child labor. No. How? How . . .
“MOM! I’ve got it!” I squealed with joy. “Christmas is only two months away and SANTA can bring it! Santa doesn’t have to pay for it!”
What an awesome idea! My world was complete again. I just had to wait two months and that magic man would deliver my dream-come-true right to my living room. Now my mom didn’t have to worry. After all, we received food stamps. $600 dollars in two months was more than her hard-earned paycheck could supply. Thank goodness I had Santa!
As the weeks rolled on, my conversation always found its way back to the beautiful accordion. I visited Santa in front of 7-Eleven and described in detail the gift he was to deliver. Knowing how special it was, I informed him I would hold no grudge if it was my only gift.
Things were going great for me.
For some reason my mom was working a tremendous amount of hours and I was able to cheat on my practice chart, completely bamboozling the babysitter who knew nothing about baton twirling. About a week before Christmas my mom sat me down for a serious talk.
“Ned, honey…is there anything else you can think of that you would like more than the accordion?”
Easy answer, “Not a chance.”
My mother blinked.
“Well, I know it is a big deal to you and I just don’t want you to be too disappointed. I think the elves may not be able to build the kind you want. It is very detailed and large.”
I was undaunted, though.
“Oh, don’t you worry mom. Santa will bring me the perfect accordion. I believe it.”
Christmas Eve was exciting. I couldn’t go to sleep. I lay in the hall facing the tree, waiting. I was determined to see how the hulking gift would be delivered. Of course, I eventually nodded off.
When morning came there was a giant gift, wrapped in the most beautiful paper I had ever seen. Even though I knew it would be there, I have never been so giddy. Tearing through the paper my heart was racing. Oh My Gosh! There it was. THERE IT WAS! It looked exactly like the one at the music store! Santa was the smartest, best, nicest, most generous, amazing guy EVER!
I couldn’t stop talking about how great he was! My mom was kind of tired, but had a satisfied look on her face. I tried to motivate her by giving her a lecture on the power of BELIEVING! Then I hammered out song after song in an effort to help her stay wide-awake all day!
My Name Is Ned
Selected Working Excerpts by Annetta Lucero
I am a believer in magic – the magic and hope in life. I have faith in the unexpected, life altering magic that appears right when it is needed. I never doubt that a new possibility is going to flourish at any moment. My mom gave me this gift of belief. One of the many ways she did this was through Santa Claus.
For me, Christmas was always the most amazing day of the year. Not only did I get material gifts and a visit from the Fat Man, it was the ONLY day of the year I had a “No Practice” pass!
Many children believe in Santa Claus, and many parents conjure up magical scenarios for their children to enjoy; but I have never come across any presentations more convincing than those concocted by my mother. My mom was not blind to the fact that we led a tough life. She knew I suffered in many ways. She was determined to push magic into my world . . . and she did.
The year we lived in Rhode Island was the worst year of my life and so I had many concerns as Christmas approached. Would Santa bring me anything? I had lied to everyone at school about my gender and beat most of my classmates to a pulp. I secretly wished horrible things would befall my creepy, mean cousin. I cursed like a truck driver and I cheated on my practice chart when my mom was unable to watch my every moment. These were unforgivable grievances in my mind and I was sure Santa would not be able to reward my existence.
Aside from my behavior I was terrified that even if he had some small token for me he would not be able to locate me in the tool shed for lack of proper address and I was certain there was no room on the roof for all eight reindeer. Restless and guilt-ridden I eventually fell asleep on that cold, snowy Christmas Eve.
Morning came and my stomach sunk with disappointment. As I had feared, Santa had bypassed my home. There was nothing in the tiny room where I slept. Nothing. As I sat on my bed, filled with remorse I heard my mom’s excited voice yelling from outside.
“Ned! Ned! Get out here right away! Oh my goodness! I can’t believe it! It’s amazing!”
I ran outside immediately and was astonished to see such a miracle. Our shed roof slanted drastically. Carved into the thick, icy snow were very obvious sled tracks! Sled tracks and reindeer hoof prints! Sled tracks, reindeer hoof prints and . . . could it be . . . lots of presents! Stuck in the snow, on the roof and surrounding the shed at various distances were loads and loads of presents!
Obviously Santa did have a difficult time delivering to my home. Although the reindeer could fly they had a hard time floating. Not all of them could fit on our roof, (as I had suspected), and the others simply could not float off the side long enough for a proper delivery! I was overjoyed! From agonizing disappointment to unimaginable joy…that was my life!
The real topper came as I moved along collecting the gifts. A bit of a distance down the road I saw a large, colorful package. I ran to it, snatched it up and couldn’t believe my good fortune. Written on the label was this: To Tommy, From Santa.
WHAT! Not only did I hit the mother load, this extra gift, meant for someone else, had fallen from Santa’s sleigh right into my grasp! HAHAHAHA! What a bonus! What a miracle! I was so grateful. I repented a thousand times over in my mind as I laughed and jumped and yelled. And then I had one quick thought for poor Tommy . . . “SCHMUCK!”
My Name Is Ned
Selected Working Excerpts by Annetta Lucero
I have experienced a lot of horror in my life. I am not sad. I am not bitter. I haven’t much self-pity regarding the harsh, unfortunate circumstances. I think it may have to do with the amount of love that I received as a counter balance to the evil.
My mom had many issues, including an explosive temper. I was beaten mercilessly on a regular basis. I was also loved beyond measure. In the end, the love has outweighed all else, though the volatile extremes have undoubtedly affected my choices in life. The mixed messages have also caused me to search, study and dissect my own behavior, leading me to a better understanding of myself and the pain of others.
I am grateful for the lessons I have learned through my suffering. I no longer accept abuse for myself but I have been given the gift of compassion towards those who lash out. Nobody deserves to be a victim of those who inflict hurt, not even the perpetrators themselves.