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I live in a world of nightmares and long for a world of dreams…

So often, I think, we humans do what the title of this post suggests. We live in the world we’ve got, where we perceive things as nightmares and droll, dull, and bad, and yet still yearn to live in a place where dreams come true, life is good, and the boring things disappear in excitement and happiness.

Growing up sucks. I’m sorry, but it does. When you’re a kid, your imagination is the center of how you view things. Monsters exist, but so do heroes. If something bad happens, more often than not, there is someone there to direct you to something more positive and shelter you from all the “bad.” As an adult, that filter you most likely had as a kid is gone. Instead, every pain is felt deep, people really do go and not come back, people you love don’t love you back, and the world is a bit duller, the days move faster, and instead of holding onto hope it’ll be different, you start living in this doubt you’ve learned exists.

I wrote a poem recently. First poem I’ve written in 10 years. Nope. Not an exaggeration. It started off as most of my poems do. A simple line that triggers an image. Living in a nightmare…hoping for a dream. Then, as most writers can tell you, the words and ideas took charge and I ended up in a different place than I started. Thematically, it worked. The poem’s far from my best. But, rereading it tonight, it kinda did what a poem should do for me. It encapsulated exactly what I’m feeling and exactly what I’m filled with fear about.

I’ve always told people I tend to write when certain emotions take me over. I’ve been very reluctant to go there this year, as my last post would hint as to why. Growing up just sucks, and the difference between being the writer I used to be and the grown-up writer I am now is not just a measure of skill or technicality. I don’t want to jump and serve the feelings. I don’t want everything I write, everyone I communicate with, and everything I do serve what’s going on inside like I used to. My writing was prolific in quantity then, but I really don’t like it. It’s confusing. It’s angry. It’s alienating, and quite frankly, only shows one side of who I am. I’m mercurial. There’s always more than one side, and it’s about damn time people got to see it.

People get the angry, cranky, sheltered person I am. They don’t see the girl that feels everything everyone around her feels. If you’re hurt, I’m hurt. If you’re sad, I get sad. They don’t see the person who is willing to throw down and put everything on the line for someone who barely glances at her. The person that smiles when she wants to cry. The person that jumps cliffs just to prove herself to the one person that’s never watching. I’m the girl that sits against the walls at parties, watching everyone mingle and instead of being jealous, just enjoys the atmosphere of the room. I’m the girl whose voice muddles with everyone else’s. I’d rather feel than not, and I remember what it’s like when I shut myself down. I could read a book in a room surrounded by people talking among themselves, and feel a part of the book’s world and the people’s world I’m in at the same time.

I’m the girl that stares at stars and wonders who also looked. I like playing in mud and dirt, and I’ve been known to dance in the rain. I hate the cold, but I won’t hesitate to play in the snow. I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want help. I want to be more than I am thought to be. I like to travel, even if I can’t go where I want. I love knowing where I came from. I want to see the land my ancestors walked. I want to know every bit of what made me me.

I miss the people that are gone. The same way anyone reading this misses the people they’ve lost. I miss the full heart I used to have when I could walk through a day and just know that this person existed. I miss being aggravated with them. I miss the normal of it.

Nothing’s gonna change with that. They’re gone. I’ve accepted it. I don’t like it, but I’ve accepted it. That’s what I am good at. I’m adaptable. I’m Gemini. I’m a Monkey (Chinese astrology y’all…look it up. haha). I can change. I can grow. I get it. But, I don’t like it. And, I think there’s just some things that won’t change.

My love for my family won’t change. I forgive everything, but I don’t forget everything. I’ll continue to put my heart and my soul out there for others, even all those people that logical part of my brain says not to. I’ll continue to stare out the window at night and gaze at the stars, listen to a song 12 times in a row to memorize lyrics that I won’t care about in two years, write crappy poems about crappy subjects that I’ll feel stupid about for years to come. I’ll continue to wake up, go to work, and put on that happy face, and I’ll continue to fall in love as I always do. I’ll still find the beauty in a sunset, or dance in a summer rain. I’ll still listen to the sound of peepers in summer, and shudder when the woodpecker sounds (it’s the Predator, don’t you know?). I’ll love the smell of manure, as bad as it is, and the smell of fresh mowed grass and the cold, brisk wind during a snowfall. I’ll still lift the snow’s weight on a shovel, and I’ll still enjoy the taste of hot cocoa (PEPPERMINT MOCHA FOR THE WIN!).

I left that world of dreams behind me more than a decade ago. That world was one where I willingly left responsibility to the side to foster being “taken care of.” I call it my world of dreams, not because I have given up getting them, but more that they were real then. Truth is, I felt I mattered in that world of dreams, not because of who I was, but because of who I wanted to be. It was easy to pretend, to fill a role, to let that become my focus and my life. I live in the world of nightmares now. It’s not that it’s scary. It’s just…not dreamy. It can hurt. It can bruise. But, it’s real. It’s who I am.

And yet, even so, the dreamer in me hasn’t let go. Maybe she never will. Maybe I’ll never let her.

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Posted by on 11/24/2014 in Uncategorized

 

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This has been a while in coming…

I have debated writing this blog, but often I’ve shied from saying things I want to say in favor of keeping the status quo and making everyone happy. I’ve really spent much of my life trying to please others so much that I often lose sight of what I really want.

What I really want to do is talk about my sister. It’s been over a month since my sister passed away. That scares me that time has still passed and she isn’t here.

I don’t even know what I want to really say about this event. I don’t know if I want to post about the medical specifics that led to my family’s decision to let her pass as naturally as possible given her condition at the time, or about the feelings left behind when she did finally leave this world. I don’t even know if I can adequately say what I’m feeling, or have felt, since my world completely changed starting September 23rd. I guess what I will say is what I know in my heart, and if it’s coming out in complete disorder, I beg the forgiveness of those reading.

I don’t even remember how old I was when I learned Jaime was different. I was 14 months younger, and practically developed alongside her. I don’t remember a time where I just thought, “Wow, she’s different.” I suppose that is the awesome thing about growing up with Jaime. My older brothers were of an age to notice differences; I knew nothing different. I vaguely remember things of my early childhood. Some of it, I’m sure, I’ve just lost to the ravages of time. Others, I think, got muddled into parts I’d rather not remember. A lot of it, however, was probably the mundane parts of life you hardly remember, and in honesty, that was probably where a lot of my early childhood memories with Jaime lived.

For those that don’t know, my sister was mentally and physically handicapped. She struggled through most of her life with health troubles, enduring many major surgeries that my parents had to be absent in my childhood to be with her for. I rarely remember this absence, lest people think I’m complaining. It was an assumption of normality, I think, with my memory. It was just how life was. But, damn, was she a spitfire. She was fun, and loved to laugh, play, and just enjoy things. She wanted to be in the middle of it all, even if she didn’t fully comprehend the game we were all playing. She wanted to be a part of life, and that was enough.

I suppose the first time I learned Jaime was different was when I noticed strangers’ reactions to her. Jaime could be loud, did often drool, and sometimes knew no personal boundaries. I admit I sometimes noticed this more than I wished I could have ignored it. If not for others’ reactions, I’d probably never had a moment of saying, “something’s weird.” I think I was 12 or so when I first noticed this, and my hyper-awareness of such things led to my own discomfort with myself. I began to anticipate, even if it was an unfair assumption, what others thought.

But, as I grew, I realized that some people just never have encountered someone that could challenge their status quo, and it was more an ignorance than a willful way of being rude that controlled their actions. I struggled to teach people a new way to think, a new way to regard the word, “retarded” and to realize how their casual misapplication of the term could hurt. The best part of growing up was being able to take everything I ever felt as a kid and through reflection, begin to dissect and understand it. Even better, to accept it.

There were so many things I learned in the days between September 23rd and October 4th. I learned that, despite what limitations she had been born and grown with, my sister had a full life, with many friends and people who adored her. I learned that the infectious sense of humor she always showed my family blossomed with those that worked and lived with her. I learned of her unfailing ability to wake every morning with an optimism I envy, and went to bed every night wanting to be surrounded by love and companionship. I learned of resilience. I always knew my sister was strong. No, Jaime was beyond strong. But, I learned of the strength inside of myself. I learned the strength of love and forgiveness. How much hope can hold you up, how far you can fall when it’s taken away, the strength to fight when it’s futile and the ability to understand loss in the most profound and oddly beautiful of ways.

I thought I had been strong when she finally passed. I learned after the fact that I hadn’t been. The awareness of how you remember things, and the knowledge that truth is not just your viewpoint but the shared recollection of an event strikes me as so profound, and I took from that a sincere wish to be even stronger than I could before. This is not from embarrassment or shame. I just want to know the truth. The truth of how it was, and live life in deference to that fact.

At the services, I feel like my brother delivered an amazing eulogy that summarized what Jaime was to so many, but as in all human things, it lacked too. Not out of lack of effort, feeling, or want, but because some things, and some people are just undefinable. Sometimes, you just cannot really say it all. Sometimes, words just fail.

This year was a hard one. I lost many people I had grown close with, grown up with, and loved far more than I could ever express. I realize that as an adult, this is a consequence of life that I will have to accept as more normal the older I get. But, with the loss of Jaime, I don’t feel like an adult or that I’m getting older. I just feel like that 3-4 year old that played along side her on merry-go-rounds, and wrestled with her with my grandfather. Despite all the things that have changed in our lives since that point, that is where I want my heart and love to reside. I want it to sit in the time where Jaime’s differences were not a defining characteristic and the only thing that matter was that she was my sister.

She was my sister. And, that is gone now.

 
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Posted by on 11/12/2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Posting commencing shortly…minor hiccup in the works.

A few writing thoughts have infiltrated my brain lately, but as I’ve been dealing with a lot of family and work issues (the family issues of which I’ve attempted to write a post about 12 times. No, I’m not exaggerating. 12 is the times I’ve opened the document I started last month), I’ve been reluctant to write in a state of stress and unhappiness.

So, I’ve spent the past couple of months trying to comprehend why things work out the way they do, why I’m obsessive the way I am, and why I wrote poetry as much as I used to. I can’t say I’ve found the answers to those things, but maybe that’s the point. I am a questioning sort; what fun is it if the questions get answered?

I spent last night going through my writing files and digesting some of my poetry. This is a good and bad thing. Good because it inspires me and gives me hope that I’m not a total hack when it comes to writing. Bad in that I regret that I’ve somehow lost that momentum and inspiration I had to just write whenever the mood came upon me. Some of the last few posts here have concerned themselves with writing of the past, and I’ve longed to come up with something new, but failed.

In a couple days, I’m going to work up the courage to write about my sister. It’s not going to be easy. In fact, the last 12 times I’ve attempted to write a post before this one, I’ve ended up in tears and abandoning the document. While I think a facebook post detailing, briefly, the sentiment I feel when thinking of my sister helped say what I wanted to then, as the weather turns colder and the holidays approach, those thoughts won’t suffice. I think I will need to say what’s been swimming in my head, and here is my outlet.

The bonus in all of this comes from the fact that I had the courage to open some dusty files and have those seductive writing thoughts I pushed away. Perhaps this time I won’t lose it so quickly.

 
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Posted by on 11/10/2014 in Uncategorized

 

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When you need to be AWAY…

Sometimes, when you’re looking at 300 plus people on a daily shift, the prospect of being social, answering phones, and putting a smile on your face is too damn much.

I’m not miserable. Actually, compared to about ten years ago, I’m much happier. I am smarter. I’m wiser. I’m older, sadly, but such is the consequence of life.  I’m much less motivated to write, which is distressing, but at the same time, I’m not writing crap that only serves to whine as I did about ten years ago.

I don’t like the phone. I never have. I avoid phones if I can. If I can write it or type it out, I’m much happier. Lately, though, these feelings have gotten worse. I can’t really explain it outside of being an introvert and how often the damn phone rings when I’m at my work. My last day of work, I think the phone rang 20-30 times during an 8 hour shift. Combine this with talking to hundreds of customers during that time, it is no wonder that when closing time happens, I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to call in a take-out order. I don’t want to hold a phone to my ear. I don’t want to discover how to save 20% on my electric bill. I just want to be left alone. I want to curl up with my Kindle, or play a mindless game on my computer, or glance at Facebook and just be quiet.

I’ve never been that social. This isn’t to say I don’t like people or being around people. I like being around people that accept me for who I am. My family, for instance, is a very busy network of people. I love just sitting at family gatherings, watching other people reconnect and be social. I don’t feel left out. I used to. I don’t know. I’m just not that way. I like being in the corner and watching. I like feeling a part of things while being on the fringe. 

Beyond that, being with my family in a social way is ten times different than being around people like my customers. I don’t hate my customers, so don’t get me wrong, but they’re not blood related. I don’t look at each of them and see the part of me that I’ve become stemming from who my family is. My family is loud, bold, and the most loving bunch I know. For an introvert like me, that’s a lot to handle, and I love every damn minute of it because they’re MINE. That’s my family, my blood, and the legacy handed to me. I wouldn’t trade it for a damn thing in the world. 

I don’t go out every weekend. I hate bars. I hate crowds. I don’t enjoy myself in them. I don’t like being watched; I don’t like being a part of someone else’s commentary. Sometimes, I just want to sit with another person or two, someone I feel 100% comfortable with and not saying a damn word. 

Best damn therapy in the world…

 

 
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Posted by on 06/17/2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Vacation is close…

I am a week away from vacation. It’s a big deal to me. This is the first true vacation I’ve had in five years. Due to fiscal issues, I did not have the opportunity to do much other than not work with my vacations. This year, I’m part of the family Myrtle Beach trip, and I’m excited.

I have a large family. A lot of people can say that, but I do not know many families where the extended members (aunts, uncles, nieces, grandparents, etc) get together on a regular basis and all take vacations together. We are close knit. My cousins are some of my best friends, and while I tend to be quiet in groups, I grew up knowing them, watching them grow alongside of me, and will always have this sort of connection to them that no words can satisfy.

This year, we are, once again, going to Myrtle Beach. I went with much the same group five years ago. We drive, which means 2 days travel down, and a night’s stay in a motel. When we arrive at our condo, it’s usually with a sense of relief and that vacation is really starting.

We’re not the exciting people. We don’t go to all the tourist traps, or spend every night out on the town. Heck, we don’t even spend every day swimming in the ocean, or going to all that South Carolina provides. Truth is, most of us sit on a couch, lay on a bed, or sit on the beach with a book, just absorbing the sun that we’ve missed in the five month winter we have, and enjoying not being at work, not being on a deadline, and not being at someone’s mercy.

That’s why vacation is so important. Sure, some (including me) cannot unplug totally while gone, but honestly, I take my laptop, not just to websurf, but to write. I take my cell so my family can reach me. I have even given coworkers the right to text me when they need to vent. But, to not have to be up at 4am to go to work and deal with overrunning pots, loud people, and the crazies? Paradise doesn’t quite describe it.

I enjoyed my last trip. A lot happened, and it was somewhat overwhelming, and even now, I’m looking at my bank account and wondering if I saved enough, and whether this trip was worth the loss. Then, I look in the mirror, I look at my work schedule, I feel the tension in my shoulders, and I read the commentary my cousin, who I haven’t seen since Christmas (and that was brief!), excitedly posts on my Facebook profile, and I know the answer. This is my family. One day, sadly, I will not have them here to make them laugh. These vacations are once in a lifetime opportunities. The same group may not go another year. The same festivities may not happen again. And, really, I must evaluate: Am I willing to lose that?

I think you already know my answer.

 
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Posted by on 04/08/2011 in Uncategorized

 

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