Birthday

•13 May 2010 • Leave a Comment

“Oh” — DMB

And it’s cold and darkness falls
It’s as if you’re in the next room so alive
I could swear I hear you singing to me

I love you oh so well
Like a kid loves candy and fresh snow
I love you oh so well
Enough to fill up heaven overflow and fill hell

13 minutes until my 27th birthday. The night before my birthday has been a struggle ever since Mom died.

Like a typical kid I hated going to bed because I, as I still do, didn’t want to miss anything. But the night before my birthday (Christmas Eve, the night before Field Trip day, etc.) I happily crawled into bed anticipating the wonders of the next day. My mom woke me up most mornings by singing some song off key and my birthday was no different. She’d sing Happy Birthday and I’d get ready in a hurry and barrel down the stairs to the one present I was able to open before school.

The first birthday without her was the hardest. It had been fewer than 3 months and I couldn’t bear the thought of waking up to silence. The birthdays following that were different only in that it got a little easier to sleep. When I started this post I thought, “this year is markedly different from the rest,” but it seems as though I was wrong. I’m not ready for sleep. I’m not ready for tomorrow.

A major loss during one of most formative times in your life affects the way you view everything else. I don’t know whether I’m not ready for my birthday because I miss her and the magic she brought to the day or if it’s the normal progression of things. Birthdays are supposed to lose a little sparkle every year, right?

So as I sit here fighting sleep (like most nights) I’m a little sad, a lot reflective, and so very grateful for the 19 birthday mornings that I had.

(Yes, I know this whole post has been a clusterfuck of poorly arranged thoughts but it’s my fucking birthday so I can do what I want. 😉 )

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Ten

•18 February 2010 • 1 Comment

When she suggested that I write a “10 Things That Make Me Happy” blog I was in such a state that I couldn’t think of more than one. But when I wrote this last night it was a struggle to narrow the list down to ten. This is a good thing.

10 Things That Make Me Happy (in random order)

BFFs — They have generous hearts and old souls. They strengthen me, make me laugh when I am angry (and sad and happy and lonely and scared and silly . . . .) They say nothing instead of the wrong something. They look after the heart on my sleeve. For them I would. I would.

Knowledge — I am a question-asker and an answer-seeker.

Music — Thanks to my parents, music has always been a part of my life. When I was younger I’d sit with my mom at the piano while she played and sing along. I still sing. Constantly. I love when lyrics clear everything up. I love hearing an interesting drum beat or guitar riff that I’d missed during the first twenty listens. I love that it can fit my mood or change it. I love that there’s always more.

Kids — Especially all of “my” kids. They force me to see the world differently, maybe because they have fresh eyes, maybe because they know what’s inside. They teach me over and over what unconditional love is. They say wonderful, silly, sometimes ridiculous things and they regularly challenge me in ways I’d never imagined.

Pajamas and blankets — No explaination needed.

Words — Written, spoken, set to music — words hold it all. I feel I will always struggle to find the right ones. And that’s okay.

“Beckie Days” — Beautiful, cloudless, breezy, cool days. Rock-skipping, tire-swinging, park-visiting, duck-feeding, road-tripping, fire up the grill days. These are the days when nothing hurts and everything seems possible.

School/office supplies — I don’t know why. I’ve been to Office Max twice this week. Don’t ever ask me to borrow them.

Travel/New Places — Because it’s about the journey and the destination. Travel makes me feel connected.

Books — They way they smell and feel in my hands. I can go anywhere and learn anything.

Blessed

•18 February 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am so unbelievably blessed. First and foremost I have this amazing family. Though this doesn’t consist of cousins, and aunts, and uncles, and grandparents it is mine. My family is everything to me. I know with them I will always be okay. No matter what tries to take me out at the knees. You know who you are; I love you.

My parents worked hard to instill in me all of the important things in life: generosity, friendship, love of music, acceptance of others, honesty, charity, compassion, respect, desire for education, etc., etc., etc. I am so lucky to have been blessed with parents that I want to be just like.

I have a home in a safe area. I have a car (the one that I wanted in the color that I wanted with the bells and whistles that I wanted) that reliably (if sometimes too quickly) gets me from here to there. I have clean drinking water, warm water for bathing, and a washing machine to really make all of this water work hard. When I am hungry there is food and when I’m cold or cuddly I have a menagerie of blankets. There are clothes on my back and shoes for my feet, glasses upon my face to compensate for my less than stellar eyesight.

Then there are all of the things that aren’t “necessary” but that I do so enjoy, though I know I take them for granted, take advantage of their availability. My music, books, movies, electronics, hair straightener, make-up, and wine. Framed photos on walls that are painted the color of my choosing. All 20 of my nails are painted and my water is bottled.

I have had the opportunity to travel, in and outside of this country. Though I have a wanderlust and an ever-growing list of places to visit, I appreciate that I have even been out of the city. This doesn’t seem like much since there are many that travel outside the city on a daily basis. But there are far more who are bound to such a small area for a lifetime, who never have the opportunity to get out.

My little world isn’t violent and scary and unstable. There are schools (though I continually question them and catalog what is lacking, the truth of it is that we have them and that is a good thing. While the system is fucked and the education it provides [please note I referred to the education the SYSTEM provides, not the teachers because sadly, right now their hands are kind of tied.] may not be ideal, the children can read.) and physicians, and a government that is comparably stable. I can rant for days about education and government, pharmaceutical companies and health insurance greed but really . . . look at how much worse it could be. (I do apologize for that mess of a paragraph. Welcome to my head. Deal.)

SO. LUCKYPRIVILEGEDBLESSED. APPRECIATIVE.

Books

•7 October 2009 • Leave a Comment

So thanks to her I’ve discovered @FLWbooks on Twitter and flashlightworthybooks.com. The site contains hundreds of book lists like What New Yorkers Read on the Subway and Norman Mailer’s 10 Favorite American Novels. So whether you’re an avid reader or are just looking for a great book to pass the time in your doctor’s waiting area, I think it would behoove you to check it out! (Oh, and follow Peter on Twitter!)

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•3 October 2009 • Enter your password to view comments.

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Need

•29 September 2009 • Leave a Comment

FUCK I can be dense sometimes. When am I going to realize that it is okay to need people, okay to lean on people, especially when they say “I’m always here” and make every concession to be here? It doesn’t seem to matter what the situation is I always convince myself that I’m being a burden, a pain in the ass, an inconvenience . . . needy. I’ve discovered an ugly truth: what I’m really doing is not having enough faith in the people that love me. And why?

Have I ever been annoyed when someone needed me? Have I ever called someone needy because they needed a friend, a hug? Of course not so how can I think that I would be treated any differently? This is really something that I need to work on because you have never ever given me any reason to think that I was too much to handle, or that you didn’t want to deal with me. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So instead of apologizing for not giving you the benefit of the doubt, I am going to change. I am going to learn that I am worthy of love and support and I am going to accept it without question.

Mess

•29 September 2009 • 2 Comments

I heard a song the other night, a song that used to be a favorite, a song that I played over and over – before she died. Now it’s a song that haunts and hurts in its beauty, a song that I haven’t listened to in years because it’s just another deafening voice in my head that screams, rather insensitively, “THIS IS REAL!”

I listened to it several times. I lost count.

From “Hear You Me”
by Jimmy Eat World

So what would you think of me now,

So lucky, so strong, so proud?

I never said thank you for that,

Now I’ll never have a chance

May angels lead you in

Hear you me my friend

On sleepless roads the sleepless go

May angels lead you in

And if you were with me tonight,

I’d sing to you just one more time

A song for a heart so big

God wouldn’t let it live

May angels lead you in

I hope she can hear me.

Every night when I’d get home I would go to her room, place my hand on her shoulder and say, “Goodnight Mom, I love you.” That way she could sleep soundly knowing I was home. Safe. I realize now that that ritual was as important and as comforting to me as it was to her.

Occasionally these words still escape my lips when I’m feeling particularly lost and am in need of guidance. I hope she can hear me when I find myself digging a ditch, digging myself right into some mess or another (because though I do learn from my mistakes there seems to be a statute of limitations on certain lessons). In situations such as these when I feel up to my spleen in thick sticky mud I can’t help but remember.

Remember a specific instance in which she opened my eyes and I saw a person in my mother, a warm person with a wide-open heart was there inside the woman I only knew as my (wonderful) mom. She dug me out with her bare hands and made everything better, never once judging or scolding.

The 11th hour found me reading “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and assignment I’d had for weeks. The test was the next day and I hadn’t even made it through the first quarter of the book. When my mom came in to check on me, my typically bitchy and impatient self berated her for interrupting. I had no time for such intrusions!

She sat down next to me on my bed, took the book from my furious hands, not bothering to save my place. When she asked what was wrong (I suspect she already knew) my hostility melted into tears that racked my body with sobs. She opened her arms and held me as I tried to force words into the spaces between short shallow gasps.

The curve ball she then threw out made it a moment I’ll never forget. My mom, the straight-A student turned award-winning teacher told me to go to bed and get some sleep . . . and drop the class the next day. WHAT?!

“What about the registration documentation that needs to be sent to the insurance company?”

Her response: another curve ball. “I’ll submit your initial registration information.” WHAT?! This from the woman who was always above-board, always reliable, responsible, and honest. This is the woman who once grounded me and entire summer because I’d lied to her.

Though I did not learn a lesson about procrastination that night, I did learn something far more valuable. Sometimes when someone has really fucked up the best thing you can do is hold on tight and tell them that it’s all okay. After all, we’re our own worst critics and occasionally our own worst enemies.

Lately I’ve been feeling stuck, in need of direction. God damn it, Ames, just tell the fucking truth!

I spent 9 wonderful months across the country with my best friend and the smartest, funniest, most amazing darling girl, loving the company and the weather and the scenery and the trees and . . . the change. And knowing that I was helping. After all, that’s why I went in the first place. Since I returned I’ve done nothing but screw up my life. The most pathetic part about it is that I did it in the most passive way possible.

I sit here barely able to see the screen through the tears. I sit here so desperately wanting her to hold my hand and help me fix this mess I’ve created. Or at the very least tell me that it’s going to be okay. In the spirit of complete honesty I have to say that I also want to tell her how angry, how very very angry I am that she left. I want to tell her that none of this would’ve happened if she’d been here. I am childish and stupid. And scared.

Now, at 26 years old I shouldn’t need her to bail me out but I sure do wish it was a possibility. I do, however, need to be held tight and loved no matter what shenanigans I’ve gotten myself into. And most importantly I need to fix this. I. Need to fix this.