Monthly Archives: October 2013

Experience is bliss (or not)

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/weekly-writing-challenge-dear-abby/

Dear happiness:

I want to meet you, know you, understand you, experience you. The problem is that every time I catch you, you flutter away. You’re elusive, evasive, and meandering. You frustrate me, when you should comfort me. I savor you, and yet you don’t seem to recognize or care about my appreciation for you. Why must you flee? I feel like the unfavored child. Do you like others more than me? Is there anything I can do to make you stay?

Sincerely,

Self Pity

Dear Self Pity:

In order to make me stay, you must first believe that I will. You must savor me, but also think the thoughts, feel the feelings, and experience the bliss of having me around, even before I am. Only then will I feel compelled to do so. When you’re constantly pushing me away with your feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness, even doubt, well….there’s no reason for me to flutter in the presence of angst. Have you heard of people that decide to clear out the negativity in their lives, making all the necessary changes that they DO have control over, in order to get the best out of life? It works, every time. That’s not to say that bad things won’t still happen. Death is part of life. Destruction is part of creation, and so on. But, when you invite me in, and surround yourself with bliss, even in the midst of darkness, I feel comforted by you. I feel respected, wanted, earned, and welcome. I know I’m in good hands. So shift your thoughts. Sort out your emotions. Unearth those old careless days of your childhood. You will find me there. I’m always there. You just have to accept me. Don’t just ask. Demand and expect.

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Hospitable hospice

‘You have two weeks. You won’t be able to eat much longer, let alone walk, go to the bathroom on your own, or have conversations with your loved ones. We will control your pain, keep you comfortable, and allow your family to surround you with love and companionship’. That’s what someone in hospice faces. That’s what my mom faced three & a half months ago.

As strong as she always was, I saw my mother’s decline as a slow-moving cascade into dependence; reluctant and willful; determined and stubborn; and yet, though her body was failing her, her eyes revealed a different story. As she tried to focus on the conversations surrounding her, she seemed distracted by something larger. She had already withdrawn from everything that interested her in life. There was a pull toward the intangible world that was both compelling and frightening to her, and abstract and incomprehensible to the rest of us. She was becoming something different. So much so that, by the end, she was flesh.

Though she took her last breaths, I never felt that she was truly there to experience them. She probably didn’t hear when I led the family in The Lord’s Prayer in her last minutes. She didn’t know that I recognized her changing breath, and alerted everyone to that change. She didn’t feel me brushing back her hair from her forehead and watching as her eyes glazed over in closure.

I remember my aunt, my step-sisters, my step-father, losing grip. They didn’t want to accept her departure any more than I did. But something took over me. Something else moved inside and urged me to just be there; to be her; to comfort them, console their spirits, and share with them the truth. She was no longer there. Her time with us had passed.

Just 3 weeks before, she told me that ‘there’s nothing else they can do. They’re sending me into hospice’. The entire month leading up to that moment, my mom demanded that I stay positive for her. Do not cry. So, when she told me, and said that it was ‘okay to cry’, I refused. I refused right up until the point where she told me that she had wanted to write me a letter in her new journal, but that she had waited too long. Her hands were too shaky. That’s when I promptly climbed into her bed and bawled like I was 14 and broken-hearted.

After she passed, I once again took on the role of ‘strong daughter’. I talked other people through the grief, and comforted them. I dotted all the what-have-yous and the crossed all the now-whats until everyone was securely satisfied with her passing. It’s only now that I am lost. Any questions I have, or decisions I need to make; any battles I need to fight, or confrontations I should face, seem impossible without her. Afterall, where does water go when it no longer has a dam to keep it in its place? Where does a tree go once its been severed from its roots? Where does a baby bird go once its been told to fly?

I try leaning on friends and family, but they’re not her. There love is not unconditional. I am convinced, more than ever, that the closest love to God’s love is a parent’s love for their child. I still find myself talking to her, mentally. She was answering at first, but that voice is becoming a whisper. Will that whisper be enough? Probably not. For the first time in my life, I’m learning that my own voice, combined with the holy spirit, is all that I have. That will have to do. In the meantime, I have to dot all the what-ifs, cross all the which-ways, and finish all the what-nows, the best that she taught me.

When I grow up

I was five. I remember it vividly. I was running around careless, like a butterfly, colorful and full of hope. I was going to be a singer, on stage, with a microphone in one hand, and the world in the other. That was the dream. I’ve always sang; with my dad, in front of church, in chorus, at Karaoke bars, then with my boyfriend’s band.

It’s only now that I can honestly say that I finally do NOT want to be a singer when I grow up. When I sing, it’s other peoples’ words. The audience either loves it (because they love the song, not necessarily my voice), or they ignore the performance altogether. It’s taken 32 years to come to terms with the fact that what I really want to be is heard. I want me to be heard; my thoughts, not my interpretations.

I’m not knocking singers, cover bands, Karaoke champions, or musical celebrities. I will always love to sing. The weird thing is, that dating a singer, who is also a songwriter, has changed my perspective. The truth is that I have a very deep and intimate need to reach people, not through entertainment, but through the pure and simple ‘relating’ with others, that’s both human and natural. 

How many times have you been broken-hearted and looked for a movie on TV or redbox where the primary character was also broken-hearted? When you’re happy, do you want to be around people that are depressed or angry? Do you want to hear the blues? We have needs, as humans, to connect with others.

Of course, the more we connect, the less lonely we feel. That’s because we were not intended to walk the earth alone. It’s just not in our DNA. Look at Chris McCandless (Into the Wild).

And here’s the really ironic part…it took me dating a vocalist/ songwriter to make me understand that I don’t have to be on stage to express myself, nor do I have to sing to get attention. Sometimes just wearing my insides on the outside does that.

We all have a purpose in this existence. So, I figure, when I grow up I just want to be me. To everyone. If by expressing myself or relating to others, helps them, then my job here is done. And the best thing about that is that my job is never done, because ‘relating’ is a full-time gig. And above all, it is fully rewarding.

 

little orphan me

Okay, so I’m not exactly a kid, I am little, and I am an orphan. My dad died at the ripe old age of 44, when I was 11. My mom died at 64. That was 3 months ago. I’ve had two children from two different fathers. Both of whom I was married to for 6 years each.

I am a writer…in my heart. My degree says I should be. That’s in English Literature. I have four billion things to write about, but I’m so unofficially ADD that I don’t know where to begin. It’s like a painter with the largest canvass, and too much paint, in the middle of New York City. Overwhelming chaos. So many opportunities, so few years.

I’m pretty sure I will have no followers. I’m also pretty sure that’s not the point for me. The point is that I have too much to say to keep creating notes on Facebook, but too little confidence to begin anywhere else. So this is practice. This is me trying to convince me of my reading-worthiness.

I will write about co-parenting, because I do that double-time, and in two totally different ex-relationships. I will also write about death. Again, I’ve had a double dose of the super important ones. I run my family cleaning business, have 12 women employees that I love like family, but that also give me headaches like their my…well ‘real’ family. But, and here’s the clincher, I’m coming up on my first holiday season of my life, without my best friend; my mother.

A little background on her. My mom, Judy, was superwoman. Except, instead of a cape, she wore high heels. Instead of a mask, she wore the perfect make-up. Instead of fighting evil villains, she fought breast cancer. And instead of taking care of the country or world and all its citizens, she took care of my dad, then my grandparents, and always me. My stepfather says that she finally lost her battle with breast cancer, and went home to be with God because I am okay. I wanted to tell her ‘No, stop!!! I’m not okay…or I am, but I will not be if you die, so don’t!!!’ but that would be pure selfishness. Love is not selfish. That’s God’s words, not mine.

My mom was the ‘bread-winner’. She ‘brought home the bacon’. There are many more of us now than when I was growing up; the ones with provider moms. At any rate, she taught me everything I know, and even some of what I practice, when it comes to running a business. She was brilliant. I have huge shoes to fill. I have lots of pressure on me to do so. But my mom always believed that I would write…a children’s book. It’s not where my heart is at right now in my life, but she may have had something there. She always did.

So, if any of this is relatable to you, I’ll keep you posted with all of the trials and errors that I encounter. I am dating, and have two boys. That’s also pretty interesting at times, considering that my boyfriend is a musician; so was my dad, and my stepfather.

I just know that life is as complicated or as simple as you want to make it. Drama doesn’t need to prevail, but sometimes it will, especially when you’re entering into a new chapter of this thing called human growth.