In My Other Life

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series: January Flashback
Originally Published February 2016

Have your ever asked yourself: who would I be, if I were a different kind of me?

In my other life …

I was not born to a sociopath. I did not look to his eyes for a twinkle of benevolent fatherly pride and discover instead a tragic glint of estranged malevolence.

I did not call him daddy.

In my other life …

I was not raised under the dark stormy sky of a dystopian society, ruled by a bi-polar disorder so paralyzing in her depressive state, so reckless in her moments of mania.

I did not call her mommy.

In my other life…

I do not have biologicals, and fosters, and adopteds—all in a struggle for a place in my world. To them, I am simply Renee, and I knew them all as: my family.

In my other life…

I am the mother of two grown children: both away at reputable colleges, happy and thriving in their academic careers; self -esteem rock solid from years of security, both emotional and financial.

They are worldly young adults (in the right way): well educated, well mannered, well traveled. But my children are sheltered (in the right way): socially young in regards to relationships, morally respectful with their bodies and the bodies of those they come in contact with; faithfully trustworthy.

Both understand the harsh realities of the world, but only through the eyes of someone who can make a difference. My kids are committed to their own higher power: and entity we refer to as LOVE.

My babies have become whole adults in a splintered world; a world constantly at odds with what I have taught them is good and right; existing in a universe of contradiction; a planet of seemingly insurmountable chaos, wars and evil—and fortunately, an international society of billions striving diligently for perpetual hope and love and peace. My children must now choose a side, daily.

In my other life …

my grown children always choose correctly.

I am mother who has remained steadfast and tenacious in her devotion to her offspring. I am a mother at peace for she is certain she has done all she can.

In my other life …

I would not have to drudge through three years of the “Death Divorce” to find an existence that feels, finally alive. I do not have an ex who hates me, who resents me, who will not speak  to me. I do not battle daily with myself to respond to his seething, flagrant disregard with patience, self-control and grace. I don not struggle with the profound truth: at one point, we liked each other enough to produce the two purest forms of beauty I have ever known.

In my other life …

I feel young inside and out, even at 50.

I don’t live in constant fear my kidneys will go on strike after decades (of just getting by) with faulty original parts. I would not look in my mirror and see spotty brown patches on my skin — like someone held a screen up to me, and flicked brown paint. I would not feel the weight of thick heavy wrinkles, like glossy quotation marks bracketing my eyes, accentuating my youth is gone.

I would see less of me, where there is now more. My eyes would focus clearly, on their own, both near and far away. My teeth would be white and straight. My gray hair would turn back to its original rich chestnut, with blonde streaks (in just the right places) and fall naturally on my shoulders, like it did when I was in my twenties.

I would be happier with my reflection. I would see what my daughter see’s when she looks at her mom.

In my other life…

I live in Manhattan, in an apartment that overlooks the lush green expansive park during the day, and a vision of glittery lights at night. I would throw fabulous parties. And provide cozy bedrooms for my kids when they visit. My son and I would attend the US Tennis Open every single year.

I would be committed in a delightfully mature and wonderfully passionate relationship, with a man that made me laugh. And dinner! He would ask me about my day as he kissed my neck. I’d kiss him back. Deeply.

In my other life …

my dog would be potty trained.

In my other life …

I would be known as a successful novelist, and inspirational speaker. If I had decided to follow my desire to act, I would win an Academy Award, and name it Oscar. Of course, I would dedicate it to my biological mother who (in one of her rare moments of clarity) would have held my young face in adoration, and convinced me, “One day you will be a star!”–and then, she’d place those stars far enough out of my reach, so I would have to STRETCH to get them. Because she loved me.

My other life …

I think about it, but none of that happened.

What’s important? What did happen along the way. In THIS life I found myself:

  • Raising two extraordinary high schoolers who choose to be part of the solution.
  • Embracing two families, both biological and adopted. More to love.
  • Feeling compassion for those suffering with mental illness, and those who love and suffer along with them.
  • Learning how difficult and trying divorce is. For everyone. Not just the children.
  • Understanding health is a gift, not a given.
  • Seeing beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Gonna embrace my own kind of beautiful.
  • Realizing I don’t need a NYC apartment. I have a lovely home now.
  • Knowing I should have said “No” when I was 24, and “Yes” when I was 25.
  • Hoping love, true love, will strike twice? If so, I won’t make the same mistake twice.
  • Getting that puddles happen. We care, in spite of their imperfections.
  • Working on: if not a successful novelist, maybe one day, the author of one great memoir?

This life; this ME I ended up being, is not the path I ever would have imagined, but it’s about perspective, gratitude, and seeing the blessings all around us already. Once you can do that, you can go anywhere from there.

Don’t you think?

I believe it to be. I have to believe it has to be.

Photo Credit: jeronimoooooooo via Compfight cc


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Renee DeMont

Renee DeMont is a SURVIVOR. She was born into poverty; spent much of her childhood homeless, living on the streets of Los Angeles, and in foster care. Renee learned early on: life is about adapting to adversity. The greatest gift she ever received? No one expected anything from her. By 18, she was ready to experience life on her own terms. First one in her family to attend college. After college, her focus and determination earned her a spot working at Paramount Studios, on the #1 show in television, "Cheers". At 29, Renee gave entrepreneurship a go and began a Biomedical engineering business out of her garage. Twenty years later, that risky venture grew into 8,000 square feet of success. She broke the cycle of poverty that plagued her family for generations. Recently, Renee turned fifty, filed for divorce (he declared WAR), and trudged through a debilitating nervous breakdown. Through therapy and writing, she reclaimed her sanity. Sold her half of the business to the ex, and now she has clarity and choices. Renee is personally and financially independent. With her new found freedom, she chooses to write in a sincere effort to reconcile her past with her present. Hopefully, through this cathartic process, the second half of her life will be led by her soul's desire, rather than by the fears and doubts of her first half. Currently, she lives in South Orange County with her teenage son and daughter, and her high maintenance yet lovable dog, Joe. Soon to be an empty nester, she plans to downsize the big house in the OC bubble, for a bigger life in the real world. Her days are spent gently launching her almost grown children into adulthood, and passionately penning her memoir. In the mean time, you can find her essays on pain, positivity, and empowerment at: onedropofgrace.blogspot.com

9 thoughts on “In My Other Life

  1. Becky Burns Reply

    Renee,

    As always, lovely writing. I am privileged to know some of your story and to see it unfolding. I love that our lives are entwined in the words that we share; your magical, lyrical story.

    Never stop!
    Becky

  2. Cami Ostman Reply

    Renee, I adore your writing and I’m so proud to be your cheerleader and coach as you give birth to your book. You are an inspiration both as a writer and as a human being. xoxo

  3. Mary Rowen Reply

    Incredible essay, Renee. I also believe that we need to be grateful for the blessings we have before we can progress. Sometimes that’s easier than others, but I try to do it every day.

  4. Jacqueline CioffaJacqueline Cioffa Reply

    Renee,

    I love the flowering way you have with words, even the harsh ones, and challenging backstory.
    Thank you for sharing ‘In My Other Life’…because sometimes dreams carry you through the harshest reality.

    Lovely, and welcome to Feminine Collective.

    Jackie

  5. Shanna DeMottShanna DeMott Reply

    Gorgeous! Insightful look at a life that could have been. I understand much of what you passionately pen here. It seems as if though the course of writing, you’re finding the true you. Keep up the great work!

  6. Dori OwenDori Owen Reply

    Renee,
    I loved your story and your style. I have no doubts that you will indeed publish a beautifully written book. Clearly, you are a natural writer with much to say. I do think yes–and believe it has to be. To me, it’s the only realistic, and hopeful, personal philosophy. It cannot have been easy for you to come to this conclusion after traveling your path. But you made it, yay to you!
    Dori
    P.S. I lived Behind the Orange Curtain in Laguna Beach for 20 years. I miss it something terrible!

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