“To 2012, may it suck less”… (In where our heroine learns that sometimes, life imitates art)…

That was our bravely optimistic toast as we brazenly ushered in the New Year. At the time it was a cautiously optimistic challenge. The universe took it somewhat differently. It appears that it was a defiant challenge to see, just see what we were made of. Remember in that one movie when the goofily optimistic, yet courageous protagonist boldly proclaims to his bedraggled and weary ka-tet, “But it can’t get any worse!”. Always a cringe-worthy moment. But this wasn’t cinema. This was Real Life. And in Real Life, there are no crescendos and epic montages where it all gets resolved and we move on, stronger and wiser.

No. Progress happens at a snail’s pace. Especially when you are, as my dear friend Elizabeth is fond of saying, “going through it.”

I am not even attempting to say that 2012 was sucky. Or terrible. Or the worst of times. Hell, the world didn’t even end! But there were moments, boy howdy, were there some moments. Moments where, if this were a sitcom, someone in the daily meetings would consider cancelling the show, “because it’s just such a “downer, man.”

There were, however, as is typical in my life, moments of incredible, take-your-breath-away beauty. Charles Dickens, he really did have it nailed. It is the worst of times, and the best of times. Life is not an endeavor for the faint of heart.

So, as for this whole, “taking stock of your life” bullshit just because the calendar is rolling over, to quote Grosse Pointe Blank, “leave your livestock alone”.

I will say this about my last year: I never, ever could have survived it without my nearest and dearest. I stand here and shout out your names so that all can hear – you are the life-rope.

Natasha, Mitchell, Elizabeth, Gemma, and Dad. You have the hearts of lions, and at times had to fight like ones. Thank you. And Kevin, Kevin, Kevin… there are no words. You are who I want to be like when I grow up.

Eucharista.

So, no brave boasts about 2013. But babies, I am ready for it. I am stronger in the broken places. And have no one to thank but everyone for helping me make it so. Let’s go be marvelous. Let’s go shine.

Happy New Year.

It’s not that I’m sorry I met you. It’s not that I’m sorry it’s over…

“It’s not that I’m sorry there is nothing left to say”.

But when I curled up with my fiance’s sleeping form this morning, and felt his arm casually, and sleepily curl around me in a protective gesture, I thought to myself that there is nowhere I would rather be. Even in his sleep, the lovely K has got my back. And my front. And has the knives to prove it. He is marvelous, with his hands and his tongue that says all the things I want to, but cannot, and can make me laugh, even when I am angry at the whole world. In short, he is
magnificent.

It gives one pause. Just when you think the world has chewed you up, and spit you out, you just might have earned this one, baby. And bonus points if you get the references. To my lovely K, who has saved my life in more ways than he will ever know.

Here we go again…

“The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being.”

- Tom Robbins

I was musing, as I often do, while driving to work in the sleepy twilight, at how lucky I have been to know the love I have. There was a lovely pregnant couple outside the 7-11, going through their morning routine, and they were just so sweet to each other. I thought about how, given how twitchy and crazy all of us are, it’s a damn miracle that the human race has survived at all. I sometimes think it’s a miracle that any partnerships survive. Because you know that at times, that poor pregnant girl wants to cut her husband to shreds while he sleeps for not picking her up at the right time, and he wants to tell her that she’s acting cray-cray because of the ENORMOUS amounts of hormones that are coursing through her bloodstream are far too much to deal with. But somehow, they are making it work. Just like I know that when that stupid alarm of K’s goes off at 0445 on my day off, there are times when I am thinking about how much sleep I could be getting. And though I want to cry about it, the first thing out of my mouth is, “I love you.” This is what’s known as doing the work.
I wrote a post about it, long ago. I wanted to over-come the habit in my family that is, “you’re family, I can treat you however because I love you and I can be myself around you.” It’s a backwards compliment.

It’s nice to be nice.

So, I make a conscious effort everyday to be my best around the people who matter most. I do not always succeed. But I make an effort. I think that counts for something.

The human heart is the most resilient of muscles. I have been lucky enough to have six people, outside of my family, that have changed my life irrevocably, as far as relationships go. (And I know, it’s getting tiresome. I am ridiculously in love with someone, against all my better judgment and expectations, so it’s a topic that’s weighing on my mind.) But I do know this…

When the boy that you were really good friends with when you were fifteen and have kept in touch with ever since resurfaces in your life when you need someone to just… give a crap about you, who listens when you just want to cry on the phone about how your life is in shambles, and actually listens to you when you do, give him the benefit of the doubt. When he shows up on your lunch break and takes you to sushi just because he wants to be around you, no matter the mess that you are at the time, smile and go with it. When he calls you in the middle of the night, just wanting to talk, pick up the phone. You’ll end up having one of those middle-school, ridiculous conversations, and you’ll thank me in the morning.

He might turn out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, even though you took a terribly circuitous route to get there. When he asks you, after spending one really great actual date night, if you want to “just give it a shot” at being in a relationship, and he’s still persistent even after you hem and haw and give multiple excuses as to why you’re not really feeling like “getting into a relationship right now”, shut the fuck up and throw open the doors.

He’ll buy you a tattoo for your birthday.

Your parents will love him because he treats you like you walk on water.

Six months later, he’ll be living with you full time, much to your brother’s chagrin, but he seems to tolerate it, because he just makes you so damn happy.

He’ll make you laugh until you want to cry.

He’ll play you a mix tape he made, and look at you incredulously when you don’t know that track 15 is the Beach Boys. And it’s from “Happy Feet”.

He’ll hold you during the bad-gunky, and understand.

He’ll tell you you’re beautiful in the morning when you’ve just thrown on a pashmina and a tank top to drive him to work at the ass-crack of dawn.

And one day, you’ll wake up next to him and just marvel at how you had you had to circle the globe to come back right to where you’re supposed to be.

He’ll change your life.

So, babies. Don’t shut the door. No matter how much it hurts. Don’t get me wrong. I am terrified. But at the heart of love is fear. If you aren’t terrified of losing it, it ain’t worth it.

 

Angels with dirty smirks…

The thing that makes K and I work so well?

We’re both beaten and bruised. We came back up swinging everytime. We believe growing up is for suckers. We believe in singing at the tops of our lungs. We know that our power animal is a twelve-year-old rude boy with a bad attitude and a pure soul. We are tired, but true of heart. And there is only one commandment: FUN. (Never at the expense of another). We’re way too cool for that.

Paging Hemingway to the white courtesy phone…

Yesterday I performed a very painful, yet necessary exorcism/amputation.

 

WARNING. This is an extremely emotional post. Over-sharing? possibly. But necessary to get that “bad gunky” out. (Thank you Stephen King).

“what happens to a dream that dies? Does it whither like a raisin in the sun?”

I had to do it all by myself, which was necessary for my forward progress. I can’t say I wanted it that way. But as my dear M.W. is fond of saying, “it is what it is.”. So true.

You see, two years ago I met a man. He changed my life. He sent me on the adventure of a lifetime. I traveled the world with him, and had every intention of being his forever, as long as that was. He had other plans. As it is, he left me back in the same place, with the dream in shambles. And having been promised a shiny, shiny thing, that turned out to be a shabby, rotten thing, I fell apart. In the meantime, he destroyed my confidence and sense of self-worth that I had worked so hard to build up. In essence, he destroyed me. ME, the intrepid bookslinger/bike-monkey/superhero girl. I bought into something that was beautiful, but it was all a dream. (As in Fiction.) Make no mistake about it, I went into it with my eyes open. I just didn’t know that underneath all that promise of being a proud member of the ex-pat crew, and being a world-traveler was this rotten, self-serving heart.

So, I found myself back in OK, the home of my birth, having missed it so hard through so many trials. I did not know how I missed it so. Until I left it for places unknown. A horizon you can see forever. It’s quiet. And the people are just so god-damn nice. Do not get me wrong. I have absolutely no regrets. My mettle has been tested, and I am as tough as they come. I have a wicked-sharp blade, and a heart that’s been beaten and come back, again and again. I try to be the bigger person. And the universe seems to want to reward me for that. It sent me K. I believe in karma. And apparently, karma believes in me.

In the height of my despair, and the height of my need, the universe sent me this wonderful man. Knowing that perhaps I had earned it.We reconnected at a point where we both needed something substantial. Something you can build on.

So, yesterday, I decided to go through all my stuff from China. All this forgotten beauty and magic that has been my life. It was painful. Strike that, it was awful. And what did K do? Stick by me. The whole time. Entertaining the whole ordeal. 

There is too long a list to entertain the idea of why I love this boy. But number one is: he puts up with my baggage. He went through it with me and he still didn’t run away.

He plays me the Beach Boys when I feel sad. (That’s a close number 2)

Number one on the list is, HE IS KIND. He is a decent person. And he tells the truth.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

 

“I owe her no more than a woman who threw me a life-rope while I was drowning.” – Julie Powell (a.k.a. “a love letter to my mother”)…

To the woman who birthed me. Who wanted me so badly that she spent considerable effort trying to get me. Who made me know from the moment I came screaming into this world, that I was wanted and loved as much as a child can hope to be. I was no happy accident. Thank you.

For teaching me to be fearless.

“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll still land amidst the stars.”

For teaching me that faith and knowledge are the same thing, but in a different form. And for inspiring me a faith in knowledge is a life-long journey, and worth the trip.

For teaching me to follow my dreams, no matter how foolish. Because the opposite side of the coin of foolishness is bravery.

“Courage is Fear that has said it’s prayers.” – Maya Angelou

For teaching me how to be a mom.Because you are great at it.

I am so blessed and lucky to have a best friend/confidant/constant movie date/lunch date who I can tell anything to. The women in our family are brave, intrepid, outspoken, and force to be reckoned with. I am proud to be able to count myself in those numbers.

I love you more.