Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Duck and Cover...Death is Afoot

Once, when my then-boyfriend/now-husband and I were much, much younger, we went to a Renaissance Faire down near Texas.  There was a fortune teller there who read palms.  Ah, yes, this intrigued me quite a bit, so I convinced my beloved that we should go find out our destiny; however, to insure that we did not skew her interpretation of our future events, I thought it wise what we quickly separate from one another and approach the mystic as though we were strangers (although, I presume that if she knew her craft she would, in fact, be wise to my foolish attempts to thwart her all-knowingness).

My beloved was informed that there was something that he did as a hobby which he would eventually do as a career (this has, in fact, proved to be true!  One point for All-Knowing-One), and that he would have three children--possibly four (we did in fact have three children, and one very-early-on miscarriage,  Two points for All-Knowing-One).  She also told him (much to his relief) that he would die in his sleep rather in the tragic way he often worried.  (Now, these fears of which she spoke were, in fact, true fears, but the jury is still out on ultimate manner of no points to anyone, yet.)

Yours truly (who wandered over after a decent amount of time had passed, and tried to look oh-so-disinterested) was told that I would have three children...perhaps four.  (Wow!  A total of three points for the All-Knowing-One)  I was also told that I would live into my 90s, and would have two great loves in my life, and that one would be late in life.  (Woo-hoo me!  Ahem, sorry, babe!)  She also said that later in life I would move and would live abroad.  (Again, yah me!)  No points here, yet.  Time will tell.

However, the other night, I was quite certain that the All-Seeing-One's record would be shattered.  You see, lately, I have been having issues with swallowing.  (I know, I know, how hard is it?  I have been doing all my life, for Pete's sake!)  But, the other night, was particularly bad.  I took my first bite of potato salad and would not go up, and it would not go down.  So, I excused myself and went to the bathroom (which, luckily, is only about a foot down the hall from our dining room).  I coughed and struggled to breathe.

"You okay, honey?" came an overly cheerful voice from the dining room.

Unable to speak, I slammed the toilet lid a couple of times.

Yeah, that brought him running.

The kids did their "swirling around the feet, panicking thing" that they get from my mother-in-law (God bless her), and I became increasing aware of a crushing pain in my chest.

I slapped my back repeatedly, assuming this was some kind of Universal Code for "Give me the Fuckin' Heimlich Maneuver!"  He quickly caught on and, after much manuevering and back thumping (on his part) and chest clutching, gasping, gurgling, drooling, and panicking (on my part), sweet relief found me--I could breathe again.

Sweet relief...because I was not ready for All-Knowing-One to break her streak; I was not ready for Death to claim me in my decidedly untidy bathroom, with tears and drool running down my face.  I had always thought Death would find me at a slightly less embarrassing moment.  It should be dramatic, and memorable and, preferably, heroic.

But then again, as I am all too just never know where Death, that bastard, is lurking.  Maybe someday I will make friends with Death but, if so, it will be when I am in my 90s and living abroad with some hot stud.

Until then, it is duck and cover all the way.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Once Was Lost...

There is something to be said about stopping ever now and then and looking back to see from where you are coming.   I think that, perhaps, if I did this more frequently I would see that I was veering off track before I ended up hopelessly lost.

Right now I find that I am backtracking a bit, following my footsteps while they are still fresh to see if I can find may way again because, FUCK, somewhere I definitely got off track.

Great, now I have that Robert Frost poem threading through my brain, and yet that is not what I mean at all.  I am not talking about conscious decisions to take a certain road, or blazing new trails, or being all kinds of adventuresome.

I am talking about becoming so intent on the destination that you lose your footing, you stumble, and by the time you pick yourself up you find that you are not all all where you thought you were...and you become paralyzed by the sense of panic that swells up as you realize that You Are Lost.

Perhaps even worse, however, is when you misstep and take a fall, only to pick yourself up and catch a glimpse of yourself--just for a moment--in the faces of those around you, only to realize that you no longer recognize yourself and what you have become.

I still recognize myself.  There are a few more lines there that reflect this journey, and my eyes are a bit darker than I remember them, but I do still recognize myself.  I am relieved.

I must stop more, look around, and watch my step.  Perhaps sit down a bit, and let it all soak in before moving on.

I was lucky this time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Outside the Box

I woke up this morning with such grand intentions.  (That should have been my first indication that today would be a bit of a challenge.)  So ironic...I finally feel like I am finding my voice and the only thing I have been able to use it for today is yelling at the kids to pick up their rooms!

But I am finally carving out a few minutes...because I need this time even more when Life seems to want to allow it the least.  I need to know that I am more than just someone who cleans up messes, and packs lunches, and cleans out the cat litter box. 

I keep thinking about this patchwork of a life with which I have been blessed.  There are the stories that my grandmother told me when I was a child which are woven next to the poem my elder daughter wrote on the back of the past-due electric bill.  There are snippets of songs, and wafts of smells, that allow me to travel back in time stitched snugly next to my dreams for my children's future.  I am ashamed to admit that I have neglected this patchwork shroud.  There are parts that I cut out, and there are gaping holes that remain, that need desperately to be tended that I can continue to be proud of this mantel. 

But really, what I really want is to make sure that, when my kids look at me. they know that there is something more there...more than just someone who wiped their butts and kissed their boo-boos.  I want them to know that I have hopes, and dreams, and fears.  I want them to know that I am not perfect, and that I don't expect perfection from them either.  I want them to live life fearlessly, to love passionately, and to dream big. I want them to know that sacrifices can pay off, but not to play the martyr. 

I have seen too many fucking martyrs who wear their penance like a showpiece.  I want better than that for them.  

I woke up this morning with such grand intentions...but there is tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow will be the day that I can be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the best of friend.  Yeah, I doubt it too, but just maybe...

"maybe."  Such a loaded word.

It reminds me of Pandora's box, and how she let out all the evils except one...hope...the most dangerous of them all.

Good thing I like living on the edge.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Looking at Things Backwards, They Suddenly Make Sense...

I have been thinking a lot today about writing, living the life I want to live, being who I want to be, and lots of other things-involving-words.  I feel like I am just now starting to find my voice, to get comfortable in my own skin.  I am tired of trying to be what people need me to be.  I am ready to just be myself and, honestly, it is such a relief.  It is exhausting trying to live up to expectations, especially when those expectations aren't really coming from someone else, but rather are things you shackle yourself with based on what you THINK they want.

Reading back at several of my previous posts, I realized that I sounded more like a version of myself rather than my whole self.  It was like I had amplified parts of myself and excluded other parts.  Yeah...I don't want to do that.  I want to find out more about who I am, who I want to be, and project that out into the world.  When I look at the past ten years, I realize that the times when things seemed to "fall into place" were those times when I was being the most authentic.  But like when you are a kid and finally master a task, only to screw it up when you holler at your mom to have her come watch...I think that once I realized that the Universe had cast its gaze on me I have always immediately tripped over myself and face planted on the sidewalk.

 That seems to be my relationship with the Universe...I am the nerdy little sister that talks too much, tries to hard to impress, worries too much about what people think, won't let anyone have a moment's peace, and runs away crying when the Universe lashes out demanding some breathing room.

Time to try something new...embrace my inner geek, laugh at inappropriate times, act and react with spontaneous abandon, kick off my shoes and feel the cold ground under my feet as the warm spring sun shines on my face.  I have hidden away too long.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Words, Words, Words...

I have to be really honest about something...I have never been particularly fond of spring.  It freaks me out.  Sure, I like the fresh fruit and vegetables.  I like the flowers.  It is just...well, I was an English major.  March, well, it has the whole Ides of March thing, and I walk around slightly paranoid all month.  And then April, well, according to T. S. Eliot, it "is the cruelest month."  These things tend to put me a bit on edge.  But then I was also one of those kids that was afraid to step on cracks for fear of breaking my mother's back.  Words have always held too much power for me.  Words have always pained me more than deeds.

Yet, here I am, working with words.  I work with words at my "day job," and I am working with words on both of my blogs, and I write stories as well (yep, more words).  This has me wondering if I have some sort of unacknowledged masochistic streak (or is it sadistic streak?)...I should probably Google that at some point...

So, since I haven't shamelessly plugged it here, yet, I do actually have another blog that I am working on with a friend.  It centers around gluten-free food, seasonal eating, etc.  There are some really awesome recipes, tips for healthy eating, and you get to watch the both of us muddle through as we try to change the world.  There will be laughter, tears and, inevitably, some epic failures.   You should definitely come along for the ride.

Now that I am dealing with my word issues, I will be here more often, too.  No joke.  It is kind of like therapy.  I write; I feel better; wow, I suddenly want to write more; hey, I feel even better...

Then the old dreams emerge...dreams of books, and bookstores, and a long-awaited life just waiting to be lived.