Tag Archives: manya




Little children usually have a “manya” as we call it in my family. A security blanket, a stuffed lil animal creature, or some other colourful character, that they hold especially close and grip tightly with their little hands,  when they are feeling unsafe or frightened.  This is a good thing. 

When I “grew up” and became a Mom of my own child, I grabbed my refuge in “worry and dread” who became my new best friends for life. A soft little creature with a happy face looking up at me, would have been a much healthier choice.  I had good reason, of course. I became a single Mom unexpectedly. I had an irresponsible rascal, at the time for my child’s Daddy. The list goes on. Never the less….I was losing my soul. No one seemed to be doing what they were “expected” to do, and I was becoming a full time expert on what was best for everyone’s life….but my own.  My life was certainly at the very least…unmanageable, but I KNEW, if I could just MAKE the two men in my life responsible….my life would work! 

Fast forward to my son being a young adult. Handsome and charming as they come. I hoped and I hoped his talents and personality would overcome this big invisible black cloud that now came for him. This Deity that was turning him into something I could not name, but was making me crazy trying to control . I felt like a blind child in a dark forest, pleading for the light to shine thru  my wild,tear stained hands, madly waving for help from anyone, anywhere….a lost ship in the night,feeling we would both sink if we could not find a way out of this darkness. I consulted, with frequent terror, my two best friends, “worry and dread”, but they only made  for sleepless nights and worthless pleadings and bargaining chips that swallowed up what little dignity was left in each of our souls. Things  got much worse for both of us.  The time had come where  Truth was  finally about to exhale and burst forth the most fearful of thunder and lightening storms I had ever known.

It was February 28th Thursday. The Leap Year month. My Birthday Month. It was a gloomy  winter day’s  in San Diego, and my little boy was getting on a plane to Florida to go to DETOX. Would he make it on to that second plane? Would he instead…change his mind and drink his way back onto the streets or worse? Worry and Dread were pounding away in my head. I will always remember  getting that phone call from “Mike”. “I have your boy and he is safe now.” I fell to my knees sobbing with glistening streams of hope and thankfulness. 

 Those days before Detox,he spent five days at my home.  Had to drink tall Coors Lite Beer the moment upon awakening to just feel undreadful. We walked the streets, putting his life in boxes and  my tears in my sleeve. Closing up his music studio was pretty emotional for us both. I prayed for him on my knees at the foot of his bed. I wept. For Gratitude. My son was alive. He made many crying confessions to me. His turmoils came tumbling out of his tear stained face like marbles rolling out of a glass jar and scrambling to find shelter. He was not covered up any more.  He grabbed on to his “Manya” and for those moments….his Manya was his Mama.

I never thought in my wildest fears I would have detox,rehab,sober house, dual diagnosis, relapse…be part of my everyday vocabulary. Terror ran thru my bones as this was territory I had never traversed…but hope rang in my heart and I held on tight to that one. 

I found my way back into the 12 step meetings. This time it was Alinon. I had been to them all, for I had many an “Alcoholic” in my life, but NEVER (never say never! ) thought I would be back because my son was an addict. After all I had  “educated” him about this very thing!  Ha!  So you think you go to ALinon because of the addict in your life, and you soon discover that YOU are a big part of the problem!  And you have your own disease!  Mine was being a “helicopter”  “Worry and Dread” Mom.  Now I have tools. I have people who know what I am feeling. I have people who know what a dangerous neighborhood my brain can be…with the thoughts and “fix it” attitudes that “catastophize” all situations whether they “need it” or not. 

There was a relapse. It even involved racing to the emergency room, and then detox for the second time. His choice. I did not lash out. I did not scold. I did not even cry (until after…new for me!). I prayed. I had compassion. I listened. The more I listened…the more he gave. The more I listened….the more he talked of his pain. The more I let him have his dignity…the more he thanked me for being there and loving him.

I have had some big tests. I was going on a big trip that I was really looking forward to, the nite I discovered he was drinking again after 6 months of sobriety. I stayed with him which meant I was up all night and travelled on 3 planes all the next day. I MADE that choice. It was not done to me. I am no longer a victim and he no longer has to feel guilty because of me.  He has taken up boxing. He loves it. He looks marvelous. He is learning. We are BOTH getting better.

 Sometimes I have slight regret. IF only…..the “If only’s…..” set in. But it passes fast. Because I know if I could have NOT been a helicopter Mom back when he was little and bad things DID happen…..I WOULD have done things differently.  I think we can’t help but wound our children in some ways no matter how hard we try. We are not PERFECT little human beings. As Oprah says….”When you know better…..you do better.”  My son knows now where to go if he gets in trouble with himself again. He has worked hard on himself and he continues to, and I see it. The light is back in his eyes and his smile and he has a musical lilt to his step. I pray every day for his continued sobriety, success, health and happiness. I now know it is HIS Journey. I cannot do it for him. ANd that is REALLY SO RELIEVING!  I need to focus on my own life and my own dreams that I still have passion for. The more I respect myself and do what I love, the better it is for him. 

I was travelling up to the third floor in the elevator the other nite, and as the doors opened, I saw this strapping young man standing there. Full of smiles. He literally glistened in the moonlight. I thought to myself….”Oh, how nice! Another handsome young boy moving in here”.  I said a polite hello, and went to step out of the elevator when I saw his outstretched arms and realized it was my son!!!!  “Hi Mama!” He said as he grabbed me for a big hug!  I was apalled that I didn’t know it was him at first!  That has NEVER happened in our whole lives that I didn’t recognize him. The puzzlement stayed with me all week. Then yesterday at a meeting it hit me.  I was very busy with my judgements, my blame, my fears about his behaviors that were so scary and life threatening as this is a very deadly disease, that he “LOOKED” different to me all these months. He LOOKED like my fears….he LOOKED like other people who I have felt have hurt me in the past. The moonlit night at the elevator I saw HIM. His soul. His glory. His everything. The good, the bad, the ugly…the truth. I saw ALL of him. And I loved ALL of him and all of Me. We are Glistening.


Buried Treasure


       It is late night on a Saturday. I find myself driving home from work, listening to “Gymnopedies”, feeling very contemplative. There is some kind of mournful joy about this classical piece that always brings me some strange, bewildering kind of peace. It’s like my “Manya” …my security blanket when I was a little kid. I feel safe and comforted. Everything, is going to be ok. 

Well. Since I moved to California, 17 months ago, I have been on this secret mission of uncovering the truth about who I really am. I thought I moved here for a whole different reason.  I was wrong. I have been “forced” to discover  what I am made of. What I have been running from. I went from a high profile kind of  career to an almost invisible “worker” on what many people would call, the low totem pole of life. My “self” has been coming out “sideways” with a vengeance. It apparently is safe for me here in my beloved California to finally reach deep within and discover, my “buried treasure.” I have wanted to come back to my California…ever since I left…almost like a forlorn love affair, I have been carrying on with for years….a secret, wistful affair of the heart.

It’s really all I can do to work this simple, mostly physical kind of job. The rest of my life is putting a very scattered, tattered, yet beautiful puzzle together. Finding pieces on the ground…not knowing where they go…then, BOOM!  It’s all of a sudden very painfully obvious where they belong. I have awakened from a dream of denial…. A sleeping beauty Diva of sorts….

I have been following Whitney Houston’s death, as if it were my own. I am driven and compelled and there is no use trying to fight it.   Of course, it didn’t help matters (except to make it really eerie for me)….that she went to be with God, on my Birthday this year. The stages I have sung on had maybe 500 people at most and I remember the terrifying feelings…the burden, as Kevin Costner so elequently put it…the burden of trying to hold all the questions…”Will they like me? ” Will I remember the words?”   “Will I be able to be myself in such a surrealistic experience?” I’m very small potatoes compared to the things she has experienced. And then to have such a golden voice, and feel that you lost it…..I cannot even imagine the angst and the fears, and so much more.

There were many things in my life when I was younger that took my attention away from developing my many talents that God so graciously gave me. I feel that I am at a very special time in my life  now, in that, I am re discovering my buried treasure. The treasure that is me. The hopes and dreams that got buried inside because of my circumstances and the choices I made, many of which were to merely survive what just happened. Bury it and move on. That was my motto….and “Make sure you leave skid marks on the way out…”

I was in deep despair a few months ago,  and a very close friend asked me…”Why am I the keeper of your secret?” Why aren’t you sharing this with the other people who love you?  Well I am lucky enough….to have those people. “My people” will walk thru fire for me….but they need to know that I am in danger. It has always always been so hard for me….to ask for help when I am in trouble…when I don’t know where to turn or what just even happened. I am one of the lucky ones tho. I am learning how. Did Whitney know how? Did Michael? Did Janis?  So so many more…..Is it really “easier” to become intimate with our drug of choice…than a human being?  Sometimes it is. Sometimes just getting some moments of relief….a night….a week …a life time.

But there is nothing better than discovering buried treasure!  You know when you were little and you found some wonderful thing in the sand while you were building your sand castles….well I think we are all diamonds in the rough. We are all “beauties”. There is not another “me ” on this earth right now, nor is there another you!  Whitney was a true pure diamond. She knew it for some of her life. For some of her life, she did not. We all need to build each other up. “Acknowledgement is the hallmark of success” says Charlie Chaplin. Entertainers in my opinion, are one of the most giving kind of humans on earth. The show must go on no matter what….and there are always ….alot of “no matter whats”. People have “performed” under the most dire of circumstances, and it can ironically be a very lonely experience.

Whitney is now, as of today….a buried treasure. I will never know why it all went down the way it did for her. I will never know the agonies that her  close family and loved ones must now endure with her being gone out of there lives, just like that! ….I know she sang like no one I have ever heard. I know that she loved deeply and she was loved deeply. I am left with much sadness that her “light” has travelled on.  She died on the day I was born into this world. She has inspired me to find all the rest of the pieces of my puzzle so that the rest of my life will shine. It will no longer be clouded and shrouded over by past misdeeds of others….I don’t have to run anymore.  I’m almost done with finding my own buried treasures: My hopes as a child, my dreams as an adolescent. My dreams right now.

Whitney knew it was never too late….she was beginning anew. She was getting ready to “Sparkle” once again. She had started to look at her buried treasures. I just wish the lights could have stayed on a little longer for her. We all must carry on the torch, by trying with all our might, to be true to who we are. Who we really are. The ceremony that her Mother prepared for her today was four hours of pure, deep, music and emotion and moving words of honor and grace and diamonds for Whitney Elizabeth Houston. I hope all of her demons are finally laid to rest, and I hope that we can all now have the courage to bring forth our own  buried treasures, and leave the demons behind, where they belong.

Let’s “all shine on…like the moon, the stars, and the sun.”  I will miss that “Golden Voice” and the big treasured  ball of light  that tried so vehemently to shine amidst the turbulent seas of self doubt.