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I am so proud and excited to be introducing you to a new podcaster who will begin with us in January 2020. Her name is Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, who is an NYC-based psychotherapist and author. Sherry will be creating SHERAPY, and you can read all about this right here on the website.
In keeping with the theme of awareness and finding the path to travel or detour in life, this nationally known psychotherapist will be sharing your stories with our listeners. Sometimes it is easier to be anonymous (faceless, nameless) when you begin to open up. I agree with Sherry; we must not be afraid of what we think our frailties are; instead, we must strengthen our inner selves to love life to the fullest.
If you have a story or want to share issues, please contact us here at newclevelandradio.net, and your information will be sent on to Sherry Amatenstein. You need not reveal any information to us other than a name and email so Sherry may connect with you.
2020 is going to be a big year for all of us at newclevelandradio.net, and you don’t need to be in Cleveland, Ohio, to become part of the big picture, your PORTRAIT!
You will soon get to know Amy Ferris if you don’t know her yet. I am her Goddess Sister, and she is Mine! She posted this on Facebook today and it is a reminder that life has detours, obstacles, and shit along the way but we can survive if we are compassionate, caring, and loving humans!
The Words of Amy Ferris – Please, bear with me.
Today is the anniversary of my dad’s death; 20 years today; November 2.
This is one of my very favorite pieces that I wrote about us, and in honor of him today, I share it again.
Every Saturday we took the Long Island Railroad from Bellmore to Manhattan. New York City. The train ride was about forty-eight minutes, station-to-station. At the candy store in Bellmore, he got a newspaper and a coffee with a little milk; and I would get chocolate milk. On the train, we would find seats – two together, side by side – and we would sip and he would read, and I would stare out the window watching the world swish by.
He had been arrested.
A bribery case – the United States vs… my Dad.
He didn’t expect to be caught. He didn’t expect to be arrested. We didn’t expect life to change. She didn’t expect to pawn all her jewelry. I didn’t expect to be bullied and harassed, and to have imaginary friends. We had never known that kind of fear and sad before, and now they had moved in with us, constant companions, tagging along where ever we went.
You don’t expect that kinda shit when you’re 8 years old.
He needed a job; to feed us, to pay the bills, the mortgage, the car, the clothes.
He got a job working at Melvin’s Frame Shop in the West 30’s. Or maybe it was the West 40’s. We would walk from Penn Station, the LIRR, to the shop. His friend, Murray, got him the job. Melvin was Murray’s cousin. Melvin made frames for Museums, and Art Gallery’s and was pretty well known in that world. Elaborate frames. Fancy frames – gold, and silver, huge frames. My dad was hired to sweep the floors, and clean the place. A janitor. He would sweep, and clean, and label frames, and organize things, and I would sit on the wooden table, my little-girl skinny legs dangling, and I’d watch – mesmerized – as my dad swept the wooden shavings from under the tables with a huge broom and dustpan. And Melvin would berate him, in an accent sprinkled with angry. “Sweep here. HERE. This. This. Here. THIS. This dust, and this sand, and these wood chips… and the mess… sweep, god-damn-it, sweep, you lazy man, can’t you see where you’re sweeping, Goddamnit?” And my dad would shrink right before me – right before my eyes. He would shrink, and disappear, and I was so scared he would disappear forever. He was a tall man – six foot one – but Melvin could make him disappear. Melvin had the same tattoos that Phyllis and Henry had. The same exact tattoos. I called them cartoons. I didn’t know what tattoos were. Numbers – like a telephone number – on their forearm. Melvin had the same tattoo as them. I knew about those numbers. I knew that Phyllis and Henry had lost both sets of parents. All four. They had burned to death in an oven. I knew that story. I had heard that story over family get-togethers, dinners. Incinerated, was the word used. I watched, witnessed, as Melvin spewed at my father. Goddamn you, you lazy man. And I would sit on the wooden worktable, my little skinny legs dangling, and watch my dad lose whatever faith he was clinging to while I was clinging to him. I wasn’t sure why he brought me with him on Saturday’s. Maybe he wanted me to know that he loved me. Maybe he was lonely. Maybe because it was a Saturday, and he never needed to work on Saturday’s, and that was our day. But our days were different before the arrest. They were filled with hope and possibility; museums and plays, and theater, and movies and Aunt Jemina pancakes. Maybe he needed to know that no matter what, no matter fucking what, I would love him. We would leave the Frame Shop right on the dot: Five O’clock, and we would walk down Broadway to Penn Station. Stopping at the automat. He would get a hot steaming cup of coffee, and I would get a milkshake. Chocolate. And we would sit at the counter, and I would watch my dad stare into his coffee, a million miles away. And I would make believe that I was a Princess from the Island of Long, and we were having a day out and no one – no one – could find us. I liked that game. And then, we would stand up, and almost on cue, we would both exhale, and then he would leave a tip, a few coins for the waitress behind the counter, and we would walk to the train station, a few blocks away, and climb down the stairs into the station, and find the track number, and go to the platform, and wait for our train, and the train would swish into the station, loud and steamy, and when the conductor said: all aboard – because back then they did – we stepped in, and found our seats, and I grabbed my dad’s hand and didn’t let go.
I didn’t let go.
And I could feel every bit of his sad and his unhappy and his burden and his disappointment and his humility and his anger and his disgrace and his embarrassment and his shame and his worry and his fear and his doubt entwined in my fingers. Our hands. I could feel it. And when I finally caught his eye – when he finally looked down at me – his little girl, his princess – my eyes were saying, you’re my hero, Daddy, you’re my hero. And I think maybe for a few seconds he believed me, and I think that maybe that gave him just a little more courage. A little more hope. At least enough courage and hope to get us home.
After months – day in, day out, day in – my dad was acquitted on a technicality. And our life came back, piece by broken chipped cracked piece. He stopped working at the frame shop and my mother stopped pawning her jewelry and I stopped having imaginary friends and we never, ever talked about that time.
It was taboo.
That huge, massive cluster of shame was hidden deep, tucked away, because that’s what you did back then – when something bad, awful, horrible happened – and it was swept under the wooden table along with all the wooden chips and all the dust and all the shavings; into corners and crevices and cracks and under rugs – hidden and buried deep.
Family, you can’t live without them, and sometimes you can’t live with them. The Norman Rockwell family portrait is just one vision of what most of us wishes our family looked like. However, the reality of life and our ever-growing global society often separates us from each other. It is not just the distance in miles; it also includes perceptual thinking. We no longer are living in small communities where we are governed by our family, following in the footsteps of dad, and maintaining the same traditions for decades. The baby boomer generation has been the catalyst in making some significant changes in the family, and some are for the good and others, well personally I am not sure.
I am the youngest of three children and growing up the distance in age as well as sexual orientation separated us. Being the female girl in a Jewish home, my mother had certain beliefs for me that did not pertain to my brothers. Although we were not a religious Jewish family there was still the underlying belief that the males (my brothers) were more important than I. Do not feel sorry for me because in no way was I abused or misused, but there were different expectations for each of us and even more so by birth order.
My older brother Gary was expected to be a shining example for his younger siblings, Joel and me, and when he chose to ruffle feathers, finding himself in the scheme of the things he took the brunt of may have felt like verbal abuse. Growing up in the 50s and 60s is nothing like it is growing up today. On the other hand my brother Joel, the middle child was encouraged to be the life of the party and shine his talent and brilliance where Gary and I may have lacked. As I look back now, this must have been a burden for him, as none of us are perfect. I, on the other hand, the baby and the girl was expected to be the princess (my Grandmother Jen labeled me that). When dressing up in pinafores and fancy girlie dresses I may have given the appearance of one, but I too was not the fairest in the land.
My brothers and I grew up as close as we could with the age gaps of 4 – 8 years. As young adults, we all lived in different states which meant that holiday time or Sunday dinners were not the traditional Rockwell Painting. When we did get together, we united as families do and occasionally had some rip-roaring conversations that certainly did not resemble the harmonious family. Yet, we created our own music despite some off-key tones, even my brother Joel couldn’t always engineer our voices melodically.
I love my brothers, and I cherish the times we have had, and hopefully, the future will provide us additional opportunities to break bread and celebrate like the one in the above painting. Today I celebrate my love and concern for my brother Joel. Despite the fact he says his eye surgery is fairly routine and only sounds disgusting, I pray for a full recovery. As families go, he had not shared this venture in life and only through a mutual friend did I learn of this event, happening as I write this out. Mother, father, brothers, and sisters too often assume that those of us who care need not be told about these minor (or major) situations. However, I believe when you are family by blood or adapted to be part of the circle, there is no need for secrets or protection. It is time to put any differences aside and come together even if it is not sitting at the family table together!
Believe in happiness. Life is a gift and what we do with each second is our choice. We must remember that in order to live in a cohesive environment we must respect others as well as ourselves. There is no complete solitude in the cosmos; we are uniquely engaging with life forms of various geniuses that we must be aware of and accommodate for the differences that can only make us stronger in our achievement of happiness.
Happiness is not just a mood with a smiling face, emoji. It is a state of mind that we allow ourselves to experience and share. It cannot be described as perfect or not; it is more like a choice to achieve satisfaction even on a grey and gloomy day. It is important to understand that we cannot depend on anyone or anything to provide joyfulness. We are the bearers of our own choices, and the results are defined by the path we take.
There is no right or wrong when we choose to live and achieve the best for ourselves while lighting the way for others to observe and follow if they wish. However, our path is not the only one that will lead forward; there are many forks in the road.
Which one will you travel?
I could blame Charlie Wiener for the fact that I am wide awake at 4:33 a.m., on a Sunday morning. However, it is because of Charlie that I am filled with the enthusiasm that life provides. I am cherishing his writings in, American Stories, just as I did in the sequel, Carrie Come to Me Smiling.
Like the character Kim, we all have lived a life that too often we look back on and say; it’s not enough; my existence means nothing. We may think that everyone is succeeding while we are barely capable to tread water. Our accomplishments whether little or big have been buried in the crevices of our brain and we do not acknowledge them. Instead for many of us, myself include, spelled in all CAPITAL LETTERS, wake up one day and ask is this LIFE?
Sadly for some, they run away from all that they have created, accomplished, and achieved, and try to start anew. The truth is we cannot run away from ourselves, but we can learn from the past and remold ourselves. We, you and I are the designers of this moment in time. Nothing will change for the better or worse unless we mold the clay, pick up a paintbrush and add some color to the landscape or sketch out the inner feelings that may be holding us back from appreciating the beauty of life.
Some people wait until an event in their life rings a bell and allows the freedom to choose. The bell may be a lottery winning or a diagnosis of what we may refer to as “ill”-fate. The reality is a lottery winning may cause other ill-fated issues, whereas a diagnosis of dying is something we all live with from the moment we are born. For some the end comes sooner than for others, but, it is up to each of us to make the most of each day and to not squander it away.
Our world is filled with books that tell stories some are fictional others are based on facts, research, and emotional concepts. Reading can provide us with inspiration and a road map. The road map is not going to be a straight line; it will have curves and ups and downs and detours as well as roadblocks. However, it is up to us as the intelligent life form to find our way, not allowing the walls to close in on us.
Kim, the character in American Stories is on a path collecting stories, and although the strangers she meets are as different from her as night is to day, there is a commonality. The commonality is that we are all trying to find, the comfort of peace within ourselves so we may enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. This is what empowers me to share my journey with you and to create a platform where we come together as different individuals finding our sameness. Charlie has captured my soul in his writing; I feel as if he is writing about me as well as you!
Empower yourself to live. It is Sunday, February 24th, 2019, do not waste another minute. My dear friend, Norman Tischler lived life to the fullest. The riches he recently left behind are the people whom he touched, whether with his music, his words, a bear hug, or just a look that said, “I love you!” I now belong to a world of strangers who are friends by association and the enthusiasm of being part of the story!
If you leave in Cleveland, Ohio or any other Midwest or Northern state having a snowstorm is not unusual this time of year. It’s funny, growing up in Detroit, Michigan, we had a lot of snow in the winter. much more than what we have today, and yet we never stopped. But many of us here are hunkered down. My Beetle will not make it out of the garage the snow is so deep, and my condo sub-division has no idea when we will get plowed. Alex’s car is under siege by the snow, and there is a layer of ice under the snow. I guess back in the day we had warmer clothing, studs on our tires and a STUDDLY BURLY guy in our home or down the block who was always available and able to shovel someone out. I’m not complaining but sharing how soft so many of us have become, myself included.
Four years ago I fell on the ice during the winter and broke my femur requiring surgery and two weeks in rehab. I refuse to put myself in that same position. Therefore I am willing to be soft! But with softness comes empowerment and my theme for today is empowering myself to accept what is! When we empowered we give ourselves the opportunity to become stronger and more confident in our choices. For me, I am making choices that make me happy without contributing to someone else’s unhappiness.
A special thanks to Candace Pollock of the Intentionality Gurus, Candace has guided me through her bi-weekly podcast with newclevelandradio.net to listen to my overactive brain and allow my heart and soul to respond, if necessary. The words, “if necessary” is my personal mantra, not everything is necessary just because my thoughts dictate it at the moment.[i]
Katie the Carlady soon to be podcasting with newclevelandradio.net. Katie will be bringing coffee and cars to our venue. Katie’s backstory has been a journey that has led her to be an influential individual for many, and many of those individuals may never have met her. She is full of energy and brings out the best in others. I have only known Katie for a year, and yet I am mesmerized by her. For the first time in my life I am not wishing to be her, but to capture her dynamism and light my drive.
CANCER SUCKS, and I hope I will never have to experience the cobblestone path Melinda has traveled. However, she brightens my smile and my approach to health and wellness. Melinda posts Facebook Live moments regarding the “Heart Mojo,” the spirit and words she will share in her upcoming podcasts in February! Melinda as well as Katie, and Candace will be joining me in a new venture that kicks off this Wednesday night.
Please join us, Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019, at Vista Springs, Greenbriar, in Parma, Ohio. We will be hosting a Meet & Greet for women and men that have a story (personal journey) to share that will enlighten the lives of others. It’s time for each one of us to shed the angst from the fall out around us and seek a path that will allow us to live with heart. We must let our heart and soul fill our brain with the peace and lightness we all deserve. Please feel free to join us at 6 pm – 8:30 pm where Vista Springs will host the event, bringing us together for the “Empowerment Journey.”
The “Empowerment Journey,” this is your chance to share, learn, and be the person you want to be.
[i] (https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-intentionality-gurus-with-candace-2018) & (https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-intentionality-gurus-candace-2019)