Sunday, December 30, 2012

this is the part where you say thank you.

ah, the end of the year.

where one muses on what has and what is yet to come.

the ghost snippets of the year past rattling around trying to come up with something to say.

this year: sucked.

2011: sucked.

so did 2010: sucked.

i had higher hopes and they were dashed.

i know i know i live where it's sunny and sweet. i have wonderful kids and a wonderful relationship. i am rich in friends and family. i mean MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME ALREADY.

this year i was pushed and pushed and stretched and the stitching just didn't hold. it held for so long but it just got too stretched. life is like that sometimes. the stitching holds until it just doesn't.

i will try to make this brief.

so i wrote of losing my faith but not of finding it again. but i did find it again. that happened. it did. so that's good.

but the year still sucked? you ask.

oh yes. it still did. but let's move along.

and really all it took finding my faith again was literally stopping the in the middle of my daily 'i hate the world i am miserable' walk up a steep hill i was unfamiliar with and remembering OH YEAH. you forgot to see the light coming through the cracks. like a ton of bricks it started hitting me. you forgot your tools! you forgot when times get tough you get a mantra! and you repeat it and repeat it and repeat it until something better comes along! you jackass! you are miserable and flailing and you forgot everything!

so i'm stopped. on my walk. up that hill. wondering why it was that just now i was remembering. that i forgot. and thinking about tools and a mantra. and thinking about a friend on a certain social networking site who was posting his own mantra every day. something outside of his usual posting character. but he posted it. without fail. and that came to me. so i started there. peace and love. peace and love. that's what he posted. and since i had been so stuck and had forgotten so deeply i started there. you can always start right where you are. you are never so lost that you can't. peace and love. and i kept saying that under my breath out loud. peace and love.

and then i looked up, and fuck it all i wasn't smack dab in front of the catholic church in town. and then i looked down and i saw a lucky penny i hadn't seen before. i am not even kidding you.

look, i'm not one to begrudge a kick in the ass from anywhere. maybe it was god or my dad or just a wild coincidence. just the street i took in my daily 'i hate the world i am miserable' walk and a penny someone dropped and i didn't see until that moment. maybe.

i believe in all those things so i looked up into the sky and then grabbed up the penny and kept walking.

so i did peace and love. for a few blocks (this ended up being a particularly long walk. therapy takes time. sometimes longer than you think it will or should. i just kept walking.) and then i added gratitude. and then i locked on gratitude. oh my god WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME ALREADY. how fucking rich am i with these kids and this life. i have been pushed and my faith taken. i have been stretched and never ever dreamed things would GET WORSE than they had been. but no matter what  happens or happened i have so much i can be grateful for. 

so i said i am grateful i am grateful i am grateful. and i listed each thing i was grateful for. everything. all the things to be grateful for in my miserable existence.

and then i was walking down the hill. (there are a lot of hills here. i always seem to be walking UP.) and enjoying the feeling of fuller breaths and a bit of a breeze. i am grateful i am grateful i am grateful.

i just want to feel healed. i don't want to be wounded. i don't even care about being pushed and the stitching loosening. it will hold. i'm sure. okay i'm not entirely sure but for the first time in a long time i felt reasonably sure the stitching might hold. i just don't want to feel wounded. i want to be healed.

and i was thinking these things and walking down the hill and i walked by the weird crystal 'energy' shop. i say weird not because i don't get it but this place is weird. and in the window they had a big amethyst. amethyst. such a powerful healing stone. one of my absolute favorites. right there in front of me. healing. incidentally it also guards against drunkenness. so. there's that, too.

what are the odds? the big fat sparkly healing stone.

we have the religious reference and the father watching over me reference and now the spiritual reference. all pretty good for one what started out as the daily 'i hate the world i am miserable' walk.

and when i got home i grabbed my amethyst off the front porch and put it where i would see it. i tossed the lucky penny on the pile in front of the picture by my father. i felt better. i felt more like myself. amazing what happens when we stop clenching it all to us. all the crap. all the wounds and the misery and we let it go and take a good deep breath. find gratitude in the going up and the coming down. just find gratitude. period.

i forgot. forgot all the tools i ever learned. how quickly that happens.

and then i was talking on the phone with a dear friend who knows i am dealing with something but since i'm trying to cowboy my way out of this thing i'm not talking. so she talks. and she says

hey. i know you are dealing with something and i know you don't want to talk about it but i want you to know that i am here. for whenever you do. i am here for you and i will listen.

she is not the only friend to say this. i have the best friends on the planet. they have all said this at some point in our years as friends. and i have said it too. it gets said. but i always reply with the same old shit. the same pat speech.

because i'm used to saving my own life. and this time i almost well kinda nearly tried to give her that same pat speech. about this and that and how i'm really okay. blah blah blah. i'm about to but then i heard a voice in my head. as clear as can be

this is the part where you say thank you.

and then again. a little louder. because in cases like this voices seem to have to repeat themselves

this is the part where you say thank you.

and so, i shut up. and didn't really say all those things i normally do. and i said

thank you. i really appreciate that.

thank you.

it's okay to save your own life. it's okay to hold on to your wounded self. until you can let it go it's okay to hold on to it. i mean we all are a work in progress. you don't have to get the whole lesson in the first few decades. and it's okay to have shitty year after shitty year. i mean not 'okay' but it happens and it's okay that it's not all OKAY all the time. being imperfect is okay. but it's not okay to forget. it's not okay to forget the tools you have. however small. it's not okay to forget to be grateful. even with all that that is not okay and that whole mess of being a work in progress THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU SAY THANK YOU.

thank you because you are here. in this life.

no matter what it is. no matter how hard or fucked up.

this is the part where you say thank you.

even if you are angry.

and hey, you have every right to be angry about whatever it is you are angry about. EVERY RIGHT. i am the most justified angry person around.

but it's not okay to forget. to be grateful. 

this is the part where you say thank you.

for something. for anything. or just to say it.

this is part where you say thank you.

because you are here.

and because you can.

start there.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

never marry a writer.

because we have raging egos AND bottomless pits of need and the beauty is that can change hourly.

and does.

and also because it means at some point they are going to write about your relationship.

today marks the 18th anniversary of the day the husband and i first met. love at first sight. and i will be the first to say that we don't have a perfect relationship because i don't even know what that is? what is that? what we have works for us. and i think relationships are super complicated and hard sometimes and then there's that whole 'living a life' business to pile on top.

and i was thinking about this the other day, about what makes some people stay together, what drives some people apart.

i am a moody bitchy cancer and have mild chronic depression with cheapskate tendencies and some days i am just a fucking picnic to be around. plus, apparently, i will write about you, too. at some point. so that has GOT to be a bonus. right?

he's an aquarian. enough said. the optimism and list making alone will drive you insane.

the simple fact is through better and whole lotta worse in the last few years and the last few months the husband and i have loved each other and liked each other and stuck by each other for 18 years. and other than a fancy dinner out and googly eyes over wine and seared meat that someone else cooks and cleans up, that's got to account for something.

i don't know what that something is, but in thinking about it i realized that i have loosely carried 3 simple thoughts around me. and they have made all the difference in the world. and because i'm me, i want to share them with you.

1. hold hands

2. cut a LOT of slack

3. be kind

holding hands is literal and figurative. it basically means don't break contact. always stick with your buddy. the world gets scary and the world gets dark and if you stop holding hands someone is going to get hurt. or lost.

OH MY GOD cut the other guy some slack. early and often. i mean really. no one is perfect. and we ALL do dumb stuff. the only way to learn from our dumb stuff is if we get the chance to learn from our dumb stuff. and we get that chance if someone cuts us some slack. or a lot of slack. and i will tell you what, the dumb stuff do-er is punishing themselves enough with their dumb stuff do-ing. trust me. so you don't *HAVE* to do it for them you just *WANT* to. don't. go do something else.

be kind. seriously. even when you can and even when you are JUSTIFIED JUST KEEP YOUR MEAN TRAP SHUT.  your mean ol' mouth just makes it worse. don't be mean. be kind. bite your tongue or get a blog under a pseudonym or buy a journal and a special 'just for me' pen WHATEVER just keep your mean thoughts to yourself. can you be mad and angry? HELL YES. can you be honest? yes. do. but don't confuse anger and honesty with being an asshole. and when we are in a spin HOWEVER JUSTIFIED it's easy to fool ourselves. don't fool yourself.

this doesn't mean you can't argue or disagree or be mad when the person you marry or partner with does dumb stuff. it just means there are better ways to do it than most of us do. kinder ways. faster to get back to the good stuff ways.

and really? seriously? NO ONE no matter what age likes to be yelled at. no one.

all right. that's all i got. now i'm going to go open a bottle of champagne and count my blessings and wonder, as i always do, how i got to be so damned lucky.


Thursday, December 06, 2012

the middle.

this note comes to you from the middle.

this is not a post wherein i describe something awful or real or really awful and then OH BUT I FOUND A LUCKY PENNY AND NOW IT'S OKAY SEE HOW I DID THAT!?

this is not that post.

this is the note everyone writes but no one sends. this is the note written from the very mess of the middle. after the beginning before the end wherein you're not quite sure how to proceed so of course you keep the blinds closed and the door shut and you don't invite anyone in because oh then you'd have to show them the mess and then not be able to explain it.

well, here i am. here is my mess. and i'll try to explain it.

see, and as it turns out, through a series of unfortunate events i seem to have lost my faith.

just, lost it.

and it's not really important what happened or how or why or blah blah blah...because it's not what happens to us it's how we deal with it ONLY I CAN'T. just. can't. and that's just weird to me.

and i'm not actually quite sure how it know faith not being a tangible thing like virginity or your car keys. one minute i was bopping along just fine and the next it was like i woke up in the back of a windowless van with shag carpeting and a wizard airbrushed on the side. i have no idea how i got here or why, and i don't see a way out. it's paralyzing in its own creepy way.

and every day i wake up and every day i'm still in that van. and it sucks.

okay, that's not true. not every day, some days it's like a windowless hotel conference room. and the doors have no handles. and there's nothing but donuts and coffee with POWDERED CREAMER. i can't stand donuts and powdered creamer.

i guess it depends on the day. because that's what faith does, it mitigates fear and resignation. it lifts you out of the van or the hotel conference room and sets you on soft ground outside, under a great tree, and sends in a gentle breeze. without it, you're in the hands of the fucking wizard.

now, there are some of you, bless your hearts, who will at this point want to pick up the phone and call me and suggest therapy or drugs or a 3 day hold or whatever and to you i say, do not. this is not a crisis of mental functioning, this is a crisis of faith. i suppose to some they are similar, but i assure you my brain is functioning at the same odd level it always has.

i send you this note from the middle expressly because i can. i am able. and that right there insures that i will be okay. not now, no, but eventually.

god, i am such a control freak. i mean really.


how do you know you have lost your faith, you might be wondering. i mean, what is faith anyway, you might be thinking. does this have to do with jesus or god because if it does i'm going to stop reading right now, you might be threatening.

unruffle your atheist panties, it doesn't.

what it means is this, i do not believe anymore that it's all just going to work out. i can't see it. and by all i mean all those things that are shitty and awful. i have had some pretty rough years recently and through it all i have always been able to stand among the piling rubble and say, well, okay. that happened. but look I FOUND A LUCKY PENNY. LOOK THERE ARE LILACS IN MY YARD. OH MY GOD A BIRD I LOVE BIRDS IT'S ALL GOING TO BE JUST FINE. and then i start singing 'just keep swimming' from nemo and write a blog post. lather rinse repeat.

yeah. no. not today. not for awhile. and while it sounds annoying and probably was, to be that optimistic and *sure* and just *know* i miss it. it was a new thing for me after a lifetime of 'it'll never work' and 'yeah good luck with that, sucker' and always having to clear a space for the other shoe to drop. my faith and optimism were AWESOME when they appeared. even as it wasn't easy to always keep it up, to keep moving forward even as it's all falling to shit. it wasn't easy but i was able to do it. because i had it. the faith. sometimes even with a little bit of grace. and i can't now. and i miss that.

but i will tell you what i miss most, the very thing that makes me so angry and mad at the world and EVERYONE the thing that makes me just want to key the fucking airbrushed wizard and then go back to bed and stay there...what i miss most is my sparkle. i've lost my sparkle. THE WIZARD IS STILL SPARKLY AND I AM NOT. this whole series of unfortunate events that has robbed me of my faith TOOK MY FUCKING SPARKLE, TOO.


a girl without her sparkle is a girl to be reckoned with. it's a mean thing to be robbed of. it's a terrible thing to be without. sparkle is the ultimate accessory and the key to all things good about being a girl in this world. i had no idea my sparkle was tied so intrinsically to my faith. but i guess it was, because it's gone.

faith. sparkle. what's next? because i will tell you what, i am not in the mood for what's next so what's next is welcome to take a fucking hike.

i want a clapper. i want to clap it and the faith i once held so dear will chirp from somewhere and i will be like OH MY GOD it's behind the couch!! of course! i must've dropped it there that one time. whew. that was close!

no such luck. in the meantime i walk. i stretch. i breathe. the whole keep calm, carry on thing. i do all the other things i always used to do every day only now i try to not look like i'm drowning. or plotting a murder. i try to just keep my back straight and my chin up. try to yogi cowboy my way out of this thing. i think that might be the trick, but i don't really know.

because i honestly do not know what to do.

and there you have it. the report from the middle.

the unpleasant and unsparkly shag carpeted windowless middle.

just me and the wizard.