Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Letter to My Sister

Dear Sister,

It's possible in the sea of love you'll undoubtedly receive today, you'll miss this message.  That's okay, I know you'll come across it later if not sooner.  It's no less true tomorrow than today. In fact, I actually started writing this letter in 2012. Better than never :)

Even though I may not get to celebrate your special day with you in person, I still honor the fact that you are present in my life.  Many moon seasons ago, you came into this world, the first child of the two quirkiest adults (if one could really call them that) I will ever have the pleasure of knowing.

The first lesson you taught me was to represent myself accurately to the world. I wasn't quite five years old yet like you and all my other peers at La Petite, but I was still closer to five than four. You distinguished me as four and three quarters, and from that moment on I always held myself to be more mature than I was, even to this day.

The second lesson you taught me was to see the humor in...everything...and not take the world so personally (I'm not sure I'll really ever get this one, but at least it's rattling around in there somewhere). From the first, "Hey, BITCH!" (I can't remember who even started this), I have always and will always remember that remarks that are meant to be offensive aren't always personal, and to choose to laugh where others choose to react with something less enjoyable.

The third lesson you taught me was to ask for help. There are times I look back regretfully at the scary things I would say to you when I was in my darkest moments. You had the courage to get me help. Even though it angered me at the time, I appreciate it even to this day. I owe every happy memory I have possessed since to your courage. Thank you for letting me be vulnerable and putting up with my shit.

The fourth lesson you taught me was to make no apology for being me, whoever or whatever that may be in the moment. In my eyes, you will always be a Goddess of freedom, freedom from the judgement of others and freedom from the judgement of self...even though I know you struggle at times, too.

We both have our own lives now, as I always suspected we would when we were children. I don't get to see you as much as I'd like. I don't get to play with your girls as often as I'd like. And yet I don't feel so far separated from you. I know you'll always be there for me, and I hope you know I am always here for you whatever the real or imagined distance may be. I will always love you, and you will always be my Sister.

Happy birthday, Debbie.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Under Construction

Ten days ago I made a promise I couldn't keep. That's not to say I won't deliver. I just didn't consider how time consuming it would be. Everything always seems so fleshed out in the realm of the mind, but when you start to make things manifest, you can find a lot of pot holes.

I spent several hours last week outlining where I wanted to take the series, how I wanted those thoughts organized, how much of my own experiences I should inject, even how many words the blasted posts should be. I had to battle creeping cats, desperate for snuggles as my days before returning to the office grew numbered. Speaking of the devil...

It wouldn't be so bad if the cat didn't stretch on top of my arms and then mash her face into my hands and the keyboard while pressing her backside up into my face.   Anyway....

Does that mean I'm giving up? Oh hell no! I have pages of content, but I'm realizing that I need to test out some ideas at least a little while in advance before I can just drop them out into the world.  I plan on relaunching the first Sunday of February, but don't hold your breath! I still have some work yet to do. I don't want to start half-cocked (again).

It's worth mentioning that this blog is one of a personal nature, first and foremost. It will always revolve around me, my life, and my interests, whatever flavor of the week any of those may be. But the only constant in my life is that of self-improvement. Anything I can do, I can do better. I may never achieve perfection, but that doesn't mean I won't aspire for it.

So while I have a series running once a week (a series which desperately needs a snappy name!) I'll be interspersing personal updates and thoughts just as I have in the past.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Opening Scene: 2013

winding road, forest, trees, slow, bend in the road

As I usually do during the latter half of December, I pondered all the wishful goals my little heart could ponder. The list never changed. Ideals and desires flipped by in my mind's eye like a spinning Rolodex.

Mostly, I reminisced about the excitement I felt at the beginning of last year. I had just been through tragedy, then an adventure. It was like the archetypal hero's quest with the journey (or two) across the mysterious body of water to a place of sacredness. Joseph Campbell, be proud.

And then my perfectly arranged executables dissolved like sugar cubes in hot water. A project at work came to a head earlier than expected, and so we hit the road sprinting and half-cocked. When the first phase closed, the second phase launched, nearly colliding and overlapping each other if it wasn't for our numerous protests begging for sanity.

From February through to early September, I spent most of my days on the road, working irregular hours, and staying up much later than I should. Though it was exhausting and unpredictable, I enjoyed the experience. I visited places I wouldn't have seen otherwise and treated to working with people who I technically work for every day, getting to know them, and being enriched because of it. And, despite the tediously long hours, we had a lot of laughs along the way. Most importantly, I loved being out of a cubicle and teaching others, empowering them as much as I was able and as much as they were willing to open their minds.

But when I started, I had no idea how long I would be on the road. It was months into it before I thought to create positive habits inline with my various goals. In fact, I lost all semblance of control, of will, flung around by the whims of what was thrown at me. I made little effort to even try, I had completely given up, lost sight of my dreams.

The malady of inertia possessed me for a long while. I didn't even know what I wanted from life as all my goals seemed to contradict each other, even though they had scarcely changed. I had changed. I wanted things I told myself could not be achieved. I tortured myself, convinced there was little, if anything, I could really do nothing to touch my dreams. For months.

Last week, I decided I had enough of myself. If I wasn't happy with myself, I decided I would change.

And so, I'm going to start an experiment. For the remainder of the year, I'm going to explore different themes each month, every week a new topic pertaining to that theme. I hope to encourage others to play along in transforming their lives into something more meaningful (to them, at least) and happier.

January is dedicated to the self, from inside to out, personality to style. I'll be offering questions for self-reflection, ideas for task-setting, and review of the results of previous week's experiments. You can expect posts related to this experiment every Wednesday, excepting the first Wednesday in January and July.

Each month will be independent of the next, so anyone can jump in at any time. If you decide to participate, I hope you share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, or I invite you to email me by clicking on "View My Complete Profile" to the right, then click "Contact Me".

Until next time, I wish everyone a happy and successful New Year!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Burn Out

I've been here for awhile, in the total burn out zone. The cumulative events of the last high-paced year, combined with the emotionally-charged roller-coaster of events of the prior two years, have left me drained.

I'm even more discombobulated than normal. Stretched thin, disorganized, and attempting to navigate way too many competing responsibilities. I can't remember anything for longer than five minutes. I depend on others to provide frequent reminders or some electronic gadget buzzing at me throughout the day to remind me of anything. Before the last year, I prided myself in maintaining complementary goals toward life growth. It's amazing how a friend can effect so much change in such an indirect way.

Of course, I have lots of ideas about what will make me happy. Being more fit, being more active, living at a slower pace, traveling the world, starting a family, trying new things, "finding my passion" that makes me oodles of money, and so on. But what I really need is space. Space from myself.

In seven weeks to the day, I will get that space. I will be going under the knife to have a benign, but large, tumor removed from the lining of my uterus. I'll have nothing to do but to rest. I'll be out of work on medical leave for six to eight weeks. Maybe longer if I screw up on the whole resting thing and break myself.

If you know me, you know how much I hate surgery. Hate and fear. The idea of sedation makes me wig and the anesthesia makes me feel like I'm dying, and I signed the paper giving some whacko I met 15 minutes prior the OKAY. I'm afraid of going to sleep and not waking up. Or waking up in tremendous amounts of pain. Or waking up confused and disoriented. Or waking up and getting bad news. And I won't be able to remember why or what. A portion of my life will be this big, blank, black hole.

So, yeah. I hate surgery.

Making preparations for it has been like preparing for my untimely demise, well, because that's exactly what I'm doing. I want to make sure Jeff and the Dan are taken care of, that my parents are left shelling out anything on my behalf. Do I really want to be cremated, or should I donate my parts to science? Or to a living human that needs them more than me? Or all of the above? Should my remains be deposited somewhere? Or left with a trusted loved one? Or split up among anyone who wants a piece of me? (Wow, total awesome mental image regarding my creditors! Cut off my dead arm and send it to Chase for me, will you? Sorry...that's a little gross. But it's funny, you have to admit that it's funny....)

At the moment, when I need to unwind I'm riling myself up with old episodes of Dr. 90210 on Netflix streaming. I don't like watching living flesh cut into or noses broken with fancy chisels, but it's getting easier. Like watching it happen to others will make my own experience easier.

But it won't.

I'll put on a smile and keep my cool until those Velcro straps wrap around my arms. Then the shivering will begin. Then the silent tears will stream down my face. Some nurse will make a futile attempt to comfort me while I am completely incapable of communicating.... And then she'll wake me up.

From there, all I can do is wait. Kept overnight to rest, discharged for home in the morning. Exiled to the couch unless I get my shit together to get steps for the bed. And there I will stay. Dependent on someone else watering me, feeding me, making sure I get adequate light, and then little berries will...oh, wait.

It will just be me and my healing (and my super awesome friends who I suckered into babysitting me!). No work. No obligations to others. Just some space. Although I hate the means, I'm looking forward to the end. To the rest. To the quiet. And hopefully a metric fuckton of rain, because I know for a fact that makes me happy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

To Have Love and Lost and to have Lived

I sit on my balcony, shrouded in pine trees, glancing up at the starry pre-dawn sky. Next time I'm in the mountains, I should remember the stars. I used to spend hours watching them in my youth.

Looking back, it's funny that I dreaded something like my birthday. Perhaps the changes brought by the Autumnal Equinox likewise shifted something in my logic, but I welcome it. A year ago yesterday, on my thirtieth birthday, the terrible loss of my Brother was discovered. He had passed two days earlier, but that didn't change the perceptions and it certainly didn't change the date listed on the certificate of death.

I felt selfish for wanting a day to celebrate my own birth. I simmered in guilt and anger that forever my solar return was tainted in the tragic loss from the Earth. I couldn't reconcile the two and for the two months leading up to my birthday, I wallowed in depression and self-hate.

With my travels slowing down, I lacked the distraction of something fast-paced that I could utterly lose myself to. And yet I lacked the time to connect with those I needed most to keep me grounded and level-headed.

Yesterday morning as I read memorials to my Brother alongside exclamations for my birthday, I cried. I noted the parallel threads to Jeff and he said something along the lines that it sucks that I'll have to deal with that forever.

And then I made a choice. In seconds everything about the way I felt and thought about this day changed, because I decided it needed to. In a moment, self-loathing turned to celebration. I basked in the knowledge that I had the blessing of sharing my day with someone so special. In a moment in time we represent both sides of the coin of life. He would have been pleased knowing that we together kept the momentum of Libra-balance going. It's a little running joke we had going for over ten years and it makes me happy even if no one else understands.

I'm done with the sadness, even though I would much rather have one of his infamous bear hugs. Much rather hear him say, "Happy Birthday, sweetheart," than hear it echoing in my mind. I will relish the memories I have rather than mourn them when I walk by his photograph several times a day.

Peace be with my Brother. And peace be with me.

Updated 10/12/2012 to fix BlogPress formatting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where Have I Been?

(Answer: I don't know but here's a picture of a seagull stalking me.)

Obviously my regular updates have been non-existent for the last four months. The last post I was working on was a sentimental letter for my "sister" in honor of her birthday. I never finished it. Her birthday was February 13. Epic fail.

The last several months I've been on the road for work. I had hoped to do more traveling this year, but this isn't quite what I had in mind. I've had mixed feelings about the whole experience. Well, I still have mixed feelings.

This adventure (and that is my understatement for the year) has been chaotic, fast-paced, and relentless. I am lucky if I have one solid day home a week, and that day is usually strained between errands and numerous relationship maintenance activities (couch time with the boyfriend, lunch dates with girlfriends, dinners with family members, etc.). I have had very little time for writing. I have had very little time for any of my goals or personal projects.

When I do have a moment for me, I'm anxious. I'm so wound up and stressed out I can't focus on much of anything. Why on earth to all of my hobbies or enjoyable activities require focus? When I stand still for more than five minutes, it means I'm unconscious. The one weekend where I had no plans SPECIFICALLY SO I WOULD DO NOTHING BUT WRITING? I slept through it. The whole thing. I came home and fell asleep, woke up to eat, and went back to bed (at 7pm). The next morning, exhausted by my morning ritual of drinking a cup of coffee, I went back to bed. I spent a few hours a day awake, breaking up that period of wakefulness between extended cat naps.

Apparently I needed the rest because the week following my downward spiral, everything started coming back into focus. I received a renewed sense of my goals, my ambitions, and my drive to accomplish what I set out to accomplish last year. The directions have altered slightly, but the process is becoming more refined as I stop and re-evaluate the direction I'm headed.

After nearly four months of being on the road, I finally had a week home with my family. I didn't, as usual, accomplish most of the things I set out to do. But I did accomplish some. Today I'm back on the road for another six weeks, and it looks highly likely that this round will be followed by another six weeks immediately after.

I couldn't tell you where I've been; the whole thing has been an unfortunate blur. I can tell you that I won't let myself get lost in the chaos. I have dreams that need fulfilling and a horrible penchant for being impatient about getting what I want.

And it definitely involves more mornings like this one....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 10, 2012


Life certainly is a process, isn't it?

As I've mentioned, ad nauseum, been doing a lot of "house" cleaning the last few months.  As I've been making space to change, opportunities that I feel are in line with my desires and values have been rushing in to fill the space.  It's been amazing and overwhelming at the same time.

It's also been really hard as I let go of things that I love and have loved but no longer fit into my life as well as they once had.  From things to people, the experience has been heartbreaking as well as uplifting.  If my life had a flavor, it would be "bittersweet."  Maybe a little salty, too.

There are some things I still hold on to that I can't let myself release, even though it would probably be a major benefit to do so.  For as much space as I have created, I still crave more.  For all the fresh air I've been taking in, I am still suffocating.  I have this uncomfortable sense that I am running out of time.

Among certain friends, there has been a long-standing joke that I am decisive, but when it comes to making major life decisions I hate committing to one path over another.  I'm afraid if I choose something, I'll miss something else.  As a result, I often miss both completely due to extreme indecision or my experience with either is so full of distractions, I miss it anyway.  I've lived a life as though no experience is better than making the wrong choice.

I'm finally starting to see that in itself is the wrong choice.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, and I don't know how to go about breaking bad habits and insufferable patterns I can see but seem powerless (unwilling?) to change.  I need space but I'm afraid of the emptiness it brings.  What would life be like with real change?

I desperately want things to be different, but in order for that to happen I need to commit to be different.