Tag: freedom



8 July 2018

This has been a full, and rather exhausting, week for me. Most of my focus was on Duke as his time with me dwindles. I am still trying to play catch up on sleep and getting my body to adjust to a real bed, after spending a week in New York. We also had July 4 in the middle of the week.

The holiday was different: quiet and low key. It was kind of nice. What wasn’t nice was that my allergies didn’t cooperate and I spent most of the day sleeping.

I spent my waking hours thinking about what independence means.

I’ve spent July 4 watching fireworks from Mount Rushmore and from the Mall in Washington, D.C. Haven’t made it to Boston for the 4th, and I am thinking I will add it to my list.

I have also been in Philadelphia on the same day when the Declaration of Independence was read to the public in (July 8,1776). The park rangers dressed up in colonial costumes, re-enacting characters from America and Britain. The banter between the citizens and those whose loyalty remained with the England throne was entertaining.

I have walked the Freedom Trail ln Boston numerous times as a child and as an adult.

I was born and raised in a state, one of the original 13 colonies, and NY is just as rich in history as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. My ancestors came over to America through Ellis Island.

We are part of different heritages, cultures, beliefs, and so much more. We all come from somewhere. It’s one of the best parts of being a U.S. citizen. I have been all over Europe, in parts of Asia and the Middle East to appreciate what it means to be an American while appreciating the culture of any place I visit.

More importantly, independence meant true freedom for me in 2018. I became a free individual on March 1; I no longer had to communicate with my ex-husband. I was out of the house, he had the key, and I officially moved on. Even after the divorce was finalized, I had to report any major repairs while still living In the house, and his narcissistic behaviors kept me from saving money for five extra months.

I’ve heard he’s no longer with the Norwegian whore, and has moved on to another woman; his next supply and her problem. He can’t stop. He hasn’t had time to digest everything he did. However, narcissists won’t ever take responsibility; they’ll blame someone else, and I was blamed for so many things throughout the 16 years we were together and 14 years of marriage.

The best part now is I don’t care. I don’t have to care because it is not in my best interest, isn’t healthy for me, and is not part of my self-care program. I went no contact for a reason.

I have the freedom to beamcome more of a person I’ve always been, and have been having fun in the re-discovery phase. I was never in the re-creation because there were moments in my marriage where I took some of my independence to claim “Karen days,” just so I could have time to myself since I was expected to raise his children.

I don’t have to coordinate schedules and vacations. I don’t have to listen to being told no, I can’t do something…which is one reason why I’m taking myself to Disneyland Paris this year since I get to be in Europe for a meeting.

I am free to follow the path of Plan A. However, there have been moments when I realized I am living in a state where everything moves at a pace slower than a snail; something that always drove this NY’er nuts, and I’ve had to devise a Plan B. Plan B takes me off the path. The next Plan B includes doing some things I discovered during grad school that I didn’t want to do the rest of my life, but have to do something to gain financial freedom; something my lawyer told me I would have, but we both never saw the additional motions that had to be filed for five extra months…and fees that weren’t paid back.

As I continue to job hunt, I am free to go where I want to, but limited because the extra stress of moving Duke again would kill him. As I job hunt, I remain stuck in a system that has been unfair (the pay insulting) for a while and people have taken advantage of my skills. As this grew more apparent, I began to say no often and really stand up for myself. I should not have to work a second job. I should not have to sacrifice my writing time, but it’s where I’m at. I now steal every moment I can to write while remaining focused on Duke. I have stopped all medications for pup: they won’t do him any good, and I can no longer afford them. I have accepted I’ve done all I can for him and have given him a good life. There are days I feel guilty thinking about the near future when he isn’t with me and the extra freedom I’ll have. I’ve had pets for 13 years and have always been the caregiver. A little break will be nice.

That metaphorical roller coaster still exists. And while I’m still on it, I am at the gym five days a week now. Duke’s walking time has significantly diminished, so I resort to my exercise dvd’s at home when I’m not at the gym.

At the end of the day I am thankful for my freedoms: as an American and as an individual. I am being derailed from Plan A once again, but there always seems to be a reason and I remind myself to be patient despite the obstacles and frustrations.

Best of all, I have the freedom to continue writing, and this bacme huge writing weekend for me. I am taking the time for myself to do what I want and because I can. I am rich in this kind of independence and, roller coaster or not, have not regretted the decisions I made to get here today. I have the right to happiness and deserve the best of everything. No matter which plan I’m on, this remains my mantra.


Welcome Back Old Friend: New Horizons. A New Story. A Fresh Chapter.

Welcome Back Old Friend: New Horizons. A New Story. A Fresh Chapter.

10 July-9 August 2017

This is the life.  Liberating.  Free. With no one to answer to.  I’m 100% accountable for my actions, and, did I mention, how liberated I feel? I am returning to old and new ways.

I am writing in places I’ve been, while experiencing new territories.  I’m living.  I’m laughing.  I’m happy, or as happy as I can be given each passing day.  I am in the slow process of healing, but I am nowhere out of the woods yet.  This is going to take some time.  There are going to be so many bumps, potholes, and other obstacles in my way, but if I remember the little stuff is not worth the stress, I can focus on what’s important.

I felt the moment when a connection of (still is) lust was made in January, and that was the final moment I began a long journey. However, this is neither here nor there because this is a new chapter to a new life, new beginnings.  This is the time of reinvention.  I am discovering what I want, what I don’t want; surprised by a few things I’ve done or have planned.  I am in the re-creation stage.  I am rising from a pile of ash.  My voice is stronger.  Fear has left me. I am more determined and motivated than I have ever been in my life to pursue my dreams.

So, let’s talk about fear.  The absence of fear doesn’t mean I’ll do anything.  That’s called a dare, more or less.  One of my fears was basophobia (fear of falling).  I could never get on the Tower of Terror without having a death grip on handles of the seat or against the wall.  I could never get on Soarin’.  I was petrified.  My first trip to Disneyland since my divorce was quite the experience, in a gazillion ways that I can’t even begin to discuss.  I was on the Guardians of Galaxy at least six times.  Arms were up.  With the numerous drops, I felt my butt leave the seat completely feeling the adrenaline rush.  I didn’t hang on.  My second trip, a month later, back to Disneyland was even more interesting.  My last day in California Adventure was an early morning.  Since I had done nearly everything during my June trip, I decided to try Soarin’ again.  Sure enough, I inhaled the experience without hanging on as if my life depended on it.  I watched the scenery unfold in front of me, silently saying, “Been there, done that.  Going to do that next.  That’s on my list.”  This is only one of many examples.  So much more will go into my next work-in-progress; hoping to finish November 2017.

My cousin put it perfectly. People are coming into my life for a reason.  I may not have the answers to why, but I’m not going to question it and simply take it for what it is.  I am learning to love myself, if, for nothing else, to be a better person.  I have a wide network of friends, worldwide.  I am thankful they are a part of my life, and continue to be.

I don’t need a career at this point in my life because I have made writing my career; I just need a job to pay the bills until bigger things happen.  This is my new dimension.  Welcome to my next adventures as Karen Hellinger, aka Karen 3.0.

Photo by  Karen M. Hellinger. 2017.

Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

29 May 2017

Today is Memorial Day.  My family and friends have served in the military.  Some have been lost in combat.  For all those lost, we continue to remember their service to our country on this day.  We adorn their graves to help remember and honor.  We decorate our loved ones graves because plants and flowers begin to grow (and survive, as it stands in my NY hometown).

And THANK YOU to those who continue to serve.

During my travels, I see military personnel in airports a lot.  If they’re not pre-occupied, I will step out of the way, trail off from my path for a moment, to thank them for their service. I don’t do this for me, and I have arrived late at my gate when I stop for a few seconds, but the plane is still loading; I do not care.  I do this because they deserve recognition.  They deserve a standing ovation.  It’s respectful, and an act of good citizenship.  I appreciate what they’re doing for our country.

Because of them, we feel safe flying around the globe, driving across state borders, going to concerts, football games, and more.

Because of them, I can sit on my patio in the mornings with a mimosa.  I can sit on my patio in the afternoons with a glass of bourbon, strong-add ice; write, study, and feel safe in my home and backyard. I can sit on my patio in the evening with a steak- overcooked- potatoes not grilled up correctly, but, yet, I have my glass of wine…as I continue to write: this blog, tweet, revise my thesis, finish reading a novel, compile my poetry book, and have the freedom to take Duke for a walk any time I want.



I feel it’s important to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I feel it’s equally important to take one minute out of our lives (again, we have our freedom) to thank those who continue to serve. As a civilian, I may not understand what they go through, especially when called for duty, but to stand up and volunteer to keep the U.S. safe and protected is a massive burden to carry…while being an honor.

Which leads into a different type of discussion because my literature class this term has been focused on 20th Century American Literature.  It was not what I expected.  We have been examining how literature, from poetry to fiction, has changed since WWI.  Add in WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Beats Generation, and (now) Post 9/11.  That’s a ton of information to consume and filter…especially as I am waging my own personal war; some of this shit gets too heavy for me.  And I do not mean shit in a disrespectful way.  We just finished The Yellow Birds, a novel by Kevin Powers, about the Iraqi war.  Since I just finished a short paper on the unreliable narrator, I won’t go into my soapbox.  What I can say, however, is the books chosen for the course, and the contents contained within, brings forth a new perspective on literature and its evolution over wars and movements.  I was hoping for discussions about Gatsby; perhaps a tie-in from Victorian literature, but that was not the case.  Instead, I battened down the hatches (here goes the clichés), braced myself, and rode the torrential waves and storms that came at me for the past 8 weeks.

Yeah.  This is week 9.  This is the official thesis revision week. Something happened at 12:15am, the turned into paper writing a 2am, and giving up by 2:30am (I think).

I began Memorial Day with an 8am hour-long conference/Skype call, but it was okay because it was with new and old friends.  Any friends that enter my life these days are warmly welcomed.  We had a good discussion, and ended with laughter.  Although, I am curious to know how intimidated a male colleague, from another country, with zero understanding about American football felt as two women drove their own narrative about the game, fantasy football, the players we like, the teams we follow, and plans to attend an NFL game together…

Shall I put that into perspective for you again?

Females conversing about all aspects of the NFL.  Male from another country with zero knowledge-asking for a short version about the purpose of the game, etc. (perhaps something less than the Cliff Notes version).  Females talking about their favorite teams.  Male caught in between two females being enthusiastic about the NFL.  Male just shakes his head.

😊 This may be a long 5 months for him as we continue discussions leading up to a conference, and I begin to take over conversations at our committee meetings specifically involving football.  Yep, just counting the days until the NFL season returns!

I have spent many, many mornings on the patio.  Drinking coffee and writing in the morning.  Writing in the afternoons.  Reading mid-afternoons.  Drinking wine and writing in the evenings.  Reading/writing into the late evenings.  Simply enjoying the crap out of a home that consumed my inheritance.

I have returned to work, but it is now short-lived.  I will be taking a leave of absence again (my friend calls it a sabbatical! hah), through June.  However, because I am still waiting for the perfect lemonade cocktail to be whipped up, I am looking at longer.  For the first time in my life, I am only focused on taking care of myself; re-discovering who I am, who has been hiding behind glass walls, and who wants to break out. I may not necessarily have to decide on a set career at this point in my life, because I want to be the next mega-author, but I need a job that will help pay the bills, cover insurance, ensure extra biscuits, treats, and pay annual medical bills for Duke, and…make me happy.

This is my time, my year, my focus to get myself back into rebuilding a new system, and I dare anyone who wants to try to stop me!

We are free because our military protects us, keeps us safe.  The next time you see someone in a uniform, take a few seconds out of your schedule, even as you are rushing to your next gate, to stop and thank them.  Treat them to a cup of coffee if they’re behind you in the drive-thru of a coffee shop.  A random act of kindness goes a long way, and we can sure use a lot of kindness these days.  Lastly, keep remembering those who died sacrificing themselves for us to live in a world we have today.

Duke thanks our military, too!