Friday, December 24, 2010

A new mantra

I am aware that this title will make some of my readers gasp in concern that I am becoming Hindu or Buddhist. Bare with me. I promise I still love Jesus.

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

Stuck in between

For so long now, I've talked about death, illness, sorrow, mourning. It has consumed every thought I have outside of work. And I have thrown myself into work with a reckless abandon. I am quite officially a work-aholic. I have in many ways only avoided myself or plunged head first into everything. None of this allows sorting, organizing, and processing. None of this really allows me to move on.

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

when like turns to love and love to respect

I have a person I want to share with you today. I love him. He loves me. We love each other.

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

Dealing with my...

Sometimes I look at my life and literally think, "There is no way anyone could live this life."

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

A three days kind of post

Today is Wednesday. The third day. Three days. 

Because I don't know how to introduce this... I don't know how to tell the story without telling the end first, here it is:

My mother has leukemia. 

Every time I have started a post to tell you a story and explain this fact, I have deleted it. Every time I have been tempted by my ever present desire to share this news via facebook, I have deleted it. Every time I tell someone, I choke on tears. They may not see them or hear the choke in my throat, but I feel it all in the depths of my being. 

My mother has leukemia.

I found out three days ago. She has known for months. She didn't want to burden me with the news, because my father has stage IV laryngeal cancer and my grandfather was dying and I was losing my job, and she thought (like the martyred heroine she is) that I couldn't handle it, so she would wait. 

My mother has leukemia. 

I have cried every day for so many days, I am no longer sure I know how to fall asleep without tears. I can only sing the songs in choir that are not familiar or not in English, because we are practicing our Christmas selections and Christmas songs make me cry. I can't listen to my favorite comfort music, because my favorite comfort music is music I listen to with my mother (Rod Stewart and Chicago) and that makes me cry. I can't take walks, because I like to walk with my mother, and that makes me cry. 

My mother has leukemia.

Monday I wanted to stop at her work and give her a hug, but I didn't because I didn't know if I would be able to drive away. I am afraid of being with her because I want to be brave and strong and cheerful, because she's the one with the Leukemia, not me, but I'm not sure I can be. I am working on it. I'll get there. I'm getting better at explaining it to people. I'm going to see her tomorrow. 

My mother has leukemia.

When daddy got sick it was terrifying because I didn't know how to take care of him like a loving daughter and I loved my father. When Grandpa died it was devastating because he was my very identity and my very solid foundation and I missed him so. But my mother... I do not make sense without her. I am not human without her. She is because I am. I know that doesn't make sense, but she lives and breathes her children and I am her daughter, the only one she has, and I am her best friend. She is my mother. My mutti. My mommy. Mom... please. 

My mother has leukemia. 

She won't die soon. Probably. She's not so sick. Hopefully. She's just tired and that's okay. I can take care of tired. I am happy to take care of tired. I am thrilled at the chance to care for my mother. There is no hesitation  and no fear of the care taking. It is only the end idea that frightens me. It is only the anger that once again my life has a tragedy. A purpose again in illness (I refuse to say in death). Somehow my heart is broken beyond recognition. 

My mother has leukemia. 

and here the smallest of small voices makes this one small confession, "I have no dreams remaining. Grad School is over. Marriage is over. Babies are over. The Middle East is over." Because I cannot leave here. I cannot go knowing she is ill and I am away from her. And this, while my choice and my need to stay, not hers and not obligation, breaks my heart. 

i love you mom.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Still mourning...

I'm not a big mourner. I usually mourn for a bit, and then life takes over and I move on.

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

Life, Death, and my favorite man

Before I jump in to the meat of today's post, let's all take a second and welcome Annie Marie Hall to the world. Born this morning, to my lovely cousin Christine and her husband Jeremy, Annie (which is just the cutest name ever!) will join her sister Lily in making one of the sweetest families I know.

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

26, single, and sick

I love being 26. I love being single. I hate being those two things while I am sick. I am such a pathetic mess when I am ill. I just want tomato soup and crackers and hot tea. I want .... wait wait wait. I am just realizing that I am pretty sure I wrote nearly this same post last year. Oh dear. I am pathetic. 

My nose is swollen. Not from the sickness, but from a huge bruise. My nephew threw his fat head back into my nose last night. After a loud pop, I felt my head whoosh and my body sway. I woke up this morning with a purple bruise spreading across my nose and now that my nose is stuffed, I am feeling particularly silly. I can't blow my nose, I can't wipe my nose, I can't even laugh without the pain my face exploding through the rest of my head. 

So here I sit on my sofa, watching stupid chick flicks and drinking coffee, waiting for the moment when I can drive to my mother's house for soup and bread (because my debit card was cancelled before my new one arrived so I cannot access the heaps of money I have sitting in the bank). 

What a waste of a perfectly good Sunday.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Excepting, Accepting, and Expecting

The last 10 days have brought on a whole new world. Except not really, but totally kind of actually. I know that doesn't make sense, so let me try to explain.

On Thursday, September 23rd - the day after I found out I don't have the cancer gene and also the day after my father finished his treatments - I found out through an extremely large conference call that my company was about to go through the most drastic of changes, which would put everyone in every office in a bit of turmoil for possibly weeks. After the conference call I found out that I was most likely without a job, but that I was welcome to apply and try to compete for a position. So I did.

I was upset, but very excited. I wanted the opportunity to leave marketing. I love marketing, but not as a full time portion of my job. I'd rather do it for fun on the side, not as my full time work. Service is my full time heart. I thought about going back to teaching pre-school or doing something equally fulfilling. I wanted to be thrilled at the prospect of a new adventure. The only problem was the very big "EXCEPT..." blocking my view of a new future.

Except, my company didn't want me anymore. Except, why was I not good enough? Except, I've never lost a job before. Except, I am awesome, right? Except, except, except...

After days of excepting, I began accepting. I started applying for new jobs and I began to bolster myself and research how to bargain for a great severance package. I went to see my dear friend for a great man hug that would make everything okay. I discussed what I could do with my amazing severance (buy a new car, go to Beirut, and pay off school loans!) Accepting is a hard business.

The very last thing I thought of doing was Expecting. I did not expect to get a job through my current company. I thought I didn't stand a chance. So much so that I sounded rather intense and angry in my interview, because I just really didn't think I would get it. When that little call came, I was shocked, thrilled, and totally left expecting.

Now I sit with the knowledge of a new position, expecting a totally new life. I expect to love being out of marketing. I expect that working from home will suit my nature completely. I expect to adore being over Seattle AND Portland so that I can visit my second favorite city with more regularity. I expect to do well... after over a year of just scraping by.

I expect to have time for relationships. I expect to make this a great success. In 10 days I have learned that excepting must lead to accepting... which with hope always becomes expecting.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

pink tutus and yellow hair

Last week my mother told me a little story about my childhood. When I was very little I went to daycare at the Thueringer home. There were a lot of kids at this daycare, and all of them were white. All of them except for me. Apparently I came home one day and said, "Mommy, I'm brown." I was maybe 3 or 4. She told me that she would never forget that day.

I can remember growing up knowing I was brown. I remember in ballet, we were the Rainbow Ballerinas, all of the girls were given pastel tutus- light pink, mint green, soft yellow, lavender - except me. I was bright red. I will never forget Amanda, and her pretty pink tutu, with her blond hair and blue eyes, when she pointed at me and said "You have to be red because you are brown. Only white girls get pink." I tried to argue with her, but honestly what did I know? I was brown and that was my first (and only) ballet class. Maybe she knew something about ballet that I didn't. Maybe in Ballet you had to be white with blue eyes and yellow hair if you were going to wear pink. Stupid pink tutus.

Eventually, I was like everyone else. My skin isn't that dark and frankly the further into adulthood I got, the more the girls I knew went tanning and were my color or darker than me anyway. I just fit in and my tan skin became the norm. I stopped thinking about being brown, because I just wasn't that different.

Now, after years of spending my summers indoors under the florescent lights of my grey walled cubicle, my skin is definitely "olive" but not so brown. My eyes turned greenish from a run-in with the sun at Disneyland. I typically dye my hair a little lighter than it's natural black.

As I am preparing myself to walk into the geneticist appointment on Wednesday, I am sitting here thinking that once again, there is this brown smeared over what "should" have been white. I'm still not fit for pink tutus.

But I make red look good. Blue eyed girls, with yellow hair, may look awesome in Pink, but it takes brown to really rock the red.

(and no matter how sick this stupid birth control makes me, I will rock the red. No stupid disease is going to tell me what I can and cannot be. Today I have managed to keep down just water. I hate most food today... and I cannot tell you how gross dairy and meat are. Seriously. I can't even have them near my face or I will lose it).

Friday, September 17, 2010

An interesting incident

Today has offered me a little insight into my life. Here is what happened...

I was at work, working like a hurried and busy little bee (it's just that season and frankly I am terrified that I may lose my job). I was chatting momentarily with my boss when the front desk girl came up and began to whisper in a very concerned and terrified tone, "Rebecca, there is a man asking for you, and wait (as I turned to see who it was), there is something wrong with him..." At this point my glance over my shoulder told me that my father had come to see me at work. I nonchalantly said, "Oh! That's my dad!", with more enthusiasm than I would have thought normal for me, but I was apparently excited to see him. "Hi Daddy!", came my next words. I glanced at my co-workers face and found her beat red and unable to make eye contact with me. I ignored her embarrassment and went to greet my dad.

After my father left my office, another co-worker, who knows more about my father's current condition, jumped in and asked for an update. I gave it to her, allowing more information than she actually needed so the new girl could feel not so embarrassed. She looked at me smiled and said, "I'm sorry". I told her not to worry, after all there is no way she could have known.

The best part is that I was not embarrassed. Not only was I not embarrassed, but I was just happy to see my dad. It was normal for him to come into my office. It was happy. It was good.

All of those emotions surprised me, but those emotions are not normal. But they are happy, and they are good.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hebrew and Genetics and that tiny little pill

Much to my chagrin, today is the first day of that tiny little pill. The last time I took that little pill, ten years ago, it racked my body and made me both ill and rather insane. I am not looking forward to those affects and hope and pray that they will not come this time around. Along with dreading side effects, my heart has begun to feel the sorrow yet again. I have no idea what the next months of doctor appointments will bring for me and my knowledge of this little disease, but I do know that I would much rather not have any issues.

My genetics test is on September 23rd. I have talked with my aunties and gotten the information I need about their respective bouts of cancer. They are all alive, and it has been years since any of them has had any sign of cancer. I am not afraid of losing my life. I am not really even afraid of losing my ovaries. I am afraid of losing my ability, newly gained ability, to have children, and what that will do to my ability to marry, which again, is not even necessarily an ability I want. It's amazing how hard you can hold onto something you are not sure you want.

Hebrew is my heart. The flow, the rhythm, the dimensions, and depth of the words; I cannot escape my love for that language. Bryce is learning Hebrew and I am helping him. Watching that same love that is in my heart dawn on his face is so very sweet to me. That my dear friend can know and experience this deepest love of my heart is very powerful for me. I am having so much fun helping him and remembering so much of a language that once monopolized my life.

A very little moment of honesty: I would rather avoid my disease than deal with it. I would rather not know whether or not I have the cancer gene. I would rather just assume that Jesus was doing this. I would rather just be angry at him for ruining my life. I would rather just be a victim.

But I'm not a victim. And cancer gene or no, ovaries or no ovaries, I am a woman, but not a victim.

"Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman that of her who has a husband. Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left..." Isaiah 54:1-3

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Rainbow Connection

Who said that every wish could be heard and answered
when wished on the morning star.
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it,
look what its done so far.
What so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it the rainbow connection...
the lovers...
the dreamers...
and me...

I love real life. Because it's not my dreams, or my wishes, or my hopes. It's not the fantasy inside of me. My dreams would not be nearly as exciting if they came true all the time. Stars and dandelions and Disneyland wouldn't be magical if they really worked to turn our childhood ideals into our adult realities.

When I was a little girl I wanted so many things. I wanted to be a lawyer or a pediatric surgeon. Notice how much more specific the doctor wish was. That was what I really wanted. I wanted to graduate valedictorian of my high school class. I wanted to go to the University of Washington. I wanted to kiss a boy and then magically get married in a white dress and very soon thereafter have a precious baby of my very own that I would of course have time for even though I was the most accomplished 20-something pediatric surgeon on the West Coast. I wanted red hair and freckles. I wanted to be skinny. Very very skinny. I wanted green eyes (or to have one blue eye and one brown like Jamie Johnson's sister. She was a model.) I wanted to be 5'10 like Cindy Crawford.

Even now I have little daydream moments of happiness. These little dreams that save me from my day for just a moment, where I imagine perfect boys that don't play games that sacrifice their very beings for me that they may love me that much more. I have sweet moments spent far away on a cobblestone road or a dirt path on the well beaten tracks in Ireland. I fall asleep every night in a big house by the sea (the only problem is the obnoxious "University" soundtrack outside my real window rarely fades).

But I don't want to know perfect boys. They are actually really annoying. I don't want to ramble aimlessly alone on some path in Ireland (well I do... but not in the way I do in my daydreams), and I most certainly do not want to live in a big house... or by the sea. I love these places, these dreams, because they are other. They are not what I know everyday and so they are the magic and the hope and the rest for my soul.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it. It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it....
the rainbow connection...
the lover...
the dreamer...

that's me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blessed Assurance

Jesus is mine.

Sometimes I just have to have a day or two where I am completely excited that salvation happens and that it happens for me. And for you.

Here's the deal: I am rarely excited about salvation. True to my nature, I hate grace. I require it, but by golly it is my least favorite thing. I shouldn't need grace. I should be able to force myself into a level of goodness that surpasses grace. However I can't. Dwelling on thoughts of salvation often causes me anger or deep immovable sorrow. So I ignore salvation... not a great practice.

Here's the kicker: Once I realized not only my need for grace, but God's need to give it to me, I suddenly decided to live grace as fully as I could. I took grace for a walk and said, "Alright, let's see what you can really handle." Grace can handle a lot more than I can.

I get tired, so quickly, of pushing the limits of my view of God. I've come to a point, and have been stuck here for quite some time, where I have the foundations firmly set, but everything else is ambiguous and up for discussion. For example, I love God, and believe him to be the creator. I love Jesus, and believe that grace and hope come through him. I love the holy spirit, and believe that he dwells right here with me. Beyond that, I'm pretty open. Some days that is really comfortable for me, and other days it scares me a lot. Studying theology simultaneously freed me from guilt and obligation, and bound me into the apathy that so often accompanies ambiguity.

So then I am so thankful for those days, like today and the last few days, where I find myself just really happy to have faith and to celebrate that. I get to forget momentarily that I have chosen to live in the tension between different celebrations of the Christocentric faiths, and rather revel in the peace that came with my choice to celebrate a broader depiction of the Man who first loved me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just a little note between friends...

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 Seattle, I stopped the letter. Upon reflection, I found that the method was very helpful in processing what I had to say and what I didn’t want to say. Therefore, now I am writing letters.

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

Boundaries and Gynecologists

UGH! I love boundaries but I hate having to enforce them. I am on the edge of a full on panic attack. So there's this guy. Super great guy. Very nice, funny, endearing, Catholic, BLACK... I mean seriously, what more could I ask for (honestly I could ask for a few languages and an accent, but then I'd be dating Dr. Kachiga...). There is just one thing wrong (I refuse to say it's something wrong with him but rather wrong in general): He won't leave me alone. I haven't even been on a date with the guy yet, and he texts me all the time and wants to talk on the phone EVERY night. I'm going crazy. I am already tired of him. He doesn't even give me time to miss him before he is all over me again with the questions and the cheesy one liners (I am so not the girl that falls for cheesy one liners). And to top it all off, he has to tell me every single day that I am either cute or sexy or hot or all of the above. I hate it when men do that. I am extremely aware that I am fantastically beautiful. I do not need or want anyone tell me that all the time. I get it enough in general to not worry about it. If I hear it too much, I feel awkward and uncomfortable and cheap. UGH! So last night I told him I didn't feel up to talking on the phone, and today when he asked again, I told him I don't want to talk on the phone again until after our date. Because I need space. "Spazio!"

So then I have to wonder if I am just not cut out for a relationship, because talking to anyone that much would drive me crazy. Then this morning I had coffee with Bryce and I discovered that I enjoy my relationship with him. Because we can talk or not talk, we can be and sit and play and laugh and fight and at the end we still love each other and walk away friends. I have learned with Bryce that there isn't really anything I can do that we won't just bounce back from and vice versa. Friendship like that is gorgeous. I realized that I want a romantic relationship that is that easy. I don't want to feel needed or needy. Bleh. Just the idea of it makes my skin crawl. And so boundaries prove to be my salvation once again. Never have I been more grateful that I decided to do counseling to learn how to do boundaries. Ugh...

Also, I have a woman's dr. appt. on Monday. Now if you don't know me (and maybe even if you do), you may not know just how much I hate going to the doctor. I despise it. Like a lot. Like you would not believe. Even more than I hate normal doctors, I hate gynecologists. I can't even explain it in comprehensible words. From 16 - 24 I didn't go to the gynecologist once, because I hated them so much. At 24, Jessica made me go. So she went with me. She held my hand the whole time. I cried a little. I nearly hyperventilated. I didn't go last year, because I hated it so much. This year I have to go, because I am a grown up and because I have this stupid disease and I have to go on the stupid pill to make sure that if I ever decide to get married I can have stupid children. UGH! And Jessica won't be here to go with me. So I have to be a real woman and go by myself. So I picked out a new doctor (I have two qualifications for Gynecologists. They must be male and they must be over 50.... I know it's weird). But I'm proud of myself, because let's face it, at some point these cysts may become cancer or need to be removed. At some point, this silly little disease which may take away my childbearing ability, may prove more horrible than silly. It doesn't scare me like it used to, but that doesn't mean I get to ignore it.

One great thing about going on the pill... it means I have to quit for reals this time.

So have a happy weekend. I know I might. or I might not. But tonight I am going to Danny's Birthday party, and brotherBenji is coming with me. Tonight will be awesome. I love him.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Embracing my picky palette

Lately, my sister has been determined to convince me and the world that I am, in fact, a picky eater. This is such a foreign concept for me, because I was raised to eat everything on my plate. I've always known that there are certain foods I don't care for, but lately I have found that, as an adult, I can pick and choose what I want to eat and what I don't.

I have found that I don't like any of the following:
  • Buttered popcorn
  • Caramel
  • 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?)
  • Milk
  • Most chocolate (anything you can buy at the grocery store basically)
  • White chocolate
  • Milk chocolate
  • Cheetos
  • plain potato chips
  • triscuits
  • 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
  • ketchup
  • sour cream (if it's mixed in something and I can't tell it's sour cream, that's okay)
  • mayonnaise
  • Swedish meatballs
  • Pretty much meatballs in general
  • Sweet and sour anything
  • Tempura anything
  • Most Chinese food
  • sweet relish or sweet pickles
  • bitters
  • licorice
  • Anything that resembles or smells like licorice
  • Uni (I tried but man that texture is nasty)
  • hard boiled or over hard eggs
  • catfish
  • Fried chicken
  • S'mores
  • Marshmallows in general
  • Nutella
  • Minestrone soup
  • pretzels
  • Creme of anything soup
  • Corn chowder
  • Pinto beans

To be honest, there is a lot more but I got bored of making my list. What does it say about me that I am such a picky eater? I am concerned. Very very concerned.

However, today I found out that I really like iced double non-fat caramel lattes. They taste like popcorn in a strange way. This drink makes no sense to me, because it combines several things I highly dislike to produce a flavor I don't generally care for, and yet, I enjoyed it. What is the world coming to?

I also really like Lima beans. I think that might be unusual.

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.

The kicker:

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:

More honesty:

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

Even though I know.

Even though I know you, I somehow expect you to be someone other than you are.
Even though you have been this same person for 7 years, I expect you to have grown up.
Even though I expect you to honor our friendship by being straightforward you continue to beat around the bush.
Even though I know I can't force you to tell me what you are thinking, I wish that you would.
Even though you know me so well, I still scare the ever loving beejabbers out of you.
Even though you should be able to trust me with my own heart, you somehow still assume you must take responsibility for it.
Even though you make me so infuriatingly angry, I still love you.
Even though you're not talking to me, I know you still love me.
Even though this is awkward, I know it will be over someday.
Even though I should still be reveling in the fact that you're not leaving, I wish you would leave, so I wouldn't have to deal with all the drama.

Even though I am crazy, I promise I am honest.

Even though it makes me cry, I know. And knowing, my friend, is half the battle.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No time for adventures

There is no time this year for new adventures, except the adventures of here and now. There is no space for tomorrow, because tomorrow will be nothing like today.

Today is day 1 of Dad's chemo and radiation. This is my adventure. Walking with my father through the cancer treatment which is more likely to kill him than not, and watching, organizing, and facilitating his life. That is today. Tomorrow he will be sick or he will be dead.

Tomorrow will be nothing like today, because tomorrow is Tuesday and on Tuesday I go back to choir. Something I simultaneously dread and anticipate. I love to sing with these people. I love to know most of them on the cursory level I know them. I despise the driving, the rumors, the politics (though I must admit the silliness of it all does on several occasions delight me). Still the fact that choir is starting up again signals the coming of Autumn and the end of my summer.

Autumn always marks the passing of time for me unlike any other season. I want to buy school supplies, new shoes (something I've just done because let's face it, Autumn always calls for Jeweltoned heels), and oddly, new decor for my home.

I keep wondering when all this will be over and life will settle into normalcy. Then I remind myself that death is rarely quick, and health is just as slow... that means that it is more than likely that this is my normal. Work, buying shoes, singing in my little choir, and working as hard as I can to keep my failing father alive - I can deal with that.

I love this me. I kinda actually love that my life has failed to be anything I wanted it to be, but in that failing, it actually is making me the woman I wanted to be. I have always had the journey wrong. I thought the journey I dreamt would make the woman I am. I was wrong. This is my journey to because this woman. I like her. She's pretty cool. And she's not afraid to lose that big adventure for this smaller and much scarier one.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Looking Forward.

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 Seattle. He just has a job. And he has me. That means that he needs to leave or find a community. He tried the finding community and it didn’t go well, so he stopped trying. Now he just wants to go back to Portland where his life is. And that makes sense. It’s most certainly not the choice that I would make, because going home isn’t what I like to do, but then I don’t need community like he does. I don’t love home like he does. I’ve chosen home, but it’s not the choice I wanted to make.

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

Obligatory Prop 8 post

I love gay people.

They make really great married couples and ridiculously wonderful parents - or at least as wonderful as any two people raising children together can be in this world of ours.

That this is even a conversation we feel we must have is ludicrous. I don't even want to spend time on it. I do want to say that the overturning of Prop 8 was unexpected and completely fabulous.

Now let's hope it stays that way.

There is just not even space in any part of my being to fathom how denying anyone the right to marry another human being is in anyway just, or righteous, or holy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Today I am Claustrophobic. Not in the "my cubicle walls are closing in on me" kind of way, but in the "Please Stop Invading my personal mental space!" kind of way. It's like I've confined my mind to a very small box and I just want to break out of that box. Like my creativity and personality are suffocating in this tiny little coffin, desperately seeking fresh air. As though, if my thoughts continue to breathe the same recycled air, I might eventually fall asleep and never wake.

I feel that I may need to dance this out. My lungs need to crack and break until I can feel that fresh reality of pain or newness seep so deeply into my veins that I have that moment in which I look back at the old stagnancy and sigh a huge sigh of relief that I am no longer dwelling in what was.

I am antsy.

I am dissatisfied.

I am horribly bored.

Mostly though, I'm just done with this. And I don't even know what this is.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I have always been an attention whore. I admit this freely. I am entirely too vain. If there is a mirror in my presence, I absolutely MUST look into it. Attention is usually great because usually it's safe. Not always but usually.

I am a ridiculously confident person. For an introvert, I find that I rarely have bouts of self doubt when entering the public scene, as long as I don't actually have to interact with someone. I can strut the street in my heels and feel just dandy. I don't care about the cat calls, the stares, the little whispered comments. I am hot. I know it.

However, I haven't always been this way. I have always looked into mirrors when they were around, but there was a time when I did not feel confident walking down the street. I tried to, but I didn't actually. I put up my "I'm so pretty and brave" front, but inside I would cave at the slightest whistle from a passing stranger. I can remember so many times from years 13 to 16 how the confrontations and suggestions from men of all ages would cause my heart to crash into my ribs, my feet to pick up and literally run away, and eventually, the sobs that would rack my entire body. I hated being made to feel cheap. I hated being pursued inappropriately. I only wanted a cute boy to think I was cute.... well actually, I only wanted Adam to think I was cute.

Over the years, I gained confidence. Mostly, I think I got good and angry and this eventually spawned into apathy and then into compassion. I stopped caring how men reacted to their first impression of me. I brushed it off and went on my merry little way because, let's face it, I don't know them, and they will most likely never see me again. I can say no, and I can move on.

However, instances do arise that tear away my entire outer shell of safety. They strip me down and make me feel absolutely vulnerable to the male species. They cause me to revert to my 14 year old self, crying on my brother's shoulder because I just cannot understand why men won't leave me alone... why they won't just treat me like the lady I was raised to be.

A few months back I was asked out by some random receptionist at my dad's doctor's office. I said no, of course, because I had just found out that my father had cancer, and that is just wildly inappropriate. You just don't ask people out when they just find out their father has cancer. That's gross. I did not give him my number or any way to contact me. He gave me his number, but of course I never used it, because I don't call jerks that ask me out on the day I find out my father has cancer.

Now, four months later, he has begun to text me. This means that he took my contact information out of my father's patient file. I feel absolutely violated. The doctor should be a safe place. A place to be healed, not hurt. I feel belittled, stripped of my confidence, and honestly, just a little scared. I am undone.

So I will go downtown tomorrow and I will file an anti-harassment order, which basically says that he cannot contact me ever again.

Tomorrow I will also file a complaint against the clinic, because one of their employees violated my HIPAA rights.

I can use the law to make me strong again. Until then I am relying on my friends to keep me safe.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rough voices and painted toes

I am loving keeping things just for me, oh but I cannot tell you how hard it is sometimes. Sometimes I am just bursting to share some of what I am finding inside of myself when I keep a few of my thoughts and experiences just for me. There is a whole change that happens when you let your world settle inside of your soul. It's bizarre really because this experience is what I think I have been seeking so long in my deep and possessive introspection. I wanted to find those spaces in me where I sat with myself. It is much easier to do that when you keep yourself inside of you until you getting around to sitting with you (convolution is where I make the most sense, I promise).

There are a few things that have been very soulful for me as of late and these I can generously share.

My favorite movies of all time are three, The Family Stone, Lost in Translation, and Love Song for Bobby Long. Lately, I've been dwelling on the last of these three. Maybe because it feels the most like summer to me, or maybe because it is about the invisible people like my father. As I dug into finding more out about the movie (I always do my research on things I love), I found a new favorite musician, Grayson Capps. Because I found him, I also found that he is the son of the man who wrote the novel that inspired the movie. I am now reading the novel, Off Magazine Street. Everyone says the book is better than the movie. In this case, I don't know that better can be ascribed, but just as lovely and completely enchanting is more apt. Digging into the souls of the forgotten is like working at an archeological site. You find treasures in the dirt that have sat untouched and unspoken of for much too long.

The music, the book, the movie have all rested well with me. I find that much of my own soul sits untouched and unspoken of because I throw it out there in people's faces as soon as I find it. I commercialize it and place it on my sleeve, my own personal billboard, so the world may read and know exactly what is there inside of me. The problem is that no one really reads billboards anymore. They are not an effective form of communication. Soon the billboard is covered in another man's graffiti and my message is no longer visible for what it is. My soul's stories become warped and skewed before I even have a chance to read them. Not to mention the fact that those who do read them are often frightened by the original and unprocessed propaganda I am placing up on my sign. All in all, sharing everything was, it turns out, a terribly unhealthy process.

I heard this weekend a saying: "Look closely at the present you are constructing; it should look like the future you are dreaming."Apparently given to us by Alice Walker, who wrote The Color Purple, I initially hated this little cliche. However, when I sat down with myself, I realized that the future I dream is this: An old woman with browned, but not dark skin, wrinkled more than slightly, and a full head of curly and wild grey hair, sitting down with her pen to write her final story. There is no fear of her life in her. There is no regret over the sins of her past or her present. There is a small smile that plays around her lips and eyes because she knows what no one else does - herself. She speaks with a rough voice and a deep resonance and her laugh comes quickly but not frantically. She is content to observe; to be observed is of no consequence. She wears her age like she wore her vitality in youth, obscuring her image somehow so that the world still sees the beauty she sees in herself. Her toes are immaculately painted.

I asked myself if I could become that dream. I answered yes. I can...

"A little girl was early told, that life was time, and time was gold. She took a little every day, 'til it went away, and she was old. And she cried cause her gold was gone, and she cried cause she was all alone. And I'm hunting with a lonely heart, crying nevermore shall we part.... " - Grayson Capps.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I've found a reserve of pockets behind my heart. I think most people must know they are there in them as well. These are the pockets in which people hide their secrets. I don't keep secrets, and so I've never had a need for pockets. I share all I have with the world around me, as though my pockets have holes in them and all my pebbles fall out, no matter which pocket I put them in.

But I've found the pockets without holes. They lie behind my heart and hide there. They are protected by the thickness of my soul and shielded by the passion of my heart. But they are empty. I've found that I can tuck stories into them and keep them there safely. I can protect them, hide them, from the world, and from myself. I can pull them out, like well loved photos, examine them, and put them back. No one else need know they are there. They are just for me.

I think my life's journey thus far has been without the need for pockets, and in that way I have written a story on the world. I cherish that innocence, that naivety, that passion. But now, this my 26th year, has brought on a joy for pockets and what I can keep in them. So that in another 26 years, I can pull out the tucked away photos and gems kept in my secret pockets, and write a bigger story. One not yet shared, but waiting close to my heart, to get close to yours.

My love...

My love isn't enough for any man. That is the fabulous truth of it all. I love myself too well to have enough love left over to fill a man.

I have a love affair with this world and that is my great tragedy. One man could never be to me what this world is. The insane idea that there should be a love that could be as broad and as flawed as this love I have for the world is lost on me. Only that I would find company to keep as I woo the world and am wooed by her. For the weight of this love I have for the world is too much for me to bear alone, and should I ever succeed at bearing as much of it as I want to, I will need an extra pair of shoulders on which to keep it.

I am worried about. The lovers that pass me by wonder if I will ever love truly. They sing their songs to me and fret for my soul as I leave love behind once again. But I have found that the only love that could entice me to stay with him forever is either that man that could unfathomably entice me to love him more than I love myself, something I can't conceptualize, or that man that could love this world as I do, and join with me in loving... a mutual desire to love each other enough, but not entirely, because we seek to take the world into our grasp, and that requires a reserve of love that is not spent on an individual, not even on ourselves.

"And were an epitaph to be my story I'd have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world." - Robert Frost

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm 26. Dude. That really freaks me out

The nieceling....
The Neph...

Nieceling again...

I am 26. I have been 26 for a few days now. I am really weirded out by that. I can't tell you how much different I thought my life would be. I can't tell you how happy I am that it is exactly how it is (give or take 10 lbs). OH but OH, I don't like this feeling quite yet.

My GI Joe comes home in 3 weeks. 3 weeks until a beautiful black man populates my life. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Work is so much work these days. It's depressing me.

Daddy is still so much work and I don't think he even realizes it. He doesn't get the phone calls, or the emails or the letters. He doesn't fill out the paperwork, or arrange appointments and transportation. He seems to think if he's not doing it, then I'm not doing it.

Obladee Oblada ... life goes on.

La la la la life goes on....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Books, love, humor, and a long weekend

Have I mentioned lately how much I love books? I love Louis L'Amore, Ernest Hemmingway, Evelyn Waugh. Mostly though, I love short stories. They enthrall me because they are not a whole story, but a snapshot in time. They are but a moment that leaves space for me to wonder, to imagine, what life would be like before and after. This is why series books are so difficult for me. Granted, I love Harry Potter, I read the whole Twilight series (because let's face it, as horrible as they are, they are very addicting*), Lord of the Rings, and of course, like every good Christian, all of the CS Lewis Series (Narnia and the Space Trilogy), but I have to say, they always leave me wanting. I hate that feeling at the end of full stories, whether a single book or a series, of not feeling complete. With short stories I expect the incomplete. I expect to absorb that moment, as I would absorb the moments of other people's lives I observe on the bus or my morning jaunt to the office. They are passing but with great effect. I love that about short stories.

In that, I've decided to begin work on a little piece of fiction I like to call "How to get into my pants: 10 ways to make this girl swoon" (Title in process). Now I know that this sounds like a naughty book, however the point is to talk about all of the stories (mainly hilarious, although sometimes poignant) I have slowly collected from my dating escapades in the last 10 years. For example, Chapter 1 is titled "On hotdogs, baseball, and beer." Chapter 2, "On intellect, wit, and charm." Chapter 3, "On Swagger"... and so on, ending of course with Chapter 10, "On Love."

I find myself in a position unique amongst friends who share like backgrounds. Admittedly, I do not know too many girls who have graduated from conservative Bible Colleges, without marrying sometime in the next 2 years. Of the girls I do know, I think I am one of maybe 3? that actually has an active dating life. I say three, because I know there have got to be girls that are in the same position, and I must know some of them, but I don't talk to them. I don't really know them. So this little writing experiment will tell my stories of horrible dates, hilarious dates, the teeth bumping kisses, the awkward goodnights, the bold "no's" to requests to spend the night, the tragic stories of lost love, missed chances, turned down proposals. I'll keep you posted on progress (maybe... I'm notoriously bad a progress reports).

On the topic of love, I am sadly lacking. I am, of course, still dating... but the stories, even the good ones, are starting to seem a bit bland. I think it's because my heart's not in it. I have more important stories to tell. But the stories of death, pain, cancer are all starting to wear on me, hence this lovely post that has nothing to do with any of the aforementioned. So I am going to dedicate some time in my long weekend to chick flicks, girl time, and giddiness. Maybe I'll even dig out a new man to spend a little time on... because sometimes you just need a good date.

Humorously, I find that my life is a bit haphazard. I know that isn't shocking to anyone who knows the ins and outs of my days, but I am beginning to take a humorous approach to my lopsided life. I fail often and now I must just laugh at all of the coming waves of missteps and follies which accessorize my days.

This weekend will be an accessory. I am determined to take time out for fireworks and fun. I have Monday off and will spend a bit of that at a spa with a lovely friend. Then the week of hard work (the big boss is visiting) and birthdays (my own and my sister-in-law's) and of course of Cornucopia days, at which I will be hard at work. So this weekend will be the eye in the storm... I hope.

Here's to life. La' Chaim.... coincidentally, I hope name one of my daughters Chaya.. because life should always be celebrated.

*Note: If you are a parent, I plead with you: Do not allow your daughters under age 16 to read the Twilight books. Not because they are unusually untoward, but rather because they teach false concepts of romantic love and dedication. I also suggest banning Christian Romance Novels, for the same reason.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A childhood tragedy

When I was little I lived in Timberlane. In fact I lived there from age 1.5 - 18. When I was 3, the Hemmingers moved in across the street. Gary, Kristi, Heather, Nate and Chris... although at that time Nate was probably an infant, and I don't think Chris was born yet.

Heather was my bff. We got into all kinds of trouble. By all kinds, I really do mean ALL kinds. We laughed, we played, we imagined, we fought, and we tortured Nate and Chris. Almost every memory I have of childhood contains Heather, and a vast majority of those memories also include Nate and Chris.

Over the years things have, of course, changed. Heather moved away in 2003 or 2004 to Colorado where she married and had a baby. I didn't see her at all for years, but we kept in touch occasionally. About a year ago we got back in real touch. She filled me in on the family. Her marriage had ended, but she was in love with a lovely man she had dated in high school. Nate had been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, Chris had moved to Virginia, married a girl, and had a baby. Although things had changed and times hadn't been perfect, they were all managing well and happy. I was happy for them.

On Sunday tragedy struck the Hemminger family. Driving home from their Church campout, Heather, her fiancé, Nate, and Heather's son Donovan were in a car accident. Apparently the car went off the road, flipped, and went into a tree. Heather was driving and received a concussion. Her fiancé and her son were fine. Nate died.

I can't quite comprehend it. Nate died. He was 22. Heather is only 25. And people say the most horrible things, like here, here, and here. People assume that drugs and alcohol were involved. Heather is a few months pregnant. She doesn't drink typically, even when she's not pregnant. I don't think she's ever done drugs. She was on the way home from church... but they make her out to be a murderer, a drunk, and an irresponsible mother. Every time I read these, I get outraged. I want to yell at the stupidity of people for saying such things. Her whole life will be affected because they've published them. It's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen.

My heart breaks a little more every time I stop to think about Nate. He was always a good kid, a sweet boy. Life's been rough, but now it's over.

To remember him let me tell you a few little stories:

We used to sneak from one end of the Hemminger house to the other, trying to make it without an adult seeing us. Nate was particularly good at this game.

Nate hated loud noises. He was scream and cry every time a siren went off.

Nate's first day of school he was SO excited to be going off with the big kids.

Nate LOVED my brother Benji. Just thought he was the coolest kid ever.

Nate was typically pretty chill. Not really a "quiet" or a "shy" kid, but a chill kid.

One summer I rode with Nate, Chris, and their mom, and another adult all the way to Southern California. I had to sit between Chris and Nate because they would fight the whole time. It was horrible. I was maybe 6 or 7.

We used to build "teepees" out of fallen branches in the green belt across the street. They would stay up most of the summer.

We used to have races from one end of the yard to the other, even though it was maybe 25 feet long.

Snowball fights, food fights, real fights. Swimming, laughing, building, sleeping outside. School, bike rides, car rides. Lollipops, push up pops, ice cream. Lemonade stands. Childhood.

I will never forget Nate.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wanted: Circus Performers

“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.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hospitals, Gay-dars, and Friends

Well so so much has happened, so I am going to start in the middle and work out. I think that is the only healthy path.

Dad's surgery went well, but oh it was SO long. I was there for almost 17 hours. But we made it through and dad is in the ICU getting lots of rest. Now we wait to find out how recovery goes and if the cancer has spread. We pray that he can give up cigarettes completely and never drink again. We wish that we knew how to make things move faster with the State for funding. We worry that no matter how much we do it still won't be enough.

The day of the surgery was, for me, a very new experience. Peter and I went in with dad at first and all was fine. It still didn't register that that would be the last I would hear of his voice. I didn't get that until after the surgery. I knew it in my head, but hadn't accepted it. Bryce showed up around 9 and we played cribbage and other games for hours. Katie V. showed up with lunch around noon, and I loved her company. Russ and Tirell showed up around 3 and kept Peter company. Auntie Jeanette came around 3 and played more games with Bryce and I.

Bryce is a friend of mine, but never have I had a person so support me on such a hard day. He was there for me. and just me. That was weird. And amazing. And if his mother ever had a chance to read this I would tell her that she raised one of the finest men I've met. He stayed with me the whole day, drove me home, let me cry, let me nearly pass out, kept me from passing out, and even let me sleep. Seriously. I have been blessed with some awesome friends.

Last week, I yanked a gay man out of the closet. Now I dated this gay man about a year ago. I didn't know he was gay. He did not alert my gay-dar in the slightest. I just couldn't make chemistry happen so I stopped dating him. As the next few months passed, I just didn't get it. Then it hit me one night, and I couldn't let it rest. All this year I have been hinting, trying to get him to admit it to me, while simultaneously avoiding any other dates he asked me on. This time I couldn't avoid him any longer. I told him I wouldn't go on a date, but we could have dinner as friends. I didn't intend to yell at him. I didn't intend to talk about his sexuality, but he brought up gay men and something in me snapped. In the middle of my favorite bar, I went off! on him. I yelled about how people should not lie about their sexual orientation, how people should not keep things like that a secret. I mean I get it. I understand why you would not want people to know, but really, it is so frustrating. Especially when the guy is just trying to use you as his beard. I am getting angry again. Needless to say, he told me the truth.... he's Bi. Which is not the same as gay. Okay.

I have to go off and sign some more papers, and be with my dad. I hope your week is as productive as mine.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Cancer

Well my father has cancer. We've been going to appointment after appointment for weeks and weeks now, waiting to find out exactly what that means. Here's what that means:

On June 14th, he will undergo a full laryngectomy, which will remove his larynx, his vocal chords, and the lymph nodes in his throat, as well as reconstruct the way his esophagus and airway function. He will no longer breath through the same hole which he eats through. He will have a stoma in his throat through which he will breath, effectively cutting off his ability to smell, which will then also affect his ability to taste. The worst part is that he will entirely lose his ability to speak. Completely. We will eventually get him a machine that he holds in his hand and puts up to his throat which will create sound waves/vibrations in his throat that he can manipulate to make words, sounding a little like Darth Vader. Until we can afford one of those, he will use a pen and paper. I think I am most sad about this.

After the laryngectomy, he will be in the hospital for 10ish days to recover. From there he will move into a nursing facility to recover, where he will stay throughout the entirety of his radiation treatment. This is the most wonderful news we could have received. I had no idea what I was going to do with him during those three terrible months, but the hospital came through and gave us a social worker who will help. I love the hospital. I literally cried when they told me.

I don't know what will happen after radiation. I do know that he has a 40% chance of surviving the next 5 years. Those are apparently really great odds. They don't look great to me. 40% is failing. I hate failing.

I am surprised by how okay I am. Until this week, it was harder, but now that I know the game plan, I am doing much better. I still have a lot of work to do on his financial aid status, but I am doing okay.

Here's hoping that all of this will end well. And that someday it will actually end.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The arrival

I've been waiting for this day for over a month now. I've tried to bring it on by my own means, to inspire it to appear, but it would not come. I found it today though.

This day is the day the emptiness arrived. All the choices in the last month that should have brought guilt but didn't. All of the moments that should have been frightening but weren't. All of the happiness that was mediocre and unimportant. It all crashed in today.

And I am alone. And that's just fine.