Monthly Archives: December 2013

ANOTHER YEAR

Things I’ve realized this past year:

For every personal issue that I address and overcome, three new things replace it.

I don’t know if I have enough time or energy left to become the person I always dreamt I’d be.

My expectations cause most of my pain.

There’s a difference between being kind and being a people pleaser. I’m both. And I don’t like the latter.

The man who will befriend me, accept me, celebrate me, and comfort me, probably doesn’t exist and I will most likely spend the rest of my life alone.

I need to let go of the dream for a better life, but wonder how I will face each day without that hope.

Old, childless Aunties are left to the wayside.

It’s hard to be humorous while my heart is breaking.

Good customer service is becoming the exception.

Common sense is not common.

With the blast of new technology and social media, we now communicate instantly and ineffectively with millions, and rarely talk honestly with the person right next to us.

Somewhere along the line, “Please” and “Thank you” were replaced by, “I gotta go pee” and “My bad”. We are advancing into a new form of ignorance that is less than charming.

Nature and nonhuman creatures have nourished and saved me this year.

The instincts of motherhood, the potency of a hot flash, or the intensity of grief, could power a city.

New body ailments crop up out of nowhere every couple of months. Apparently, I can no longer raise my arms above my head without getting a cramp in my ribcage. Makes for an interesting chest x-ray. And mammogram.

Grosse Ile has a secret mafia consisting of a well-organized, well-established gang of gray-hairs called the Grosse Ile Garden Club. Although we’ve never met, word has it that I’ve stepped on a few well-manicured toes by competing with their annual fundraising calendar. I also hear that although they will not break your legs, they may kick you in the shin. Or pull your hair. Haha.

I didn’t have my annual “curative date” this year – the one that cures me of my relationship-envy for a while. Last year’s was with an online man who was the most physically unattractive person I’ve ever met. I know that I’m an overweight, under average looking old woman, but this guy was reminiscent of an animated version of one of Rocky’s Siberian boxing opponents, and although I was stunned at first, I’m nothing if not gracious, and surprisingly, he had swagger, so we proceeded to have a good dinner and a few laughs. At the end of the night he gifted me an open-mouthed slobbery face-kiss. I waited until he left to wipe away his drool with my sleeve. Funny thing is, I actually considered seeing him again, but he never called. Haha. Joke’s on me.

My 15 pound Pomeranian and equally girth-y cat, Allie, have trained me and now rule my residence.

My last lover probably thought himself God-like with all the noise I made. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the moment we commenced, I got a cramp in my ribcage, my calf, my toes, and my back.

The last time I went to my closet, I could only find one dress that still fit, and I had to Fabreeze it because it smelled musty. And the bright red patent leather heels that I keep on my dresser as a reminder of my girly girl? Still unworn, but regularly dusted. An optimist? Hardly. Maybe a die-hard.

I love quickly. And I can’t live a guarded life. I guess it’s just not my way. I’m sure I could learn, but I’d rather take the hits than become cold and bitter. Upside? My recovery time is improving.

It is a testament to my restraint and some version of good mental health that I haven’t punched someone in the throat.

I will probably continue my New Year’s Eve tradition of watching, “The Twilight Zone” marathon on the Sci-Fi channel, but I will fall asleep long before midnight.

So much has happened this year. New friends. Reconnections. Endings. Too many hurt feelings, lost loved ones, turmoil. Too much spinning my wheels in place. I’m exhausted. Maybe people go out and drink on New Year’s Eve because they know they’re getting ready to start it all over again in January. Ugh.

Last year’s mantra of, “Just breathe”, has been replaced with, “All righty then . . .”

I once wrote about how I wanted to be remembered after my passing; the things I hoped that people would say; my generosity, kindness, honesty. That was over a year ago, though it seems like a lifetime, and boy have I changed. No words need to be written, there is nothing to video tape, or read from paper at a podium, no collages need to be made, and no one needs to sing for me, as I once wished. I know that there have been two times in my life when I sat bedside while someone died. Because of me, they were not alone. And I think they died easier. If that’s the best I do in this life, then that’s okay. I will say, though, it would also be nice if someone laughs when they think of me, and no one spits when they hear my name; or maybe the spitting is okay too . . . at the very least I would’ve riled someone. Haha.

“…every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.” – From the movie, “Vanilla Sky”.

I wish you all the best in the New Year.

xoJulia

SHOES ZOOMD ME

Categories: Grief/Healing, Holidays/Birthdays, Humor | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

SHOVELING SNOW

On a cold and rainy Sunday morning, and feeling restless, I drive to the park to shoot some photographs. Most times, I try to capture certain images, but usually find that nature has other plans. She can’t be controlled or predicted, but she’s always generous.

Today I hope to photograph the birds, and although they are teasing me with their joyful songs, they are shy and hiding.

But I am gifted other images in their stead:

“View through the Railing of a Bridge”.

great PAGOTA SHORE THRU BRIDGE

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“Fragile Life”. So precious, tentative, and beautifully vulnerable.

GREAT BERRIES SNOW

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“Tender Heart”.  The grey is pretty, but also serves to amplify the brightness and warmth of the sun.

greatRAIN DROP ON BRANCH

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As I’m leaving, something washes over me, overtaking me like a craving or a hunger pain, or nausea, or vertigo. It is Sadness. Acute. Profound. Demanding. It consumes me, pulsates through me, leaves me breathless, and finally rests on my chest.

I drive home, crying.

Christmas week comes and I am quiet. I will not be that person who schedules her grieving for the holidays. I will not be that person who is determined to dwell on everyone who isn’t here. I will not fault those who are blessed with family and festivities. I will stay home and be still. And I will give my grief the space that it needs for just this time. And not one inch more.

The day after Christmas, I awake restless and lonely. And although it’s unpopular to admit such frailty, today it’s filling more of me. I feel the largeness of my emptiness. Who would think that absence could take up so much room?

I cannot sit on the sofa and suffer. I must do something, so I drive to my parent’s house for snow shoveling therapy.

I shovel my parent’s corner lot.

And their Police Officer-next-door-neighbor’s lot.

And the house next to his.

And the one after that.

And the one after that.

I am proof that a cranky, grieving, obsessive, manically driven 54 year old woman can shovel an entire city block of snow by taking it one cement-sidewalk-square at a time.

As I smoothly push forward, I keep catching on the uneven parts of the cement. I am finding those spots where the sidewalk is cracked and lifted and I have jammed my shovel into them, jarring my momentum and hurting myself, as all of my force is unexpectedly and abruptly halted.

It gets me thinking about how we all expect life to be easier.

And how we are surprised when bad things happen. We feel betrayed when our bodies fail us or become diseased; we are dismayed when economies crash, unemployment flourishes, and daily life is a struggle; and we are overwhelmed and grief stricken when someone dies.

I think that life is like this stubborn, long-ass city sidewalk that I’m shoveling. Every couple of squares, some cement will rise up and stop us right in our tracks. We trip over it, we jam our shovels into it, and we cuss at it, wanting it to be smooth.

But we should expect things to be difficult, and inconsistent, and even tragic, and anything else . . . everything joyous, beautiful, or easy . . .  is a gift.

Once we accept that our journey will never be an easy one, it’s just a matter of learning to adjust and maneuver.

I am not performing good deeds today. I am thinking firstly of myself and working off this twisted emptiness. And although I enjoy knowing that someone will be surprised, it is a secondary, happy consequence.  Later though, I will remember and wonder if anyone is curious about who has favored them with this act. Or maybe they will mistakenly think better of their other neighbors for gifting them this labor of love? I hope so.

The best deeds are the ones you can’t be thanked for.

I complete my task, feeling calmer, and go home and put on my sweats and my grungy old greyish-white CVS bathrobe, and pour a cup of coffee.

Now, as I sit here writing, the muscles in my back begin to tighten . . . really, like . . . A LOT. I half-chuckle and open the blinds to let the light in.

It has begun to snow.

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“The Woman, The Warrior.”

SHOES ZOOMD ME  ME BOOTS ICEa

Categories: Bipolar/Depression, Grief/Healing, Holidays/Birthdays, Photography | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

I STOLE FROM YOU

I stole from you. Way back then.  I was an addict and a thief. I’m not making excuses; it’s who I turned into. It was wrong. I was wrong. And then I lied about it. I was supposed to be your friend.  So I’m owning it now. It’s all part of walking in this clear new world of mine. I have to close the door on my past in the right way. So I’m saying it now, ‘I am so sorry that I did that to you’.”

I had wanted to say those words for over 20 years, and in just one single humiliating and emotional moment, they are humbly spoken and graciously accepted.

I feel a weight lift off my chest . . . as another part of me is set free.

FLYING IN MIST

Categories: Mental Health, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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