Wednesday, December 26, 2007

There's no water that can wash away this longing to come clean

"We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies." ~Shirley Abbott

About a year and a half ago I wrote a letter to my parents. In it, I spoke of the memories I have of my childhood with them and how I felt those things shaped me into what I am today. I put it in an envelope, addressed it and prepared to mail it off but for some reason, I could not do it. I took the envelope and placed it under my bed where it's been collecting dust ever since.

This is what I think about presents. I think the best presents are the ones that are made by hand, not bought in a store. I know that not everyone possesses the talent to paint or sculpt or write music, but I think if you have those sorts of talents, they are the things that people like me prefer receiving. My most prized possessions are things my father has made for me, things my children have made for me. Those are the things I look at and want to keep safe and feel better just knowing I have them. A sweater from Macy's just doesn't have the same effect. In a fire, I would not think to save a sweater because it was given to me by my parents. But a painting or a piece of furniture made with their hands? Those are things I know I would fight to keep with me.

Even though I have this blog on the internet, I do not share this space with anyone in my family or even my friends. It's so hard to explain how I am this intensely private person and at the same time I am willing to share my feelings with total strangers without batting an eye. It makes no sense and yet it makes perfect sense to me. I feel at ease opening my heart because I'm not risking the involvement of the real people in my life. I think I do not always trust that my family and friends will be careful of my heart. I don't know what I'm afraid of--maybe it's that they would stop loving me if they knew the real me--the one who is imperfect in a million different ways, the one with messy feelings that leak all over the place when what is prized in their world is keeping up appearances, keeping it together.

Sifting through books and whatnot under my bed, I came upon the letter I wrote to my parents and once again I thought about sending it off in the mail to them. I took it in the car with me and passed by the post office for weeks without stopping to get it weighed. I don't know what finally made me mail it. I think I asked myself what I was waiting for and could not come up with a good enough answer. I think I asked myself if I would regret not sending it to them should something happen to them and I knew in my heart that I would. I think I wanted to stop being afraid of owning up to how I feel and I realized that I could not control how they would respond, but I could at least be brave enough to open my heart and say, "this is me." And so I did. I held my breath, then let it go.

A couple of days ago, I received a call from my parents and they told me they loved what I had written, that they had never read anything more beautiful in their lives. They kept referring to my letter as a gift. I cannot tell you how happy this made me because as I've written before, we are not a family who does under the surface living very well. We keep our feelings in check even if it kills us. A lot of the time, actually almost all of my life, I have felt like it's been killing me or at the very least, killing the spirit of who I really am. The last time I tried to communicate to them how I was feeling during a rough period in my life, they changed the subject which left me feeling like I could not be my real self around them--I had to be what they wanted me to be, not what I was. They tend to give me that message a lot, and after a while, I learned to take a hint. But this time? They did not come back and tell me anything more than that I had truly moved them with my words.

This is what I have learned: Sometimes, when you're really scared about opening your heart to people you should be able to open your heart to, they do not disappoint you.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”~Oren Arnold

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Text messaging Christmas lists

It seems I have a new thing to hate about Christmas (not that I hate too many things about Christmas, but, well, you know what I mean...) Anyway, the new thing around my house is that I'll be out shopping and hear that familiar sound indicating I have a message of some sort on my phone and I'll go take a look and what do you know, I'll have a multimedia message waiting for me. It will be a picture of exactly what someone wants me to buy them and I'll also get colors and sizes and all the other necessary details about where I can pick it up. After I receive these multimedia messages I typically have to make about 5-10 phone calls clarifying things because the picture isn't that great and God forbid I make a mistake and get the wrong thing because THEY TOOK THE TIME TO SEND ME ALL THE INFORMATION AND EVEN PROVIDED A PICTURE and the least I can do is get it right. Right?


Enough already with the text messaging.

Friday, December 21, 2007

One more thing I wouldn't do

I wouldn't copycat an old Seinfeld episode by sending out Christmas cards telling someone that in their honor I was donating money in their name to my favorite charity. Nope. Wouldn't do it!

*For more things I wouldn't do, see the entry below. I might just keep adding to it since more things come to me every day.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Things I would not do...

I wouldn't take the box of Jujyfruits someone had bought for themselves and eat all but the green ones because I HATE THE GREEN ONES.

I wouldn't cause a long jam up at the drive through ATM because I was conducting about 20 transactions and behaving like I was the only one in the world who needed to use the machine.

I wouldn't send Harry and David fruit to a bunch of kids because "I'm on a health kick again this year."

I wouldn't try to sneak into the turn lane when there wasn't any room resulting in my car being half in the turn lane and half in the forward moving lane making it impossible for those behind me to go anywhere when the light turned green. (this happens so much where I live my blood pressure goes through the roof just thinking about it)

I wouldn't ask for advice on my blog then reprimand those whose comments aren't perfectly aligned with what I really wanted to hear.

I wouldn't tell my significant other that next year we ought to just get a small, fake little tree to put on a table somewhere because it's just way too much work for "us" while I was sitting on my ass in another room watching tv.

I would not pretend not to hear my significant other coming into the house with bags and bags of groceries when I am able to hear my significant other typing on the computer from 6 rooms away. In other words, I would not have selective supersonic hearing.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hope dangles on a string, like slow spinning redemption

I love how I am able to bend my life around everyone elses--at a moment's notice sometimes--how I am able to shift and conform and mold myself to be what others need me to be all the time, but how when I ask one simple thing, it cannot be managed--it is too hard, it is not what someone else wants to do.

So there's that.

I make a mental note of these things, these messages that are sent to me day after day, year after year that I used to dismiss as part of the "job" but now keep track of with a fierce determination. I think about them when I'm out running. They give me energy. They push me to do more, to want to get stronger.

When I dream, I am never married, and I never have children and oftentimes, I am flying high above the world with the wind in my hair. It is simple and calm. I am watching the world from a distance, and I know that I like it that way. I don't remember much of my dreams, but I do know that I fly and that it feels like what I imagine heaven must feel like.

Even though I've started to hate Dr. Phil because he's always celebrity name-dropping, and he has this weird superiority complex thing going on, there is one thing he says that makes total sense to me. He says that people treat you the way you teach them to treat you. I've done a horrible job with this but part of me doesn't want to own up to this because it's just one more place where I've failed and it's one more thing I've got to fix. The list just keeps getting longer and longer.

I am committed to living in reality, however, so I will add it to my list of things to do--teach them to treat me how I treat them.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rage - Scenes from her life - Story #1

A husband and wife sat across from each other in a booth where they were eating Chinese food. The wife ordered, then the husband ordered. and then they started to talk about a recent disappointment in their lives which they eventually agreed was small in the grand scheme of things. They agreed to be happy and remember how blessed they were to have all the good things they had in this life.

Out of the blue, the wife said to her husband, "I want you to know that lately I've been filled with rage," because she had been filled with rage lately and she didn't know who else she could share this terrible secret with besides him.

The husband said, "What are you talking about? Your life is wonderful."

The wife replied, "I know what you think you know about my life, and I am telling you that you are wrong. I am filled with rage, and the only way that I'm finding I can deal with the rage is by making sure that I put myself first for a change and stop worrying all the time about other people's happiness. I am becoming bitter from all the years of taking care of other people and never feeling like I am making anyone happy. I am sacrificing things that I want to do because in the back of my mind I am thinking this will result in their happiness but when it doesn't, I am left to ask myself what I am doing with my life except wasting my time?"

The husband looked uncomfortable and worried and clueless as all at once and immediately told his wife that she was being over dramatic. He asked her, "Well does this mean will I have to worry about you along with everyone else now?"

And the wife took a deep breath and explained to him one more time that her happiness and well being should be of concern to him, that he should be worrying whether she was happy because she worried about his happiness all the time, and isn't that what married couples do?

She told him, "The fact that you do not worry about my happiness makes me crazy. It makes me feel like I have no one in this world looking out for me and if that is the case, as it has been proven time and time again, then I'm going to take matters into my own hands and start looking out for myself."

The husband looked everywhere except at his wife and said, "Where is this coming from? I thought we were going to focus on the positive?"

The wife replied, "You don't understand. Just because I point out to you something that bothers me doesn't mean that I do not recognize all the wonderful things that I have. One has nothing to do with the other, and I don't want every conversation that I start about me to turn into a conversation about somebody or something else because that's what always happens here."

The husband looked around, and the wife could tell by his eyes that he was shocked and sad and panicked to hear these words come out of his wife. "Can't you just be happy." he pleaded? "I'm happy."

And this is the part of the story where the wife was always losing because she knew in her heart that at best, what we know of each other is what we allow others to see of us, and sometimes, even when show them what's beneath the surface, all they want to see is what they want to see.

The wife finished her diet coke, fished an ice cube out of the glass, and crushed it between her teeth because it felt good to her to crush something.

They paid the bill, walked to the car and began their drive home. The wife leaned her head against the cool glass and looked up at the stars. She felt so small, almost invisible, but she did not tell her husband this because she wasn't up to hearing once again how very lucky she was.