Wednesday, March 21, 2018

You know...


I’m an avid writer when I’m upset about anything.  Not for public purposes, just for my own therapeutic purposes.  When I’m gone, the kids are going to find endless little notes/essays/rants, and they can be entertained/surprised!
But I wanted this one to be public. Hugely, publicly public!!  Because what I really want is to shout this unfair/shitty situation from the public rooftops, and since that’s not the correct thing to do, I’m just going to leave it where it MAY or may not be ever seen. Here!!  Yes, here is better, here where it feels public, but no one ever really  visits!   And that will have to do.
I had a friend.  She was a good friend.  A bestie…for a time.  We had a great many things in common.  A shared sensitivity to the ravages of this world, a belief in good.  And, I thought, an understanding of each other.  I knew she was more socially minded than I, and she knew I was more insular, less inclined to socialize so much.  It was ok, I thought.  I once stayed on the phone with her when she was dangerously depressed, knowing her husband was on his way home.  I dropped my own travel plans (she never knew!) to feed her animals when her mother became suddenly ill and she had to go.
And she once saved my life during a terrible, turbulent time.  She was there.  And I loved her for that, then and now.
There were other things I merely tolerated.  Her unfortunate tendency toward extreme selfishness.  Her way of saying things that were thoughtless and hurtful.  But I forgave, and I assume she disliked parts of me, and she forgave.  Because we were friends.
And then there came a time when I was in dire straits, emotionally.  We lost somebody who shouldn’t have been lost.  He mattered terribly to me and to many others.  A child (though not my own) who seemed  so like my own.  I was shattered to my core, and the only way I got up each day was because I was afraid not to.  I found a way to move on, but it took me many, many, many long months.
And then my Mum became ill in the middle of it all, and gave me another terrible jolt. And a couple of days after that, my friend called in need of help.
The quick back story is that she had a relative who had a child.  This relative was troubled and troublesome. My friend had told me many,  MANY times that she was not a person to be trusted.  She had stolen from everyone who had helped her, including my friend, and had caused a great deal of misery for a great many people.
I was asked a favor.  Could I go immediately and retrieve this relative and her child from a domestic violence situation an hour and a half away.
I rarely say no to people in need. 
But this was one of those occasions when I did.  I told my friend to call the cops instead, if her relative was in danger. I told her I couldn’t help when the outcome for me and mine could be robbery/physical harm.  I apologized but told her my own emotional state had to come first this time.
And that was that.
During a long year of suffering, I went to ground.  I couldn’t seem to recover from the terrible grief I was suffering, although I continued to fake it when I had to.  I went to Australia, reconnected with my Mum and family, and came home again.  I suffered, but slowly, slowly, I started to recover.
And then, a year or so in, I wrote an email.  I apologized to my dear friend for my absence. I explained everything, as you do with a bestie.  I laid my heart bare to her.  And apologized again.
And then I waited.  And several days later, I received her gut-wrenching reply. It was filled with ‘understanding.’  It was filled with ‘forgiveness.’  
And then… she said that although she did understand and forgive,  ours was not a friendship she had an interest in renewing.  That she preferred to surround herself with people who had a better idea of give and take in relationships than I had shown.  And she wished me well.
And then, her self-congratulations about her magnitude in forgiving someone who had hurt her so badly covered her social media for days.  How proud she was of herself. And then I watched how her 'real' friends rallied and congratulated her too.
And how inordinately sad I was.  How my faith in human nature was shattered as I watched her, so pleased with herself, still believing her own much-touted creed.  Not seeing…
Sometimes, I wish I’d told her some stuff over the years.  How whenever she told me that yet another ‘friend’ had hurt her feelings, had dumped her, had been cruel, that in each tearfully related incidence, I could have told her why they did it.  And how it was always understandable when you looked at it from another angle. Was it a friend’s duty to tell her?  To have shown her she wasn’t always quite as loving/nurturing as she thought she was?  I still don’t know.
I wish I’d told her how my feelings were hurt every time she told me in detail about her friend/arty group that met often, and never once invited me along, even knowing I’d lost a tribe when I moved too, just as she had.  I might have liked it. Like I said, I’m not crazy social but I’d have liked the opportunity to find out.
It’s been another year.  I unfriended her on FB because it seemed like the right thing to do. Why be hypocritical, right?  I deleted tons of written but unsent emails, which ranged from conciliatory and explanatory to vicious and biting – none worth sending; she’d made the bed that we both now lie in.
Truth is, I hope she’s happy.  I wish often that I could just text her and find out how she’s doing.  I wish she still cared how I’m doing.
Truth is, I miss her a lot. 
And that, according to a counselor I asked, is what is needed to find that detestable word - closure.
Gotta keep it real - I don’t feel any better….
It still sucks.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018, eh? Ok!



Welcome to my end of year ramblings!  My thoughts always meander on this date and you who stick with me get to follow along the winding trail with me!  Lucky you!! ;0)

The end of another year.  Didn’t we just do all this about five minutes ago?? 

It’s very cold. Words like arctic, 10 minute frost bite warning, dangerous, deadly, are being bandied about by serious faced TV meteorologists.  It’s so cozy warm inside that I don’t take enough notice, and I walk the granddogs outside without enough layers.  Jesus…it’s the kind of cold that it’s hard to explain if you’re not living it, but it actually hurts to breathe in, and my lightly gloved fingers ache within a few seconds. Big, fat clunky gloves next time!  Thankfully, the dogs don’t love it either, and their legs tremble as they quickly pee and turn to haul me back inside again! Phew!

So – it’s been a year where I really became a working artist!  I mean I’ve always sold a bit here and there, but this was the first year of regular, pretty constant work!  Me!  A reallytrulyartist!  Yippee!  One of my 2018 resolutions is to improve, improve, improve, and to try to be a little less harsh on myself maybe. :0)

And more metal work, better metal work, new techniques, new fun! Excited to begin!

Another resolution- back on the 5/2 and no more cookies and chocolates  and yummy carbs!  That resolution means I have to eat all the sweets today, right?!  Oh well, that may be disordered thinking, but Ima still eat all the sweets today! And then I’ll buy a treadmill, ready to sell again, {like new, hardly used! ;0) } in about 2 years!  No, no, just kidding, I’ll use it, Mike, I promise! ;o)

This year was good.  I enjoyed my work, and Mike and I had a quiet, busy but pleasant year. We get along almost perfectly. I don’t remember the last time we had a disagreement, let alone an argument, and we like the same kind of things, laugh at the same nonsense. We’re friends, as well as spouses, and we’ve decided that’s to be celebrated!  I like to sit sometimes and remember why we got together, the things I admired and appreciated in him, the things I was ready to fight to maintain, the obstacles we overcame, the blended family we managed to successfully cobble together. I like to occasionally tell the world – thanks Facebook! – that he’s the best husband/father EVER. He took it all very seriously, while always providing laughs (groans!) and the kids all love him dearly, I know. I’ve seen many step relationships so fraught with difficulties that it never really works, so I always say – how impossibly lucky are we all to have found this guy from the other side of the Earth!? This year, we’ll celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary, (big fat flipoff to all those who said it wouldn’t/couldn’t work out!) and I love him more than ever.  How IMPOSSIBLY lucky am I??!

And this year was bad. We lost Cleo AND Tipsy, and it was hard. Really hard. These furkids of ours are so integral to the family, and leave a massive emptiness when they are suddenly gone.  I know we were lucky to have Jazzi and Cleo right from the little puppies they were when we got them, to a ripe old age with very few health issues in between, but oh my, it just seems impossible to believe when they’re suddenly not there. Sad, quiet house.  For me, it was even harder when Tipsy left me, and I’m still missing her terribly. My studio shadow. I love Maddie, the left-behind-cat, but she is less affectionate, less shadow-y, more Mike’s cat! (How does that even happen when he’s more of a dog person?? Haha!) Anyway, we’re adjusting, and I think a new kitten, a playmate for Maddie, is in the very near future.

The kids are doing well, all doing their things; we have grandchild number four due within the next couple of weeks – what a lovely new years treat! And we have plans for the new year together and separately!  I will continue with my hypnosis, which I think is proving (surprisingly) valuable for my  encroaching agoraphobia and continuing anxieties, and I’ve already developed a few techniques for stress management which seem to be working.  Oh and Heather’s gonna dye my hair purple too, so that’s gonna be a 50 year old wish granted! :0) So thrilled that I suddenly don’t care about the inevitable judgment!  Hypnosis must be working!!
Now about that tattoo…. Hahahahaha!

So in a nutshell, the resolves are – thinner, less stressed/anxious, better artist/marketer. Easypeasy!

Happy new year one and all. May your 2018 be filled with all that you wish for yourselves and, though it’s hard to imagine how this is going to be possible, may this chaotic, crazy, topsy-turvy world resume some sort of order and calm.  You know – just the normal crazy instead of 2017 crazy!  Yeah, y’all know what I mean!

Peace!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!



Well, here we are again! These new years come around surprisingly quickly, don’t they?

It’s been years since I made a resolution – felt like I was setting myself up for an annual failure!  And perhaps I was, but this year I’m feeling the urge to do it again anyway. What’s life without regular failure, eh?? ;0)  

In the past, the old favorite was to lose weight, and yep, it still makes the list! But now that 90 pounds are already gone, (and only four pounds sneaked back on over the holiday season, so yay!)  it is now just a determination that that last stubborn 15 will get the hell offa my butt!  
Clearly, that will change my life for the better. :p

But seriously now, in 2017:
I resolve to say no when I have to, and yes when I want to. 

 I resolve to listen to myself more and others less.

I resolve to work harder at my drawing, take tutorials, experiment and improve, improve, improve…and be less critical of the final work.  I may never be an artist who achieves photo-realism, but I know from the huge response to my art/craft fairs this year that I’m not too shabby at what I do either!

And I resolve to write more, be it journal stuff or blog stuff or whatever. It’s good for me!  And sooner or later, using Candy Crush as a stress reliever will have to come to an end, and I’ll need a replacement so I don’t have a breakdown… :o)  Write, write, write!

I saw a lady older than me the other day who was wearing crazy colors, had gorgeous turquoise highlights in her hair and the cutest red boots EVER!  She was color and glory and beauty on a dismal winter day and my gray on gray on gray ensemble suddenly seemed so….NOT me!   She exuded excitement, laughter and confidence. Her very presence made me smile and say hi!  And her enthusiastic response and consequent chatter made me feel as though she was some kind of insta-family.  My kinda people. So I resolve to embrace the inner hippie that I love so much! I never feel more at home in my own skin  than when I am wearing something a little bohemian and colorful, when my (untouched by hairdresser for over a year now!) hair is a little wild and unmanageable, when my eyeliner is a little too blue and my lipstick a little too purple. When I ignore the little (bitch!) voice inside my head telling me I’m too old for those purple tights with that shortish denim skirt!
If I have one life, then let it be filled with color!

I resolve to work on my ever encroaching agoraphobia. I am overly content to be at home in my much-loved studio. I am less and less likely to be out and about, and I don’t really wanna become that person, so I’ll visit more and hunker less. I’ll visit stores that are out of my neighborhood and comfort zone, but which beckon with all their treasures. (Dick Blick, Boston!! OMG!  Ikea, Stoughton!! ) 

And I hereby renew my lifelong resolve to never wear sweatpants, yoga pants or leggings except if I’m working out….so like, never… 
:0)

Happy New Year, folks! May your 2017 be filled to the brim with whatever makes you happy!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

BitterSweet



Last night I dreamed again.

And now, too early, I sit, hoping that this strong, hot coffee will kick-start me into action and chase away the doldrums. The season will always be bittersweet, and I embrace the sweet, and force the bitter into my internal lock box and throw away the key. But the bitter swells, the box bulges, the seams weaken; a slow leak begins to infiltrate…and I dream again.

And so I write again. 

I can’t be more than six. A hopeful, dreamy little girl, I watch the sunrise through my bedroom window, beautiful, harsh, blood red, cruel- and force myself to wait a few more minutes, allowing the excitement to build within.  I hear Mum begin the Christmas day food preparation. It’s already hot - too hot for turkey and Christmas pudding, but turkey and Christmas pudding it will be, because it’s always been. I hear Dad singing Captain Mac and my little-girl-heart fills up. Yes. It's Christmas.

And suddenly, dream-logical,  it’s me in the kitchen, up to my elbows in flour, sweating as I cook and cook and cook and cook in temperatures that demand nothing more than a cold salad, a glass or two of ice cold white wine and a dip in the pool. It’s Christmas eve and the children talk excitedly, endlessly.  Danny is bragging that he’s going to wake up at 1 am to open up his stocking. He teases that he will open theirs as well, and there are wails and shouts. Flour flying, I wag my finger, calm ruffled feathers and implement the ‘only one gift before everyone is up’ rule. He complains - it’s not fair - but the rule actually became a thing and stayed in place as long as stockings lasted! Now there’s a memory that makes me smile!

The dream is about food mainly, and Danny features heavily. I am the cook/ he is the cook/ Mum is the cook. Mum cooks traditional sausage rolls and mince pies, light, heavenly. Danny encourages us to try his bacon and egg ice cream. :0)  And me?  Everything I cook burns. Everything. And I don’t mean I overcook the beef slightly. I mean I open the oven and every single thing is a small, black unrecognizable chunk. And I stand in the kitchen alone -always alone- and I have to go in and tell them all that once again I have ruined Christmas, that we have no food, and I know the carefree laughter I’m hearing will stop, and they will stare at me, waiting for me to fix it - and I can’t fix it, ever. And the panic grows, stealthy and steady and strong.  But dream-Danny opens the oven and says ‘no, Mum, look. It’s not burned, it’s fine.’  And just like that, it’s fine. And the laughter soars, and outside  the frigid, white world becomes a hazy, humid, blood-red and fierce summer day…and I wake up with my heart pounding,  thoroughly lost in Christmases past, and the bitter swells and finally bursts the seams of the lock box and I miss him so, and I lie curled up with pain and sorrow, regret and longing and self-recrimination washing over me like ocean waves, and I stop fighting and allow it.  Because now is the time. 4am Christmas eve. Still dark. Silent. I consider gathering up the bitter and stuffing it back into the box immediately.  I can do it. I’m really good at it – it wasn’t TAUGHT, as such, but it was just what we did in my family. Stiff upper lip, and all!  But as I lay there this morning, breathing deep and searching for calm, I decided on a re-blending exercise instead. So for each bitter, I deliberately seek out a sweet and allow that memory to thoroughly wash over me. I recall the minutiae – hear the sounds, smell the smells, and slowly, slowly feel life settle itself back into the balance of light and dark  that it is. It's enough...

Busy day today, in traditional Christmas Eve style.  I will have Aussie Christmas music playing as I cook, and I will sing and think and reminisce and feel a slight longing for 100 degree temperatures! I probably won’t burn anything black this time, and tonight I’ll talk to Danny and Mum, a million-trillion miles away, and I will raise my glass to Daddy-man, gone now for thirty years, and wish happy/merry/birthday/Christmas to him, and I will continue to braid the bitter and the sweet together as so many people must do at this time of year. Loss bites hard during Christmas, that bitterness taking little sharp nips out of the sweetness at unexpected moments. But we persevere because...well, because...

I am calm again. The coffee is deliberately crazy strong and I am wide awake and jangling! The dream is receding. Nothing is burned beyond repair, the season seems bright and cheery again. The sunrise is not blood red and fearsome, but soft, a peachy glow over the snow-white. Gentle. I am feeling the sweetness return in full force. I embrace my beautiful life here, feel the loving arms of my husband around me. My calm. My rock. My love. Tomorrow LOTS of family members will gather here, and we will eat and drink and laugh and love and eat and drink some more.

Sweet!  

As I put my computer aside and re-don the apron in preparation for my Christmas Eve, I am feeling once again the happiness and hopefulness of the season, and I can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow!

Well…almost everyone… 

To anyone who has stayed with my ramblings...!  Hoping your sweet overwhelms your bitter – Merry Christmas, happy holidays, love and great good wishes to all family and friends, near and far - but Danny in particular! WISH you were here. Xoxo