Monday, August 29, 2011

Musical Notes

This song has haunted me all week- I have to get it "off my chest" so to speak.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Owning All My Truths

When I was 11 and my parents divorced, I learned the hard way that you lose friends when you show your true self, with all your flaws and brokenness. When you are sad and unsure and insecure and depressed and questioning the world. Kids don’t like to see that chaos. And neither, sometimes, do adults.

Oh sure, you say, that’s not how “true friends” are.
Not adults.
Sometimes, however, they are.

And I certainly say that now with a more accepting and forgiving heart than I had at 11 while watching friends blow me off as I struggled with my collapsing world. We all have our own journeys and sometimes we can’t walk fully with another the way they might need us to. I’ve been let down and I’ve let down others that I truly cared about. And as I have navigated the waters of being codependent, I’ve worked with boundaries and not feeling responsible for taking on- perhaps even feeding on- the need to be needed, to be the knight to sweep in and try to “save” everyone. I’ve let relationships fall away that I didn’t feel were mutually healthy and I’ve patched together a few that I know are a bit feeble, but that I’m not ready to give up on.

I do have close friends that I’ve let in, that I let myself be totally honest with and with whom I trust and relax enough to show myself in all my multifaceted glory- the good, the bad, the ugly, the stream of profanities. And I am still the kind of gal that wears a bit too much of my heart on my sleeve and speaks out a bit too freely. I’ve gotten better over the years- being a fundraiser will teach you that. Or maybe it’s worse. That’s an interesting debate. Is learning how to function in society, to conform to expectations a sign of maturity or simply defeat? I could argue it both ways, but then I am someone who dwells often in the multiple shades of gray. Not unsure, just comfortable knowing that truth and knowledge are fluid and subjective.

On Facebook I have a lot of friends who like to read my happy or snarky comments and observations. It makes me happy to make them happy. It’s a varied group of folks, from professional contacts and long-ago elementary friends with just the merest sliver of connection, to the closest of friends and family. I can be silly and explore my flair for the absurd and dramatic in 420 characters. There are hints of my life, hints of my ups and down, but they are like glimpses into a viewfinder. As well they should be. As protective as I can sometimes be, I am also quite guilty of the “overshare.”

But I promised myself that this blog would be for me. For my true self. My honest expressions. To please no one. To only try to explain and explore my own psyche and not play with and hide behind silly words. To be a place of seeing who I am. A place that I can change my mind and remake myself without having to defend it to anyone. And someday a place that I can share with LittleMan so that he can know a version of me that he wouldn’t otherwise.

Today was hard and I am writing here to explore why that was. It was the third day of school for LM. The routine is already set and is successful and comfortable. After I dropped him off I felt overwhelmingly lonely. Since I love my quiet introverted time, the feeling still surprises me. I know that it rationally makes sense- I have been uprooted again, to a place without friends or family. I don’t have a job or colleagues yet and I am also unsure of exactly the path I want to take. I know that these things will change with time. But once again, I am not going to shove down my current feelings. I am not going to try to wipe them away without feeling them fully. I get so sick of our society wanting that. “Get Well” as soon as you are sick; “Smile” as soon as you are sad. Let’s allow ourselves to examine the dark even as we walk towards the light.

So I’m not going to fake it, even as I know that the feelings are fleeting and soon will pass.
“The night can revel in utter darkness for it knows the dawn is near.”

As I drove to Starbucks this morning, I chewed on the lonely.
Examined it.
Tasted it.
In many ways it felt almost like the heartbreak of a break-up. I found myself thinking, “Aw, this was the special place we went to last week.” And “LittleMan would love this car wash.” And as songs came on the radio, I felt that familiar strain of it being “Our Song.” Songs that we like to sign to together. Songs that reminded me of him.

How strange, I thought, that these feelings feel so close to that of a break up. But instead of quashing the thought, I explored with it.

I carried this child in my body. Grew him. Nurtured him. Accepted him as the gift that he is and daily he acts as my proof of God’s love. I love him more deeply, more completely than any emotion I’ve ever know. I did not get to spend as much time I would have liked as he has grown. I had to work, to support us all. I don’t get that time back. And now this huge milestone reminds me of it. And reminds me that this is (maybe, could be, probably) my only chance for these moments.
My only child.

I feel deeply. I examine the world intensely. And here, at least, I will not paste a sticker on it and pretend to be otherwise.

I am proud and excited for my son. I am happy that I made the first day so great that he keeps saying that he wishes every day was the first day. I am excited to get to participate in his class and school. In fact, this job search that I am going to reluctantly embark on will be different from any I’ve ever taken. I am not looking for a specific job this time. I am looking to maintain my most important job of being Mother and filling the rest of the space with whatever else I will be.

Perhaps that too is a part of this feeling of regeneration. Facing the fact that I have no more excuses to hold me back from seizing a bit more life. No one ever said that the phoenix didn’t experience grief as it burned to ash.

Monday, August 22, 2011

And here we are

I'm in an apartment clubhouse, comfortable in air conditioning while listening to the piped in country music while glancing at the HGTV on mute. The area is empty, save for a few folks who will wander through from time to time.

It's still so surreal. I am in Texas. I live here.

What a strange few weeks. We took our time getting here, staying in Louisiana and then just over the Texas line in a town that you miss if you blink. Once we hit Fort Worth, we went straight to the school to register and then on to a cheap hotel gotten with Hotwire. Those five night in a cheap hotel seemed like they would last forever... and like that, it was over. Just another memory of too much Disney channel and swimming and putting together strange microwave meals on paper plates. Then the hubby was off to work and it was just me and the Little Man (LM). We moved into our next phase, which is the apartment we will be in for two weeks. It's been fun, actually. It's quite, a nice upscale community. We are on the second floor and it's a nice setup with thoughtful touches. I could see living here quite peacefully. We have blowup mattress and camp chairs and nice big closets, including a laundry right in the hallway. It's simple & easy and I find myself wanting to continue the kind of life were it's easy to keep things clean because you only have one pan. Okay, maybe I would add a few things, but even now I find myself chasing the boys to keep things clean and organized.

Besides feeling a sense of safety and settle, the best part has been the pool. It's a great resort-style pool with dual waterfalls and it glows green at night as we swim, usually alone. I can't believe how little the resident seem to use the pool, but I enjoy it. On our first evening here, we came to the pool and there were two women with three small children between them. They appeared to be speaking an African-based language & we all smiled at each other. At one point we were swimming on the side of the pool, watching LM show off. I had seen one of the little girls jump in the pool and since the mothers didn't seem to react, I figured she was a good swimmer. After a minute or two the other little girl was trying to get the attention of the mom that I was standing near and she seemed started- it appears the previous jumper couldn't swim. And couldn't stand. But everyone was strangely calm. "So," I asked, "she can't swim?" I jumped over to where the little girl was still under the water and pulled her up. She was coughing and crying and threw up water on me as I handed her to her mom. It was very surreal- everyone seemed very detached and unemotional, as if watching their child almost drown was a common thing, but it certainly rattled me.

The past week was filled with errands and school shopping. It was nice just hanging out with my little guy. The highlight was signing up for a library card. We went to "Meet the Teacher" night last Thursday. Yesterday we tried our second church. It was United Methodist and huge. I liked it- people were friendly, they blessed the Kindergartners and I thought that had a good vibe and evidence of living their faith. It's a possible contender for the future.

And then, blink, the weekend was over just like that. This morning I got up just before 6am, and let me tell you- that hasn't happened in a long, long time. I made the requested breakfast for the first day, which was pancakes with a chocolate chip smile and bacon. With only one bathroom, it was a bit of a juggle with the hubby getting ready too, but soon he was off and it was just us. It was a positive morning and I kept my wits about me because of obsessive planning and prep the night before. It was funny to get ready. I can't even remember the last time I used a hairdryer- working from home for over a year meant that I usually didn't need to. Life has been so carefree and casual for so long- I suppose it will be good to invest a bit more into convention again.

After LM was settled in his classroom- and I had taken enough pics and lingered a little longer than needed- I moved along to the cafeteria for the "Kindergarten Coffee." I say with a few other parents from our class and shared friendly chatter while getting info about sports and churches and the like. I signed up for room mother, and PTA, and a few other posts, and then met another mother at Starbucks for coffee. It was pleasant and nice to get to know here, but I definitely needed this time to come back and just be by myself. Life's just been happening and I needed some space to reflect.

So what's next? Well, it appears we will be able to move into our house early next week. So getting that set up and unpacked & settled will take some serious time & energy. I have promised myself that I would work out and swim daily since I no longer have the excuse of no time. And it's time to begin looking for a job- a search that I think will take a while. I certainly need the money, but I want so much more. Fulfilling work. Benefits. Flexibility. Could be tricky, but I have some plans. But that's another post.

I have been joined in the room by a woman will a really stinky lunch, so I think that's my cue to leave.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Many Goodbyes

I don't have time to write.
I have too many words, too many stories, too many emotions to capture them "write" now.
I should be packing.

And yet, I must write.
The Goodbyes are pulling at me, demanding acknowledgment, if only for a moment.

Three significant ones today.
First, saying goodbye to little man for a play-date. His last chance to see his best friend before we move. The other mother wanted to pick him up. I wanted to drop him off. In the end, hubby had to meet her in a parking lot. They are going to another house to swim- a house I do not know well. I have never let him ride with anyone but family. It is pure hell to not be able to locate him immediately and terrifies me. This was my goodbye to control, and I don't like it one bit.

Today I said goodbye to my job, my boss. We met at Starbucks and I handed over my phone, my corporate card, and more paperwork. I didn't want to say goodbye to my boss and our great relationship. To my freedom. To my paycheck. To a portion of my identity and some certainty.

While we were there, drinking our coffee and laughing about work stories, I see her. At first she walks by and I only see her from behind, noting that she is both beautiful and way too skinny and frail looking. Outside, she turned and started to settle at a table and I realize it's K. I written about her before and the goodbye has been coming. I popped out to say hi- she was on the phone and it was an awkward 30 seconds. She then walked off as I came inside. And that goodbye was so terribly final, because I know that she is slowly killing herself and I can't stop it. Someone who once was almost family. Who shared holiday meals at my home. Now a stranger. I watch again helplessly as drugs steal another person from my heart.

Leaving here isn't the same as leaving home seven years ago, but I am still having trouble saying the proper goodbyes. The house isn't rented or for sale yet. So much will be left behind, and we will come back later to wrap up the goodbyes. We just weren't ready.

The truck is out front and we have three days to load it. We will soon be on the road to unknown paths. I'm not afraid, I just need a little more time to walk both paths.

I'm not ready.
And since this has been a part of our story for the last few months, it just seems so right to include here:

It's time to regenerate, to reinvent myself once more. So, off to it now then, eh?