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Help, I’ve Lost My Big Girl Pants

21 Aug

There are many a thing I’d like to be more consistent about in my life. For instance, exercise–I would love to up my personal discipline to include a daily walk, on incline terrain, or a bike ride. Right now I’m maybe hitting that goal 3x’s per week, which means my waistline is nearing extinction. Another area of nagging thought, is to write my blog posts (this forum) more consistently, even if just to state something small of value (subjective I know). Both of these inconsistencies in my life are part of my personal goals. They matter to me, therefore they matter. I don’t have a following that requires I write, but I would like my creative writing skills to get more of a work out. And on that note, I honestly just feel better in the land of the living when my physicality is ready to support my shenanigans. So exercise to keep muscles strong gets “goal real estate.” And though tonight my walk and/or bike ride fell off the table of options, I still have just enough juice in my brain to attempt a post–sans my reading glasses (they are in the other room and I dare not loose steam in writing by getting up from this captured moment), so please forgive any blindness errors in typing.

This past week my siblings and I were affected by the sudden death of the husband of a childhood friend. Her husband was only 51 years young and leaves, in addition to his wife, two young girls. Just like that, life as it has been known, shifts. I understand this foundational movement, it’s like the tectonic plates of our lives slip and the tidal wave of change hits at every level. It is stifling! Now not everything I do or think is underpinned with loss, but truly loss lives within me and the effects of it are an underlying reality. So when news hits, such that came last week, those of us carrying the heavy burden already can empathize with those new to the experience. And in empathy there is pain. And in pain, there is exhaustion. And in exhaustion is where I loose my big girl pants.

Big girl pants, or the expression rather, is the notion of higher ground. For the most part it is where I live mentally–a place where I filter my thoughts through the lens of what matters here on earth to our loving creator. I like higher ground, it is a kinder place to be. There is less judgment of others there. There is less time for offense there. Higher ground has the scope of view that understands multiple perspectives, compassion for those unable to see at that same level, and honestly a bit more “brain peace” (quotations used to relay my own creation of term(s)). Aaahhh–brain peace, that is the stuff I enjoy most. Brain peace is when I can hit the pillow and rejoice in a guilt free, regret free environment. And yet, brain peace is not devoid improved planning, constructive corrections, nor even introspective considerations. It’s not ignorant to local, national and global issues. Brain peace knows pain, but not shame. Brain peace helps soothe the aching soul. I like brain peace!

However, last week upon learning the news of loss, the higher ground of which I seek took a dive and I got caught bare-side blank. Yep, my big girl pants were lost and my ass laid bare! What ensued was a mess; seeing the petty faults in others, feeling irritated by being slighted, complaining about circumstances around me and feeling sorry for all the tales of woe I could conjure up. I did catch on to the fact that I was my own problem, not the everything else to which I had ascribed the blame. Even so, I had to suffer through some rough nights devoid brain peace as I wrestled with my angst. Now please know, I didn’t mention the death earlier on so as to have justifiable cause to deviate into low-level thinking. I share the news because of its relevance. Loss is an ongoing antagonist. I carry on in life but still with the weight of loss upon me. Yes, soul muscles get strengthened in time, but the burden is still being carried. It is a very real thing and when a tragedy hits close to home, or close to those we love, our own grief is right there ready to claim its rightful ownership of mind, soul, heart and body. In plain English, we get worn down–I get worn down. And in that place of mental and physical tiredness, I get bugged.

Now the good news is I did find my big girl pants. Of course I knew I would, it was just a matter of time. And even though I played a game of mental ping-pong with reluctancy while searching for them, not only did I find them, I opted to put them back on. Whew! Moving into this mid-week mindset my recovery report still shows quasi progress. I’m not at full altitude but the ascent is in motion. The higher ground beckons, the panties secure.

I will say, in all of this mumbo jumbo of a blog post, I do wish one thing…to have all people wear grown up pants and consider kindness before other options. But for now I will satisfy myself in trying to keep mine on, which makes enduring the naked a truly attainable goal.

Vintage Floral Pants

BentRivka Big Girl Pants



Today I Laughed

7 Dec

I am not typically a girl who likes to use certain four-letter words.  But you know what?  I have found that under certain terms and conditions, the F-word is of best service.  For instance, this morning I awoke with the heaviness of the “ache” of sorrow upon my soul.  And to help myself from crumbling under its weight, I proactively began attacking chores such as cleaning in and around the house (a nice distraction to getting my bills paid).  The unsuspecting cabinet that fell under my need to clean was the swimming pool “stuff” and beach bag cupboard.  Now that’s a pretty benign cleaning adventure…or so I thought.  Expired sunscreen, trashed.  Old sun hat whose elastic band has expanded, trashed.  Frida Kahlo and Deery Lou beach bags, saved!  I do believe you are getting the picture, or are you?  Waterproof, adjustable sunhat worn by my son during his Boy Scout adventures…saved.  The ache upon my soul moves to the gut–stay ye down oh breakfast of mine–clean Rivka, clean.  Sifting out the swimmers ear drops–the half used bottles, and organizing the ear plugs and wax, I came upon a prescription bottle.  My first thought, “oh this must be an old prescription belonging to Buddy the dog.”  I picked it up and read the name, Cole Bent.  What?  What is a prescription of Cole doing hiding in the swimming pool auxiliary pile?  Then I read the prescription, Gabapentin, and the memories flooded in hard–the adverse effects this “hopeful drug” set upon the soul of my suffering son.  The brain is such a complex entity and because his was so intruded upon with not only the tumor, but the hemorrhage and then surgery, he suffered unknown pain in severity.  The team of specialists had hoped Gabapentin would be the cure-all medication that would quell the rogue messages of the brain.  Nope, on the contrary my dear Watson…it sent him into a downward spiral, falling fast into despair.  Well I will spare you the details of the dramatic trauma of that week as our family, doctors and close friends rallied to keep Cole from succumbing to the medicinally induced disdain of life.  But I will share that this morning as I held that bottle in hand, and instantly was transported back to that time (coincidentally also in December), the only word that could honestly assist me in the moment contained four letters, none of which resemble anything close to eloquence but fitting to the occasion just the same.  …I must have put that bottle up in the cabinet so that it could not be found, at least that’s my best guess.

Our family has several of these “little moments” frequently.  We miss our Cole so very much.  How do you cut off an integral member of the unit and not lament the absence?  Their void is felt at every turn.  In fact, at this time of Christmas we are faced with the dilemma of the Christmas Tree.  The tradition in our family which not even the Marine Corp and their intrusive orders prevented from happening.  In fact, it is only the transfer of Cole to Heaven that has impeded upon the Bent family Christmas tree tradition.  For 22 years, Cole was a part of picking out the tree with Brian (and sometimes me) and then we would put on Vince Guaraldi’s Christmas and decorate the tannenbaum together.  When Esther entered the picture, it became the tradition of the 3 with mom (me) waiting at home (mostly because the truck sits three people).  Well last year, our first Christmas without our beloved son and brother, we ran away to Disney World in Florida.  It turned out to be a good choice for us.  But this year, with Esther being in college and the need to be fiscally conservative, we are having to stay home.  So yesterday as I was, again suppressing the guttural pain of loss as I passed by many a Christmas tree lot, I announced to Brian, “We can decorate for Christmas but we cannot have a tree!”  He looked at me quizzically until his eyes met mine, at which time he understood perfectly–No Cole, no tree!

Now not every day is full of inescapable pain, though the loss of our Cole is a constant upon us.  In fact, during the Thanksgiving holiday we had quite a few opportunities to deviate to other emotions.  For instance, when the oven caught on fire and the flames continued to grow as the chefs du cuisine were standing around watching the inferno rise, I’m pretty sure I tapped into the irritation and almost-panicked set of emotional responses.  And then next day, post the firestorm, when sitting around the kitchen table playing a board game with family, my brother-in-law and I were tripped off by some nonsense, sending both of us into a 10 minute state of hysteria.  The first time I have laughed, truly laughed, since before Cole’s passing.

It hit me in the moment, while I was listening to the joyous sound of my own laughter, that I was laughing.  It is really tough to explain on paper, which is why the previous sentence seems ill constructed.  But truly I had forgotten the sound of my own elation, and for a 10 minute window on Black Friday, I was given the gift of remembering…

In the remembrance, buried under the surface of the expressed emotion, is hope found.  Perhaps just a glimmer, but enough to be considered of value.  And because of that moment of joyful intervention, when I announced to Brian the “no Christmas tree” policy, the little voice of hope was simultaneously reminding me that one day, perhaps if we are blessed with a grandchild (or children) who need the policy overruled and a new tradition instated, a Christmas tree will return to the Bent house for a new round of memory making and joy.


rivka bent

“smile though your heart is aching…”


A Man, a Woman and a Dog

10 Oct

My personal Tedx

I love women.  I also love men.  I do not believe I have the right to govern over the organs of either gender.  I believe that the decisions a person makes regarding their organs are between the person and God.  And if a person does not believe in God, I believe that too is between that person and God.  I don’t believe hair should grow out from a mans ears, but hair keeps growing.  I’d like not to believe in the wind, but regardless of my intent to hold that belief in truth, the wind keeps blowing.  Disregarding the Creator no more casts the Spirit aside than my own aforementioned fancies sway the hair growth and weather patterns.  I believe my stated opinions are valueless and in no way hold supremacy or even honor that which is supreme.  They are my own statements and journey, and should be accounted as such.

I don’t know why, for so many years, women have been subjugated while men (in general) have not.  I don’t believe to liberate one is to incarcerate the other.  I don’t understand why we state we are a free society when truly all people are not free.  I don’t understand how I can claim a human right for myself and disregard it for another.  I have long wondered, given the history of human beings and their destructive ways, how-on-earth we apply (in the English language) the word “humane” as a positive term.

Where is this questioning coming from? One may ask.  Rivka, why are you going on and on in this way?  What’s your point?  Well, if you are thinking such things, I will explain.  First off, I am a filthy rotten sinner and in need of redemption.  Thankfully I have been redeemed through the blood of the lamb.  With that said, my introspections are result of understanding the darkness within.  If I deny my own inner turmoil then I am nothing short of a liar.  And as I navigate my way through the many messes upon our global society (ISIS, DV, Economic Crisis, political rule, etc.) I cannot fathom the contemplations without first honoring the human struggle at the core of my own being.

The other day, while driving on the I5 freeway (let me just say that the “I” in the I5 equation stands for “Interstate”) clipping along at my normal rapid rate which is typically 15 miles per hour Over the posted speed limit, I spied a woman, a man and a dog walking on the shoulder of this rapid thoroughfare.  The man and woman each pushed their own metal shopping cart (borrowed no doubt from an unsuspecting grocer) with what looked like all of their earthly possessions in tow.  The dog ambled on his own, alongside his human counterparts.  And as these three living beings steadfastly moved forward amongst the speedway just inches to their left, their untold story festered in my mind.  Their plight ignites my interrogations.  Their fortitude, in obvious adversity, nods to the innate character of man (humans).  Their journey became my puzzle.

Connected to the “I5 Three” are the rights each of us is given in this United States of America, rights which have not been wholly honored on the majority level.  As stated in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I found myself thinking (and rightfully easing up on the accelerator pedal) that the I5 Three were in the same pursuit as myself, though theirs was on foot while I was in vehicle.  I no more deserve the pursuit than they do, just as I no more have the right to take it away from them nor they from me–not here in the U.S.A.  After all, we are not under totalitarianism rule.  And, as human beings, we are in this lot together.  I then quickly move from the brave ambulating strangers to the idea of Rights.  Rights for us all and how women (in general) have been in a consistent struggle, through the ages, to have those unalienable Rights bestowed them.  And through the process and rapidity in which the thoughts disperse within my being, I move quickly to the place of considering how to impact our world so my potential granddaughters are ensured the same consideration as my potential grandsons.  And why, in the first place, is it so tough for people to extend the courtesy of their own freedoms to that of another?

I am grateful to know my Creator.  I am grateful for the teachings of Jesus.  I am grateful that while upon earth The Christ exampled equality to both genders and showed love with impartiality.  I cling to the words of Jesus as stated in scripture, also known as “The Golden Rule” (paraphrased) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Jesus himself was a champion for women and all people.  He lovingly gave us the right to choose–even if the choice made is apart from him.  So why today, in our supposedly westernized civilization, are we still politicizing the female and lording over that particular sex?  Why are some disempowered still by the lack of a Y chromosome?  Why are we wanting to rule over others and by doing so strip them of the same opportunities we are allowed to aspire to?

While I cannot answer the immensity of the questions posed, I can consider them at a level within my reach.  I can start with me.  I avow to pioneer for equality for women as well as pioneer for equality for men.  I will not take on one, without also tending to the other.  However, I will not stand by and quietly allow the rights of a woman to be disregarded while the rights of a man are not.  I will not align myself to “men haters” as that agenda is counterintuitive to the cause.  And I will not stand by and be silent, nor align myself with hypocrisy, within this nation I call home.

October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” my post is in honor of subjugated women around the globe.

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