Friday, December 24, 2010
I have just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love. Honestly, I had little motivation to read this charming little escape from reality (and what little motivation I did have, came from the Adonis-like form of Javier Bardem in the recent film), however, every time I go to Minneapolis I choose a book out of my cousin's basket of girly books and read it. It's my foray into the world of romance novels. I love it. This particular foray, however, held more substance.
I didn't particularly enjoy all of the novel, but it held certain nuggets of truth for me. The story was good, but honestly a little cheesy. How many women really have the opportunity to take a year off of life to go figure out how to be a person? Really? She does figure out how to be a person though and that means she figures out a few important things that were beneficial for me to read.
One thing that she figures out in the Ashram she lives in for a while is to find her own mantra. The one her Guru gives her, just doesn't do it for her. So she chooses her own. The particular mantra didn't do it for me, but the idea of having a phrase I can repeat to myself was novel. I chose this one: "I remain. I am still here." It settles me down when I start to become overwhelmed with this world. Whenever I feel that I am losing my mind, or myself, or my soul to work, or grief, or anger, or boys (yes I just lumped my boy dramas in with the much more weighty and important stress factors in my life), I just say to myself, "I remain. I am still here."
Although this year has brought a lot of huge changes to not only my life, but my person and my soul as well, I am still here. I said in my last post that "that girl died". And she did. But I am still here. Still remaining. (side note: The word that St.John uses in John 15, when Jesus says "Remain in me" is the say verb root used by James when he talks about Perseverance. Just FYI. I love that).
This reminder that I am still here is so important, because one thing I haven't lost this year is faith in my ability to care for people and to achieve things. It's when I lose myself that I become afraid that I am unable to keep myself afloat. When I am here and present, I am able. I am capable of taking care of me, but only if I am here. Being here sometimes feels like it's going to take a lot of energy, but can I just tell you that being here is inevitable and since I have to be here anyway, I might as well acknowledge it and take care of myself.
So world, "I remain. I am still here."... my natural next words would have been "Don't mess with me", but I'm tired of believing I can stop tragedy and change. Rather, let me just say, "I remain." because no matter the tragedy and change, nothing is going to happen to that truth.
PS. In other news, The Fat Lady stopped humming and started to sing. By this I mean that I finally quit. Thought you might like to know.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
But I'm getting better. Every day I wake up with even more awareness of this life in me. And it scares me. But I am getting the courage to figure out how to live again. I don't like it. I still want to crawl into a ball and just sleep every day away. But there is fight in me that won't let me do that. A restlessness. I hate that restlessness. It's annoying. It doesn't let me relax. It keeps me in constant anxiety, because I can't stop the fight to live, but neither can I stop the desire to just sleep.
I am stuck. I can't remember what it felt like way back then when I was me. I keep trying to get back to that person, to that feeling. But she doesn't exist anymore. She died. and I have to learn how to live again. I'm trying new things, testing different waters, reexamining the past, redefining the future. I'm becoming a person again.
There is one thing that lets me know I am getting better. I am ready to love. To fall in love. To survive without love. To survive love. I'm ready to stop this thing I've done - this thing where I purposely go out with people I don't care about so that I don't have to worry about hurting them or getting hurt by them. With them I don't have to worry about the fact that I have no emotions to invest, because they aren't real to me. But then someone barged past my emotionless wall and surprised me. And I began to see that I was cowering behind my "okay" facade.
So moving on. A friend wrote this, " The question becomes how much of our outlook is self-invented through our continual assessment of tangible occurrences in our everyday lives". That is the question indeed.
Friday, December 10, 2010
No not that kind of love. He's married. To my best friend. But I L-O-V-E love him.
Timothy Morris is married my very best friend in the whole wide world, Julie Morris. When I first met Tim, honestly, I didn't care for him much. I mean I could see why Julie thought he was attractive, but I didn't get anything else about him. As I got to know him, I saw that he was fun, but beyond that I didn't know what to do with him. He didn't seem like a real person to me. He was the fun guy that we hung out with.
Then Julie started dating him, and I really didn't know what to do. I mean, where were his real thoughts? Who was this guy? And then tragedy hit. He was driving us home and crashed my car. That wasn't the tragedy though. The tragedy was my reaction. I was terrible. I put way too much into it. I was bitter and resentful. I was wrong.
Then they got married. I was even more lost. My best friend, my other half, was married to someone I didn't understand and I just had to accept it. I was beginning to warm up to him, to like him as person, but I still didn't know what to do. I felt lost because my best friend changed when she fell in love. It took me a long time to see how good that was.
In the two and half years they have been married, I have fallen in love with Tim. He is a man among men. Sure he is flawed, but I wouldn't have him any other way. He is so in love with Julie that I see how much she needs him. And he is honest in how much he needs her. And their marriage is one I aspire to. Timothy quickly became my best friend by extension. It's almost like my friendship with Julie has expanded to include this amazing man who is exactly the man best friend I've always needed and never had. I love him.
After loving Tim, came respecting Tim. This is not usually the way things go for me. Usually I respect and then love. But not with Tim. He has taught me so much about love and humanity and honesty. I loved him because Julie loved him, and because he just such a lovable guy. I respect him because he has grown (more than most men I've met) from a boy into a man in just a few short years. I respect his pain, his humor, his vigor for life. I respect his faith and his pursuit of that faith. I respect his diligence and hard work. I respect his love for his wife, which is better by far than my love for her.
Timothy Morris, I (obviously) could not have chosen better for Julie. I could not have chosen better for myself. I admire you and how you deal with life. I love you dude. You just plain old rock my freaking socks.
So Timo, I will see you soon. And we will drink coffee and have a grand old bashing time.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Then I look at myself and I literally think, "I am totally living this life."
And then I wonder, "Am I living or am I just surviving... just making it through?"
I am struggling to make heads or tails of this world, but somehow each day ends and the essentials have been completed. Rent has been paid, work has been amply completed, I've invested in relationships.
But have I done anything to make this world better? Have I made my life better?
Other than keeping myself alive, the answer is resoundingly no.
I know I'm keeping it together, but my brother made a difficult observation: We Gomes are very good at keeping it together, and that has no bearing on our ability to live.
I just don't know how to change this pattern. I have goals and plans and dreams and hopes, I just don't know how to take the step from here to the step where I begin working on achieving those things. I am good at achieving, but that doesn't mean that I am good at achieving what I actually want.
So, here's the goal: Stop living this day to day existence. My hope has once again reverted to "Time will pass and eventually this will be over. Someday this will change. Just take one day at a time. One hour. One moment. And soon you will be able to sleep and sleep takes this all away." I am pretty sure this is called depression.
Here is how I plan to achieve said goal:
1. Make plans.
2. Set achievable monthly goals (monthly because daily and even weekly seem just too hard right now.)
3. Keep on grieving. I know it's hard Rebecca, but the grieving now, will make later so much better.
Here is what I am proud of:
1. I have staid true to myself (somehow?) in the last weeks. At the end of the day at least I am honest.
2. I still know myself. This is totally awesome. I'm not lost. Just stuck.
3. I have had some success. I can still be awesome even if I am not awesome at those things I want to be awesome at.
4. I am learning how to rest and when to rest. Desperation has some sort of amazing effect on people.
Here is what I would like to change:
1. My attitude toward life. I have gotten beyond the anger with an intense need and desire for joy. The anger and bitterness creep (or rather barge) in often, but I need joy and resolve like never before. So, somehow, I keep on finding it.
2. My ability to accomplish. I am certainly keeping it together... but I would like to excel, not just succeed. I still want better (another thing to be proud of).
3. I want to figure out how explain who I am to other people. The condescension is annoying. The arrogance absurd. The pity, just downright pathetic. I want to be able to look them in the face and have that look alone be enough to show the world that I've got this.
At the end of the day, no matter how dark the valley, and no matter how deadly, I am still determinedly plodding. And that is certainly something. And I still have pride.
And all that still makes me smile.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I've had a lot of practice with death. I'm not so afraid of it. It can be peaceful. And this death was peaceful.
But it still sneaks up on me at the strangest times: Driving on the freeway, putting on my make up, taking off my shoes. He is still there in my heart and he is still dead. I am still broken. It's all still not right.
I'll be back when this is over. For now, I am resting in my grief.
Monday, October 18, 2010
While I am rejoicing that my family has gained a new little lovely, my heart is full of the most immense sorrow. Yesterday, my dearest grandfather, Peter August Gomes, Jr. passed away. We've known and expected his death for a few months now, but not that long ago, he was bossing me around and checking in on my day to day business.
I had a very special relationship with my grandfather. He was my favorite man in the whole world. He was superman. He could do anything. As a child, I was certain that he must be bff's with the President of the United States, because Grandpa knew just everything and just everyone. People would ask me if I was knew "Pete" just about every where I went. Grandpa was just that involved.
I loved this man with my whole heart and soul. I based my very identity on his very identity. I am Pete's Granddaughter. Through and through. I cannot speak ill of the man. I know he has flaws. I have seen the handiwork of some of his greater ones (i.e. much of my father), but to me he was never anything but wonderful. He loved me, provided for me, and he showed up all the time. No occasion was complete without him. I became Catholic largely because of who he has been to me.
I remember his smell and how it changed over the years from one of cigar smoke to one of clean laundry. I remember his gruff expectations when I was a child and how much delight and fear I had whenever I sat next to him at the dinner table. I was "Baby", always. Even at 23, when I was going through Catechism to be confirmed, he would introduce me to his church buddies saying, "And this is Baby". I was his girl. Sweet and obedient always for that man. I would have done anything for him.
I have grieved for so many people in the last few years my life. I have been plagued by death and cannot seem to run far enough or fast enough for death to not catch up to me. Never, though, has there been grief like this. A piece of my heart died yesterday. I know I will heal, I know it's not tragic, I know that he needed to go. I know most certainly that what he has been and is still to me will never change. I know that he is still with me as much as he ever was, because he made me so much of who I am. But still my heart is broken and I am lost, because this man, my favorite man, is dead.
I honestly cannot wait to be held by him in Heaven.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Lately, instead of journaling, I have taken to writing letters. I find it extremely helpful in helping me keep my internal dialogue realistic. I also find that it helps me sort out my boundaries with different individuals in my life because in my letters I can say whatever I want and assess how I would feel if they read that letter. It is so very beneficial. I had never thought of doing that before, but the idea came to me a few weeks ago, when I heard that my dear friend Bryce was moving away. I started a letter to him, which I intended to keep writing every day until he left. However, after I found out that he was pulling a prank on me and not actually leaving
The letter writing itself is even fun. I write on stationary, and keep each person’s letters in their own envelopes. I think eventually I will have to buy bigger envelopes for some people. I like this. A lot.
Today was also the woman’s doctor extravaganza. Let me just tell you that old man doctors are the best. They are very sweet and very kind and there really isn’t anything you can do or say that will shock them. This does not mean that I don’t still hate them for being doctors. I do, but I put up with them because they’re likeable even though they are doctors. Anywho, outside of all of the normal crazy stories that come from gyno appointments, let me fill you in a bit on the disease and how that is progressing. Gentlemen, be warned. I will be covering a lot of female material.
For those who don’t know, I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (aka PCOS or hitherto, “the disease”). This little disease affects between 5 and 10 percent of all women, and is a real little bugger. Basically my body produces too many androgens (a classically male hormone, not unlike testosterone, which is also produced in small amounts in women). This over production of androgens, causes my body to gain weight, which in turn affects my ability to absorb my own production of estrogen, because estrogen is hidden in fat cells. So when I weigh too much, my ovaries don’t get enough estrogen to ovulate properly and I form new cysts on my ovaries. These cysts are really harmless, unless they become cancerous. However, not being able to ovulate properly would also affect my future ability to bear my own children. I was diagnosed two years ago, at which point I opted not to use any form of treatment but rather to lose some weight and see if that helped – thinking maybe if there were less fat cells, I would get more estrogen and the problem would resolve itself.
My plan worked to a certain extent. I did lose enough weight to make my body have normal periods. Hurray! I have been “normal” for a little over a year now. However, my ovaries are continuing to grow and new cysts are still forming. The good news is that I shouldn’t have any problem bearing my own children. The bad news is, that because of my family history with cancer, the doctor is now concerned that these cysts may be presenting a whole new problem… cancer. So, the plan now is that I am on the pill (which is not my favorite solution, but one I was prepared for). I will also undergo some genetic testing, which will show whether or not I have the RNR-R1 gene, which causes cancer, and more specifically for me, increases my chances of breast and uterine cancer. That one scares me a little. If I do have that gene, we will start discussing the possibility of biopsying the larger of my two ovaries to ensure that those little cysts have not become little tumors. It is very unlikely that I have cancer. It is more likely that we need to keep a careful eye on my precious little flowers to ensure that they do not turn into angry little Venus fly traps that slowly eat away at my insides.
So for now I wait for my genetics test. I also have another appointment in December (two days after Christmas… Jesus, I asked for Javier Bardem for my present, not a gyno appointment…). I have to lose 25 lbs by then and quit the carcinogens. If all that, combined with the pill, doesn’t help, then the doctor will put me on Metformin, which is a diabetes pill that also happens to help with the disease. I do not have diabetes. Thank goodness.
I am feeling okay about everything. I came close to the tears a couple of times (because I still feel like Quasimodo, because I am almost like you, but just not quite), but really I’m not so worried. I do not in any way believe I have cancer. I just think I might someday. But someday is not today. Not at all.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
- Buttered popcorn
- Burritos (come on, it's like biting into a baby.. ew)
- Ice cream with any chunks in it (whether its nuts or pieces of chocolate or candy. No chunks allowed)
- Melons (this has always been true. I don't like any melons at all)
- Chunky Peanut butter
- Granola in my yogurt (are you sensing a theme?)
- Most chocolate (anything you can buy at the grocery store basically)
- White chocolate
- Milk chocolate
- plain potato chips
- wheat thins
- crispy cookies
- Any combination meats like salami or sausage
- pasta with vinaigrette sauce
- Black olives
- Cheeseburgers (it weirds me out to put cheese on beef)
- pickles on my burgers
- sour cream (if it's mixed in something and I can't tell it's sour cream, that's okay)
- Swedish meatballs
- Pretty much meatballs in general
- Sweet and sour anything
- Tempura anything
- Most Chinese food
- sweet relish or sweet pickles
- Anything that resembles or smells like licorice
- Uni (I tried but man that texture is nasty)
- hard boiled or over hard eggs
- Fried chicken
- Marshmallows in general
- Minestrone soup
- Creme of anything soup
- Corn chowder
- Pinto beans
Monday, August 23, 2010
I think it is probably time to introduce you all to Emelia. She is pretty amazing. I met Emelia in college (the Simpson one, not the Multnomah one). She was like the opposite of me: I was a theology major, but I took most of the upper level English classes. Emelia was an English major, but she took a lot of upper level theology classes. I like her. I honestly didn’t know her so well in college, because I’m just not the person that gets to know people. But now I read her blog every day, and she’s awesome. You should read her blog too.
Today I realized that lately every time I am asked how I am, I say “Okay…” (Emphasis on the ellipsis). I hate okay. It’s like failure’s bastard brother. I will choose today to say “I am fabulous! Thank you for asking. How are you?!” because exuberance breeds enthusiasm, and I am determined to be enthusiastic. La’ Chaim.
Now, the honesty:
This morning was wretched. Daddy hates life right now. He hates the nursing home. He feels like he is in prison (His words, “They are like the Gestapo!). He hates that he doesn’t have any money. He hates the food. He hates that he can’t control anything about anything. He is still feeling well enough to care for himself. He wants to leave the nursing home. He wants to get more money from disability. He thinks he is entitled to it. Everything about the way he feels goes against the grain for me. I want to scream at him (and this morning I did scream at him. Go me). After all the work I did to get him in the nursing home and get him any money at all, he is still angry about everything, and completely unwilling to take responsibility for the fact that he is where he is. Even now I just want to punch him in the throat.
I know this isn’t about me. I know that. So so so much. I also know, and was reminded very well again by Emelia’s dear sweet blog about her own father, that my dad is a great man. I know that if it were me, I would probably be doing the same thing he is, because I am a lot like him. Because we are victims at heart. I fight against being a victim, but victim is all daddy has left. It’s his very identity. So I am trying to calm myself down and tell myself that I just have to keep working to keep him alive. It’s not my job to make him a whole and happy person. He has to choose what he wants his life to look like, and so far he has chosen this. It’s only my job to facilitate the medical stuff. I wish I could give him more. But he abuses more and that’s not good for him. Or for me. I must remember that as much as this sucks, I am doing this because I love my father. I love this man. This one right here:
I am much better at falling in love that I would care to admit. And I hate that. I should have become a nun. Seriously I would make a great nun.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
There always comes a time, around the middle of the summer, when I start craving Christmas. Usually it starts because I am tired of the heat and the sun. Because I miss the rain, and the clothes and styles and BOOTS that come with winter and fall. This year it didn’t happen that way. This year it’s not hot enough to crave fall and winter. This year, I just want Christmas because Christmas is nice. It’s happy. This year Christmas won’t be that way, but that’s okay.
I have a friend, Bryce. We’ve talked about him before. He’s nice and he’s there for me a lot. He’s not dateable and there are a lot of people in my life that don’t understand why I enjoy him so much. But I do enjoy him. He is a very good friend for me. As an introvert, I don’t need a lot of friends. I don’t need a lot of people. I have a lot of people, but I really just need a few. Bryce is one of my few. The problem is that Bryce is an extrovert. He needs lots of people. He needs community. All the time. He doesn’t have community here in
The problem with the difference between Bryce and I is this: I don’t want him to leave because I will miss him and I am desperately tired of losing my friends, but he needs to leave because he is becoming severely depressed and is pushing himself to be strong here. He needs to leave because there is nothing for him here (and my small voice says… because I am nothing for him here… just like I was nothing for JDBman, and every other man friend I’ve invested too much time in even though I don’t love them like that). But I’ve seen a man do this before. I seen lots of men do this before. I know how it always turns out. It’s not pretty. When here isn’t enough sometimes men leave and they go somewhere else and somewhere else isn’t enough. When here isn’t enough and men stay sometimes they just fall away and become nothing. I’ve seen one man stay too long and then after too long he left. He is happy now. I hope he stays that way. I’ve seen another man leave too soon and now he wants to go back because he is really just running away.
I don’t want to lose another friend to the distance that continues to strip me of the people I think I need. Distance keeps proving to me that there is not one person that is my world, but that the world is my person. For that reason I really don’t know if I will ever fall in love with one person again.
I know that’s been coming up a lot lately. It’s because it has been almost 5 years since the last time I loved like that. It’s been 5 years since I was confident that I would marry. 5 years ago I left that certainty behind, consciously choosing the unknown land of oneness. I’ve finally stopped looking back. I haven’t at all figured out how to look forward. So I don’t want Bryce to leave. Because then Bryce will look forward and once again, I will be standing here uncertain of which direction forward is for me.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
“Just when I’d stopped, opening doors
Finally knowing the one that I’d wanted was yours
Making my entrance again, with my usual flair,
Sure of my lines, no one is there.
Don’t you love farce? My fault I fear.
I thought that you’d want what I want
Sorry my dear
But where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns…
Don’t bother, they’re here.”
Today marks a good day. A good day, tentatively.
You must understand, this shouldn’t be a good day. I shouldn’t look at this day and think, “Now that’s a good day,” because this day really isn’t all that great, but considering the recent days, this day is actually good. Perspective changes all things, even good and bad.
Today I did a good job at work. I generally do that. But today it felt really great to be definitely good at something. I love that.
Today I went to the Social Security Administration and I was given every confidence that I am going to get what I want: Disability for my father. Coverage: medical and financial. And above all of that that I would retain control. I would be responsible for his finances, so he can’t whittle away his SSDI checks on things like alcohol and drugs. I can get him into a good apartment, even after he is out of the hospital, and the nursing facility. I can give him petty cash. I can make sure that everything is taken care of. Because I will have complete control, I will know that he is safe… that if his life goes wrong from here it is by no fault but his own.
Here’s the clincher. I will be financially responsible for my father… for the rest of his life.
I no longer know if I am strong enough for this. Perspective changes all things, even strength and weakness.
Saturday, Virgil got married. I still don’t want to marry him – even when I cried when he was happy with another woman. Bryce went to the wedding with me. I still don’t want to date him – even when I cried when he told me he wanted to be happy with another woman. I guess perspective doesn’t change everything.
I still want what I’ve always wanted. I want to fly away and find new worlds, and meet new people and build new bridges. I still want world peace. I still want my very own adventure that has nothing to do with taking care of people. Perspective has changed my time, my color, my life… but most certainly not my hope. And not my dreams.
So send in the clowns, because I plan to make a circus of this present graveyard.
Come with me… let’s be carnies.