Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Here we go again...

I am dangerously close to another birthday. For all intents and purposes, this is a good thing, you know, compared to the alternative.  And this year has not been too bad!  Good things are happening, the most security I have had since I was a kid, that counts for so much.
But the sadness comes every year with the birthday, and I have to breath through it and acknowledge.  This marks 23 years of birthdays without my mom.  I have lived more of my life without her than with her. That is a profound statement. I don't even know that I miss her anymore. How terrible is that? I miss her at significant moments, my birthday, when I see examples of mother-daughter relationships on the cusp of changing into an adult relationship.  That special time in a mother-daughter relationship where the daughter finally drops her teenage angst and starts to appreciate her mother for her life experience and love.  I almost had that, almost. Just not quite.
Just not quite. Never has "not quite" felt so vast.  There is no chance of closing that gap. Ever. And there is no relationship that would ever replace that one.  I suppose if I had a grandmother or aunt who I was close to, maybe that would be similar, but that wasn't the case with me.  Not that I didn't have a grandmother or aunts (yep plural), who could have forged those types of relationships with me, but they didn't. They didn't seem to care much. Totally different issue I suppose, because as an aunt, I can't even FATHOM not fostering that relationship. Nonetheless, there it is, kind of like a black hole.
You can't really do anything with a black hole, they just exist.  You kind of get the feeling that if you enter into it you will never really make it out.  So there I sit, in the middle of this black hole of an almost relationship, 23 years and counting.
What would our relationship be like now if she were still alive? 23 years of a relationship navigating new waters.  23 years of confidantes, 23 years of taking her for granted, 23 years of disagreements, 23 years of growth, 23 more years of love and support. 23 years of unsolicited advice and mother meddling. 23 years of a role model in careers, family, life.
23 used to be one of my favorite numbers, you know, Michael Jordan and all.  I think I have outgrown that. What else have I outgrown? I don't even really know since I became an adult in one sweeping moment, that moment she died.  Any and all frivolous notions of self-centered adolescence disappeared in that moment, and truly I had no idea.  It disappeared with the moon on the night of July 2nd, replaced by the sun I watched rise on the new day of July 3rd, and never returned.  I sat in the cab of that truck and watched the starts until the sun came up strong and vibrant and pushed away the moon and any clinging pieces of childhood that remained. It was a baptism I was unaware of, the washing of the old and the rushing in of the new.  But this new adulthood came with mid-life responsibilities attached.  I was sucked into the tumultuous current in the ocean of survival and I didn't even know I had been at the beach.
I dreamed of her the other night.  She had hidden things for me in her childhood apartment, but I couldn't find them because that apartment had been demolished.  And I looked and looked and it just didn't make sense. She showed me the apartment and all of her childhood hiding spots but I just couldn't get there.  It was painful, so close, and yet impossibly far. Another gap that can never be closed, it will remain forever gaping.  How does one go through life with 2 such gaping holes in their soul for 23 years? When I stop to think about it, it seems rather remarkable. And perhaps quite telling.
So, I don't miss her everyday like people say after they have lost a significant loved one, I can't handle that kind of pain. I miss her sometimes, but I feel the holes always.  Deep, dark, unending, open, and wide.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fitting the pieces together

How? What? Who? Pure confusion.  Utter AND pure confusion. What just happened? This harvest moon thing really tripped me out this week.  Tripped. Me. Out. Dayyyyyuuummmm.
In the span of 1 week, 3 people on this earth who I had lost all contact with, 1 for several years, 1 for a little over a year, and one from just a few months, just re-entered my life (for 1 HOT SECOND each) in the most non-nonchalant  fashion possible.  So, stupefyingly random, swift, and strange. And it stirred up all sorts of crazy emotions that I had previously compartmentalized, thank you very much.  So, that was odd, and beyond coincidental. They all just blew in via electronic correspondence with no proper greeting, no inquiry as to my life or my well-being, said their piece and then peaced right out again, like POOF, gone.
But it is the one that was most recent that really had me hung up. I am at an age where I should be a good judge of people, sincerity, innuendo, I feel the energy of other people, I am sort of aware of my surroundings. But this threw me into a tailspin that I thankfully pulled out of by the next day. But I must take it out and examine it now that I feel safely removed again.
I will never know what brought them to this place that they felt the urge to reach out, in the most simple way possible, to extend an apology for past behavior. (Seriously, 3 in one week!!!) So, if I can't determine what brought them to that point, or what they were feeling when they reached out, I can only examine how it made me feel.  And, PS, I am not really fond of this tactic, it would be kinder to me for them to explain themselves, but such is life.  As my dear friend Stacy says, "suck it up buttercup."
So, I shall spread it all out and explore.
Which is REALLY hard to do without pointing fingers back at those same people. UUUGGGHH!
Ok, so back to this last one.  What are my feelings about this. Siiiigggh. Damn if it doesn't still hurt.  And one of the strangest emotions I have ever encountered is that I hurt for the person who did the damage! That sounds very co-dependent-ish, but let me explain.
If I must take one's word as the truth (if they are lying this is a whole other ballgame-but I rented this field for now, so I ain't moving), they are denying their own happiness for their perception that there is no balance (at lease allowed for said person) of happiness and responsibility.  Herein lies the part that makes me sad.  The kicker is, it is more empathetic than it is selfish. Which, probably actually makes sense if you know me, I would put most everyone's feelings before my own-don't worry, I am working on this. Geez.
So here I am feeling so painfully empathetic and then like a terrible dessert add my own pain on top of that like some kind of spoiled whip cream.  That might not make sense. But you get it, it's layers friends. Layers of feelings, hence the needing to examine it. GRRRRRRR.
In my world, I don't just reach out and leave people hanging after stirring their pot. Who does that? Right, the people I chose to have in my life. Ok, Ok. Universe, message received. And I dealt with all that, I really did!! Until this last stinker in the bunch. Why you get me all twisted? Stepping back again, slowing down. Deep yoga breath...ok.
This last one really throws me for a loop because from all that I have learned from my experiences, my universal truths and lessons, this one wasn't like the other ones. I was slow and cautious, I was diligent, I was feeling my way through checking for all of the signs, the universal roadposts...and I found myself in the exact place I always wanted to be-without even knowing it. That happy and unfamiliar place was not easy to accept (see aforementioned relationships 1 and 2 referenced above).  But I did, over a few months, I gradually, finally, became comfortable and trusting.  I found that I liked it there, dare I say started to feel secure there.  And then it was gone, and I didn't handle it with as much class and decorum as I should have, I know that. So, noted, put aside in my annotated notes of this lesson's dissection..
And then I struggled. And struggled, and struggled. And it wasn't just the loss of this relatively short relationship, it compounded HORRIBLY with the worst time in my life personally and professionally.  I got beat down in ways I didn't think were possible! WHEEEEW.
And then...when the rain cleared, I got it all together.  Professional life on point and with an incredible trajectory. Roots settled back where they belong, with the security of a home that is solely mine, no bank can take it away from me, it is mine. I find my spirit is starting to soar again, oh how I have missed that!
And then BOOM. These MF'rs who, damn if I don't still feel love for them (in different ways)!
Just throwing a little Hey-did you really think you were on solid emotional ground, REALLY? Thanks universe, harvest moon, whatever is responsible for that.  I know this is a time for people to create closure for themselves, but I (thought) I already had closure, then I had to take on YOUR attempt at closure, not cool dudes, not cool at all.
And here is why. Because this last one, I want it back. It feels like the missing piece of the puzzle.  So, here I sit a puzzle with one lost piece, who just won't allow themselves to complete the puzzle.  Why friend. Why does having a complete puzzle scare you so? Complete puzzles are awesome! You can take them apart and put them back together again, you can look at the big complete picture it makes together and admire it as one whole being or look deeper and see all of the super cool, unique pieces that each hold something vitally important to the overall completeness of the puzzle.
WHO DOESN'T"T WANT THAT? Right, it doesn't matter, this can only be about me because I can't speculate, predict, or assume anything about anyone else but me.
So, here is where I land. Thank you universe for exposing how each of those people were seeking closure.  I am happy for them, I am powerless, have no say about it, and can't dig into it, but will take it.  Such is a blessing if I choose to see it.
But I will tell you, I am not closing off the rest of the puzzle because there seems to be a hold out.  I want that damn missing piece.  So here I go again, compartmentalizing that part of where I thought I found the missing piece.  I will pack up all the pieces and put them back in the box and patiently wait.  Peace be with you. And so it is...

Clearing the Path

The other day a dear friend growled at me when he got frustrated with a current work situation. And in an instant I was thrown back to college when this was my trademark frustration indicator.  He knew it well. We had the most positive and volatile relationship possible, which seems like it would be a disaster, but it was pure bliss. Much like the relationships you had when you were 12 (Stand By Me reference fully intended), this was quite possibly the most important relationship in my life at that time.
When you get to college they tell you that the people you meet will be your lifelong friends, and that is true, but the perfect storm of emotional circumstances made this friendship even more monumental.  The loss of a mother, followed by the abandonment of a father, and the subsequent realization that you are 21, in college, and suddenly the adult to 3 younger siblings.  It all happened so swiftly, and this friend saw it coming, tried to shield me from what he could, and jumped in to pick up the pieces at the same time.
From that point forward, nothing could break this friendship. I was on the precipice of the end of my world as I knew it, he helped me navigate it all. And he never faltered. Never.
The compounded emotions from that time have probably never really surfaced sufficiently, survival mode requires all energy, especially when you are trying to survive for a party of 4. My god, it got ugly.  Family discontent at its height. Betrayal, abandonment,  loss, grief, fear, hunger, poverty, theft, all wrapped up into a few short years. Just writing that makes my chest tight. But we lived it. We survived. We survived, intact, relatively healthy, productive, self-sufficient adults, all of us. Gratitude at its most solemn and holy.
I don't know how.
Here is what I do know. That kind of friendship never leaves you. Through boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, children. It never does. This relationship also happens to be commemorated with a tattoo.  It is the most endearing touchstone of my life, truly.  At my darkest moments, that anchors me, it draws me back, it reassures me that kind of love exists. It is one of the few completely unconditional relationships I have ever had with a non-family member.
I have been fortunate enough to return home, both geographically, and emotionally to continue this friendship and watch it stretch into a trusted working relationship. What a blessing. I stand firmly on this ground now because of that relationship.  For a girl who doesn't trust much or many, that is a strong victory.  There is no fear that can't be confronted, no topic off limits, no criticism without love.
Happily, I can count 2 friends like this, the one that I had at 12 years old who sneaked into Stand by Me daily at the local dollar movie theater, and this one I thankfully stumbled into at the fresh age of 21. Glory be all the blessings it has brought forth.  And so it is...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Archived I am a fighter

family in all their joy and destruction

Strange things have been happening lately, things that defy my superficial easy way I like to go about my life. Honestly I hope you don't really think that I am superficial, however, I fully acknowledge that I don't necessarily live my life as
they say "in the present". No offense to-well, most people-but my discontent with you may not necessarily find its way into our conversation. I like very much the conversation I have in my head where I perhaps point out something I disagreed with you on and then quickly dismiss it, instead of course- doing the real and honest thing which might actually be to confront you. I justify this as keeping the peace. I know lots of people who live exactly the opposite, and the energy that must take astounds me. Clearly I am lazy, in both an emotional and physical sense.

Therefore, when I find myself confronting people recently, no one is more surprised at my newfound voice than me! Who is that standing up to my father who has in the past wilted, disconnected, and walked away?! Where is that voice coming from that is telling the co-worker that her behavior is more like a high school student than teacher?! Oh that's me! It's quite shocking to hear my own voice.

That sounds rather pathetic as I reread my own thoughts but with my own new honesty policy, it is in fact the truth.

Here are my musings on this topic as I embrace this assertiveness. Families are in general disjointed in their own ways. The damage they inflict seems insurmountable for a great deal of your life. I am not claiming to be a victim, but I'll be damned if I didn't get some permanant scars from my bumps and bruises along the way. Sometimes I sport those scars because it shows how-as my father says-I am "tough as nails". Other times I try to cover them up, hoping people will not think that I am damaged goods. On the rare occasion I forget they are there I pretend to be NORMAL. That of course is subject to my present company. The irony is that the same family members who gave you those battle wounds want very much to heal you! Or really it is a paradox, because the enemy is ultimately your ally, this seems opposite, but is a truth. In my previous mind set I believed that maintaining a shallow relationship with those people was the easiest and least hurtful thing, I did not have the energy to oppose people who were inevitably always going to be a part of my life regardless of my opinions. Lately they have not been letting me off the hook so easily; and while I find this annoying, drudging up old hurts and recalling scars I so successfully repressed, perhaps they are actually trying to help me. I realize I sound like a babe in the woods, with these ideas, perhaps you have figured this out and come to peace with it long ago. I have not been so wise. I have fought all 15 rounds of every fight I thought was worth fighting, for my siblings, for my education, for my students, for my friends, etc...and I won. But the prize plagued me in other ways. Survival and success are mine fair and square, but I came out kind of rough around the edges somehow and lost some compassion along the way. I lost the compassion for the ones I truly believed I was fighting against all of those years, people and circumstances alike. And yet I have vast compassion for those that I hardly know. Not to sound cliche, but there might actually be a balance.

My father lost my respect 12 years ago. As a fighter, respect and loyalty are your most guarded weapons, and when that was gone I lost interest in the man that had my heart for 22 years. While he drifted away from us I thought I was growing stronger and more prepared for every new fight that came my way. And in many ways I did, I persevered and was relentless when it came to protecting myself and my other family members. I am a champion for them in every sense of the word.

But it seems now that same man wants only to know me and to love me. How does a fighter face that? 12 years of training mentally to duck and protect are useless. This is where I have found that voice, the voice that has replaced the mental jab and hook. A voice to articulate the damage, to suggest potential healing tactics and to proclaim love as well as disappointment.

The scars I have from those fights have a new use, they are a starting point. This scar was from your betrayal, this one from your neglect, I will not hide them from you, but I will acknowledge that you see them and try to move on. Truly the prize fight was always for your love, and miraculously along the way I found I had people in the audience cheering me on, giving me strength when I thought I would surely go down for the count.

I appreciate all of you who have cheered me on along the way, and I hope that as I try to learn how to not be such a fighter you will still be in my corner. Change is a frightful thing, especially when your thoughts, hopes, and dreams are on the line. I am going to conceed this next fight and see where it takes me, perhaps there is peace for this fighter yet.



archived I hear you, sometimes

Sometimes when the most tragic of events occur there is no drama, no screaming, dropping to your knees, no one to hold you and tell you it will be ok. Rather you find yourself in an empty tunnel, if you scream you will hear only the echo of your own screams. It will go on echoing untill it fades leaving you alone and quiet again. The world continues to rotate, at neck-breaking speeds, images swirling together unlike any roller coaster that could ever exist. At that moment the only thing that you can focus on is yourself.

Sometimes when you find your way out of that tunnel, and poke your head up like a burrowed animal, the light is blinding. Humanity is still racing, groping, pushing to get ahead of one another. The pain is piercing, the sounds are crippling, and no one even notices that you have burrowed away like the tiny rodent that you are, worse is that they haven't noticed that you re-entererd their world, or that you were ever missing at all.

Sometimes you notice how self-serving, self-absorbed the broad majority seems to be. Politeness is overlooked, common courtesy dismissed, a sense of entitlement replacing graciousness. Parents neglecting their children, family's broken and patched together, friendships destroyed by jealousy, lack of time, lack of compassion.

Sometimes in this place you look inward, farther than you ever knew you could go. Again you are blinded by a light, a light that all of your ancestors before you have carried and buried in your soul, the light that burns to keep you warm, comforted, secure. The strength of those who endured the unthinkable, who fought for you to be here, who persevered in times you can't even endure thinking about.

Sometimes you realize that this breath inside you is a gift, the heart that beats inside you a symbol of strength and power beating, beating, beating, in a rhythm of its own, indifferent to your trivial pursuits and disappointments, for you, on and on and on.

Sometimes you see that other people are hurting, they too have burrowed in their holes, some deeper than you realized the earth could go. Some just underneath the surface, and you too have failed to realize that they were gone. Failed to realize when they re-entered, stronger or weaker from their own personal batttles. Perhaps you have suffered similar losses, sifted through similar lessons, caught glances of one another in the wars.

Sometimes, you just need to take a moment, take stock in your being, remember what makes you thrive, find your backbone, dust it off and stand tall because of it. Remember whose shoulders you stand on, remember who is standing on yours.

Archived ET phone home

Wouldn't it be cool if everyone had a heart that lit up when they saw someone they loved? There would be no confusion when you reached out to touch them your lights would unite. As cheesy as it sounds-really I think it would be useful. No mixed signals-no lies or betrayals, if you saw that light fading you could make an exit promptly and save someone the hurt and surprise of all those nasty ways people break up. Maybe you could save yourself all the trouble and negative self talk assuming nobody really cares about you -if you could see them light up as you entered a room. People aren't very good at communicating-or perhaps I set that precedence for others toward me by not communicating myself-therefor a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. If you don't use those communication skills for years at a time-do you lose them? If there is no one wanting to communicate with you-does it mean you are not communication worthy? If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it-it still makes noise, right? So it stands to reason that I still might have some communication skills if they were ever needed again, yes? I hope so.
It is strange to me how people do choose to communicate-through lists, texts, emails. What ever happened to good old fashioned face to face one on one conversation? Surely people still do this-but I look around and don't see much of it, even with the married couples I know. They talk briefly over coffee in the morning, or through emails throughout the day, but people seem so self-involved do they really Talk to each other? I like my time alone, knowing that I set my own schedule, eat what I want, never need to take someone else into consideration when I want to go shopping or to the gym, but perhaps there is some middle ground. A way to keep your independence AND love/be loved. A time to sit down with someone you cherish and who cherishes you and tune out all other things so that maybe you can see their heart light up like ET and they can see yours. Here's to believing in ET and other fantasies.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Searching for the Wizard

I am attempting to press pause on my mind for a few days while I wait for results from the dr. from my upper endoscopic procedure. In the meantime I am frantically searching the internet for some answer that is really impossible to obtain. I am not actually that worried, I don't feel like my health is in grave danger, but I do feel like I am caught up in the eye of the tornado. And I feel that there must be some root problem to all the health issues. And in this process I feel like Dorothy looking for the Wizard. My yellow brick road is the internet, but alas I have no good witch Glenda helping me along the way. In my quest for optimal health I am willing to try all sorts of things, different diets, different medications, acupuncture, etc...and of course they are all good things, but is one of them the answer? I have seen countless doctors, and they all will give me a different type of medicine for one thing or another, but it can't all be disconnected right? There has to be one underlying thing that is the cause of all these different ailments, there has to be, I am just not convinced that these issues are all separate. I am searching for some kind of medicinal wholistic approach, that must exist, right? The more I see different types of Doctors the more I start to feel like they are the men behind the curtains. They don't have my answers, or at least I haven't met one yet that does. They act like they do, they seem confident, but I guess science really is just trial and error much like every other aspect of life. I suppose I must come to terms with that somehow, continue my search and stay positive. Now, where are my ruby slippers?