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.