It has been a thoughtful week, friends.
Yesterday morning I felt crazy and weepy and I really didn’t know why, until I realized it was my father’s birthday.
He would have been 67 years old.
Sometimes I am at peace with him leaving us. And sometimes not.
I have a ritual when I struggle to feel that peace, when it begins to hurt too much. I go out in my yard and spend time with Dad’s beloved little apple tree. My husband and I lovingly planted it in the ground a few months ago, liberating it from the huge pot that had housed it for nearly two years. This little baby has thrived in its new spot in our backyard, with an overabundance of leaves and blossoms and branches, so happy in the sunshine. It may sound weird or stupid, but I really do feel comforted and connected to my dad when I go out and spend time with this beautiful little tree. I guess it is my way of coping, knowing that the things he cared about still find a way to live on here, in this place. I like to think that he looks down from where he is, loves what he sees, and connects with it in some way.
I just want him to always know that his time here mattered. I think he doubted that sometimes, when he was here. That is what breaks my heart the most.
Dad, you mattered. I think the lessons of your soul life are showing you that, and you know it to be true now. But just in case you needed to hear it from me, yes, you mattered.
More than words can ever express.
With family, love and loss on my mind yesterday, I really wanted the rest of my day to be about the things that count. I spent some time with my awesome mom, having a few laughs and talking about the pups and fashion and other things that make us smile. I looked forward to a beautiful night with my husband, enjoying his company and feeling gratitude for all I have been blessed with in this life. He then arrived home with a beautiful bouquet of roses for me.
Sometimes he just knows what I need.
I swear, life and love are the most amazing things imaginable.
Friends, have a beautiful weekend.
May it be filled with all the things, and people, who bring you joy.
Friends, 2013 has been a bit rocky so far.
It was supposed to be all about growth and success, health and happiness, confidence and self-love. But it just hasn’t gone as planned. I realize it isn’t over. I still have time to turn things around. Lots of time.
But knowing that doesn’t change the fact that I have been so scared, lost and really self-conscious.
So, what is a girl to do when she’s feeling like she’s not all that?
This girl goes for a dose of unparalleled badassery.
This girl goes out and exercises her Second Amendment right.
I fully acknowledge and understand it; my activity of choice isn’t for everyone. It’s very serious. Controversial in the hearts and minds of some. It’s a little intimidating at first. Okay, a lot intimidating. It’s loud and dusty and dirty.
It requires a lot of trust; in the people around you, and ultimately in yourself.
And that, friends, is what makes it perfect in times like this.
I spent most of yesterday shooting several hundred rounds from three different guns: my new .22 handgun, a .45 and a 12 gauge shotgun that belonged to my grandfather. I quickly found my rhythm, and hit the bullseye again and again. My husband took his turn, hitting each distant target with startling accuracy. My eyes fell on the power in his arms and back, every muscle bulging under his crisp white shirt. In a word: delicious. My ponytailed hair was a mess. My skin smelled of gunpowder and lead. My ears buzzed, traumatized by all the sounds (even though I wore protection). My arms ached from the recoil. I was exhausted.
And it was fantastic.
“You were awesome today, sweetheart,” my husband said, squeezing my hand gently on our hour long drive home. ”Sexy, too.”
I closed my eyes and smiled, squeezing his hand right back, relishing the words I so needed to hear. Pain, fear, illness, all of it makes me question every little thing, and never in a good, constructive way. But when I choose to challenge myself, to trust myself when my heart and soul feel they are at their absolute lowest point, really amazing things can happen. It can be mastering firearms, or anything really. It can be so many things. Whatever you choose. This just happens to be what I choose sometimes.
Freedom sure is a beautiful thing.
And that, friends, is something we all can agree on.
Make it a great week.
“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”
Friends, I’m distracted.
And I’m sorry.
Life dramatically shifted for me this week. I have things going on that demand my attention, and I fear that I don’t have much to give here right now. I may feel this way for a mere few days. Or maybe a week. Maybe longer. I just don’t know.
I wish I could wake up tomorrow to a completely different world, with a solution to my every challenge, so I can quickly get back to the business of being me.
When I can be myself, words flow from my heart effortlessly, and I simply can’t wait to share them here. And that’s the problem. I’m not myself. The words aren’t coming. I need to work through some big things first, so I can feel that beauty and wisdom in my heart again. When I started getting sick many years ago, and the news from my doctor wasn’t getting better, acceptance went a long way in my healing process and putting me on this path to realizing my dreams. For the first time in what felt like forever, everything was possible. But this week, with every test and doctor’s appointment, I feel my acceptance slipping away. The possible is suddenly feeling impossible.
I know this is a temporary setback; and once I get some decisions made I will be on my way to feeling truly empowered again. But now all I can do, today, is move forward simply and easily, and take the small but significant step of focusing on what is good:
A man whose love for me knows no end, no matter what comes our way.
A safe place to call home.
My fur-suit-wearing angel babies.
Through all of this, I am indeed a humble, thankful recipient.
A recipient of abundant grace.
I thank all of you for your continued support.
May we all look forward knowing how blessed we truly are.
Have a beautiful weekend.
I’ll be back soon.
I will be disappearing for a few days, friends. I long to escape a bit, unplug literally and figuratively, from the rituals of daily life. I want to savor a delicious weekend with a pretty delicious guy, who just happens to be my husband.
Sunday is our fifth wedding anniversary.
I have been thinking a lot about love, more so than usual. I know I talk about it here a lot, maybe even to the point where it drives some of you a bit crazy. But I rely on it, to help me overlook all that is less than ideal in my life, and to make sense of a challenging world that often feels confusing and unkind.
Despite all our strength, knowledge and power to change, and the ability to right so many wrongs in society, it often seems that nothing can be done about the greatest tragedy of all: human apathy. It is why I want to seize the love in my life with both hands and never let it go; I want to take it with me everywhere. Five years ago, on a bright, perfect December afternoon, in one of the most beautiful seaside towns on earth, I was blessed beyond measure when I was legally and spiritually joined with this man. It was the culmination of a miracle in my eyes, and to this day it feels just as magical.
I wish it for everyone.
An anniversary message to my husband:
Love, I know things didn’t quite turn out the way be both envisioned them, but we’ve got each other. In knowing and loving you I have learned something about life, something really cool and unexpected. Here it is: we spend so much time in our younger years dreaming big dreams, without even realizing much bigger ones are waiting in the wings, yearning to come true. They always find a way. You came true. Being with you and loved by you is like coming home. It is exactly where I am meant to be.
Honey, despite all our challenges, I would go through them a million times over if it means you will be by my side. I’m really, really, glad you are here.
I love you.
Wishing everyone a safe, peaceful weekend filled with love and every other wonderful thing imaginable.
Until next week . . .
“Love, I’m out of deodorant.”
I heard this hideously annoying racket coming out of our hall bathroom, and then a full on crash as things started falling on the floor. I rolled over in bed and covered my head with a pillow, trying to escape the misery.
This was last Tuesday. At five in the morning.
“I’m out of toothpaste, too. And that blue Crest rinse.” I could hear him rifling through his basket of crap, totally oblivious to the early hour.
“Can’t you be quiet? And turn the light off.”
“But I need my stuff.”
“Making a mess in the bathroom isn’t going to make it any better, shit isn’t going to magically appear. Just stop it please. Use my stuff.”
“But I like my own stuff. Can you go out today and get me some things?”
“Why do you do this?”
“For the love of God, just be quiet and turn off the light.” With that I rolled over again, signaling that I was done with the discussion. He kissed me goodbye and left for work. After that I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Thanks to him, it was time to get up, and damn it, I really needed a few extra hours.
Obviously there was an expectation; his expectation that I would go out on that day and get whatever he needed. I already had so much to do, being two days before a holiday; and I was really struggling physically. I didn’t appreciate one more thing, a detour that would take away from everything else I had to do.
You may be wondering what this is all about, because on the surface it really doesn’t seem like a big deal. Let me explain. My husband and I use separate bathrooms. I claimed my rightful place in our spacious master the day we moved in; he is relegated to our hall bath, with significantly less counter space. Because of this separation, I don’t keep tabs on his personal items. And it’s fair to say that in general, I have enough to keep track of when it comes to our household. I do all the shopping, cleaning, finances, etc., everything to do with the management of our house I take care of. I am also managing life with an illness, so I need to cut corners and keep things efficient as much as possible. I shouldn’t have to keep track of a grown man’s stuff.
Having lupus is a complicated reality. It demands things of me that most people don’t have to think about. I have to plan my errands carefully. When I have energy, I run two, three, even four errands in the same day; I have to anticipate days when I will not be well enough to go out and get things done. I even got into the habit of buying two of everything at a time for him, to make things easier.
I have drilled this into my husband’s head time and again. But alas, as he likes to say, with his Y chromosome comes something called selective hearing. Sometimes I think my time and energy would be better served if I instead talked to a manhole cover.
He just can’t seem to follow the rules.
Rule #1: When you are getting low on things, like personal items, let me know ahead of time. For heaven’s sake, write shit down.
Rule #2: Avoid springing last minute crap on me, especially during a holiday week when I am already stressed and tired, and I’ve got tons of stuff to do. (It is worth noting that the only household efforts he puts forth during Thanksgiving week are eating and sitting on his ass watching football. It’s enough to make me want to strangle him.)
Rule #3: Never wake me up at 5 in the morning to tell me you are out of aforementioned personal items, or to tell me anything else for that matter. I don’t need to hear your litany of crap at that ungodly hour.
I swear, between being sick, taking care of my house and dogs, and keeping tabs on him, I feel like a one woman army.
Four hours later, I angrily made my way to good ‘ol Target. I was so tired. My joints were throbbing and I felt this terrible pressure in my back. I went directly to the personal care section and gripped the cart for support. Old Spice deodorant. Check. That blue Crest rinse he likes. Check. His preferred type of Colgate toothpaste (because heaven forbid I get the wrong one). Check. As simple as it all sounds, it really felt like too much to me, almost a blur. And then it went from bad to worse. I heard a horrible sound to my left, coming from just ten feet away.
It was a child, a little girl. Having an epic, one-for-the-ages meltdown, replete with foot stomping, object throwing, and even hard slaps against her mother’s leg. The downward spiral continued. She went right for those baskets at her eye level, the ones that hold razors. She grabbed about a half dozen and threw them on the floor, and in my direction. They landed mere centimeters from my feet. How delightful.
She sounded like a wounded, psychotic cat. It was the kind of sound that makes you want to claw at your face in misery, the kind that makes you pray for the ground to swallow you up, anything to rescue you from it. The kind that makes you want to scream right back at the parent and say “what the hell is wrong with you? You’re the adult, act like it!”
To put it bluntly, I was pissed. What was wrong with this woman? She just stood there, doing nothing, while her kid went batshit crazy. Why did I have to deal with that? Why did that have to come into my world when I was already feeling miserable? I shot the mother one of my signature disapproving looks. She looked away, and continued to let her child rant and rave like a wild maniac. I did what was within my power. I walked away. Even when I was over five aisles away, almost to the registers, I could hear the wailing and screaming.
Twenty minutes later I was home. I was clenching my jaw, something I always do when I am stressed. The pounding in my temples graduated to a full fledged migraine. If I was going to get through this day, and if my husband was going to survive my wrath when he got home, I had to find a way to reclaim my calm. I decided to take a a nice hot bath.
It was exactly what I needed. The power of Dead Sea salts continues to astound me. As I remained submerged and felt all the pressure leaving my body, my perspective shifted. Instead of anger and frustration, at my spouse, that mother and her crazy child, I began to feel compassion.
Compassion for the child who, despite such unbecoming behavior, was perhaps dealing with the world and her emotions the only way she knew how.
Compassion for the mother who maybe, despite an apparent lack of effort, was simply too overwhelmed with life to quell her child’s outburst appropriately.
Compassion for my husband, who maybe had been working at a more frenetic pace than I realized. Forgetting to alert me that he was running low on things really is small stuff in the end.
And above all, compassion for myself, and realizing that I shouldn’t push myself to go out on the bad days, when my energy is stretched to its already precarious limit, when I am ill-equipped to process the things that are going on around me. Realizing that responsibilities can often wait a day or two (or three or four), when I am tired and in pain, with zero tolerance for things like a child’s freak out.
But despite all the newfound calm in my heart for everything, and my beloved specifically, there is still one thing that I won’t waiver on from here on out.
My husband can go out and buy his own crap when he doesn’t follow the rules.