Failure, Gratitude and Other Stuff of Life

We wouldn’t be living life if all of the decisions we made were good decisions,” I suggested to a coworker after he chastised himself for a multitude of poor decisions he had made in the past. I began to firmly believe that statement as each syllable rolled off my tongue and simultaneously decided that I should probably take my own advice.

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Why is it so easy for me to remind others not to be so hard on themselves but no one is harder on me than me? Why do I beat myself up for not making it to the summit of the tallest mountain in the San Gabriels when I could barely stand due to nausea? Why do I feel like such a fucking failure sometimes when I tried, I gave it my best? I tell others, “You’re trying. That is all one can ask of another human being,” and I believe that with my whole heart though, somehow, in my warped way of thinking, those same rules do not apply to me?

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I have asked myself these questions and then some and the answers vary from the unknown to the complicated to the understandable. Being easier on myself is something I have been and will continue to work on. As a natural people pleaser, I find myself doing things I don’t necessarily want to do just for the sake of making others happy which isn’t such a terrible thing until it involves my mental and physical health. I’m a work in progress, people. Fuck, we’re all works in progress.

I sound like I’m attempting to justify my actions, which isn’t what I’m trying to do at all. I know there’s no need to justify any of my decisions, perceivably good or bad, to anyone unless, again I am harming myself or someone else. I just recognize that part of my growth involves being honest with myself and writing it out and sharing it with you aides in this process. With that, I thank you. Whoever and wherever you may be – thank you. Practicing gratitude is something I don’t do enough of and am certainly making a concerted effort toward.

Up until now, it may appear as if I’m just babbling and in part, I sort of am. My mind has been all over the place lately, er always, which brings me to this: This afternoon, I allowed myself to do some grieving. Notice how I write the word, “allowed.” I’m obsessed with being able to control my emotions, my actions, my thoughts and my surroundings. It’s maddening because every experienced, intelligent person knows that this does not result in any desired outcome whatsoever.

As I expressed my feelings in an abrupt manner, the tears soiling the inside of my ears with that annoying wetness, anxiety threatened to take my breath away. Inside, I was destroying material things and screaming until I was red in the face. I am grateful for the hands that wiped those tears from my face and the embrace that reminded me, “It’s okay. Let it out.”

I feel abandoned,” I confessed. I felt abandoned by my dad as a child and I felt the ultimate abandonment after my mother died. I am so utterly alone inside this mind most of the time and I cannot control it.

You have so many people that care about you,” said those same hands that continued to comfort me amongst my admissions.

And he’s right. I am blessed with some of the most amazing people in my life. My words could never do these people justice but I will always try. These folks are my family and many of their kin have welcomed me into their family with open arms, always telling me they’re praying for me, thinking of me, and so forth. For this, I am beyond grateful. Their sentiments warm my heart and make me feel a little less misplaced.

I am frequently involved in some sort of correspondence with friends near and far, expressing our love and longing for each other’s company. I do not ever take these sincere exchanges for granted. So many people care about me and I, them. Many of these friends I do not speak to on a regular basis but we always pick up right back where we left off as if it were only yesterday. My heart is full and I feel a little less alone when I contemplate on these special relationships.

It’s okay not to be strong all the time,” the comforting hands brushed the hair behind my ear and I repeated his words in my mind like a mantra. It’s going to take some time to fully believe that one but I’m intensely appreciative for those who care enough to be there to remind me of that in the midst of my weaker moments.

For those of you who know who you are, I dedicate this song to you…

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Fearless George and the Itsy Bitsty Spider

I watched my youngest fur baby approach a spider this evening without any fear – he just went right up to it, sticking his nose against the creepy, eight-legged insect and I, in turn, began pondering what it would be like if we all approached life like my Georgie? What if we all nose-dove into all of the things that plague us with angst and extreme hesitation? What if we simply weren’t aware of the crippling ideology of fear the same way my furry, four-legged feline is clearly unaware of it?

As I continued to watch George approach the pest with great, innocent curiosity and semi-playfulness, I thought of my own fears and what approaching them in a similar manner might feel like, might accomplish?

Unlike George, we learn fear. We are taught fear. Our experiences mold our fears, small and large. Take the spider for example – Yes, there are some existing spiders that can poison and potentially kill a human being but most are empirically harmless and yet, many of us continue to fear these things, gasping, screeching at the smallest one whilst fleeing for the nearest inanimate object to splatter its guts with. At what point was this behavior learned? Where was it learned? And why? How can I unlearn it?

All of the above questions and then some can be applied to the majority of our fears and starting today, I’m going to make a conscious effort to do so. I never know what I may learn about myself, about others, about life and about taking risks. Maybe that risk won’t seem so menacing once I’m able to honestly answer the why’s, when’s and how’s. Every time I find myself confronted with my fears and anxieties which, let’s face it, is pretty much on a daily basis, I’m going to remind myself of my little Georgie and his fearless frolic with the tiny, unwelcome spider that lost its life shortly after my observation and deep contemplation.

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Watching the Wheels

I wanted to write a quick, spur of the moment blog entry so that it doesn’t appear as if I have given up on A Righteous Revival.  I, in fact, have been working on the “revival” aspect of my life. It gets tough sometimes – not gonna lie about that. And the uncomplicated truth is simply that I haven’t wanted to write because it brings up unwanted memories and emotions that, more often than not, are negative.

I’ve come to some difficult realizations as of late that are going to take some time to sort through and turn into some sort of positive reinforcement – Namely, the immense anger I am harboring toward David. Forgiveness is more than simply stating, “I forgive.”   If one doesn’t feel it in his/her heart, in his/her soul, it cannot exert its many benefits and the only person that this anger slowly destroys is I.

I still haven’t figured this one out though I have figured out that the reason the anger is so intense now as opposed to in the past when all of the turmoil caused by David’s disrespectful actions and less than subpar behavior was being inflicted is because I am no longer in love. Thus, proving firsthand that love can be dangerously blinding. The blindfold has been off for quite some time and I see everything I went through during my three years and some change spent with him much more clearly and rationally. My anger is justified and I don’t blame myself for feeling it but I do not want to feel this animosity any longer. I do so want to learn how to forgive.

I’ve also been missing my mother more so than usual. I’ve been refusing the memories, good and bad, and I try to occupy my mind with work. When I’m not working, I’m desperately seeking other distracting outlets, mostly things that aren’t necessarily the healthiest in excess. I am aware of my actions so I am not worried and I assure my loved ones not to worry as well when they express their sincere concern. Acknowledgment is the first step to a healthier mindset and lifestyle.

Needless to say, I haven’t allowed myself the time to write because my mindset hasn’t been balanced. The amount of energy I wish to dedicate to my craft, my passion, has lacked due solely to my emotional instability. My anxiety has been frequent and manifests itself physically in addition to the emotional chaos it imposes. I have had an itchy rash underneath my left armpit for over a week now and epidermis that, despite the 100+ degree weather and humidity, is suffering from chronic dryness. Nightmares are nothing new though definitely a nighttime burden and my mood swings are a debilitating force to be reckoned with. I do feel sorry for those who spend the majority of their priceless time with me as of late though bless their earnest hearts as they continue to devote that time to my company.

With all of that being said, I do have many wheels turning – positively confident ones, at that. I do hope to share these exciting endeavors with you sooner than later once they begin to manifest into something slightly more tangible. I’m urgently attempting to be gentler with myself so while I do beg your forgiveness for my prolonged absence, I cannot beat myself up for it. I thank you, my readers, for your continued support and joining me on this journey we call life. As I always say, I will be okay. I always am. And as my mama always proclaimed, “It’ll all be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

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‘Neath the Curse of My Lover’s Eyes

The sound of laughter of other peoples’ joy, particularly that of couples in love, puts a genuine smile upon my face. I’m in love with love. Love is the answer. Love is all you need – any kind of love.

One of my favorite things is opening my eyes in the morning and seeing the man I love. He, then, opens his eyes and we’re staring back at each other in the first sight of groggy, post dream haze. A slight smile forms at the corner of both of our mouths and I know it’s going to be a good day.

Little did I know that the unconditional love my mama provided me with for the short twenty-six years I was blessed with her presence would make me privy to an endless reservoir. As painful as it may be, at times, I wouldn’t wish for it any other way. I love hard and real and yes, sometimes, it hurts like hell but most of the time, it feels like waking up in the morning, inches away from my lover’s eyes. And that, my friends, is worth it.

This past Friday, I watched the sun make its daily course across the Pacific skies from the stunning El Matador beach in Malibu. I pondered how the world keeps turning and I ask myself and anyone gratefully reading these words, “When are you truly the happiest?” I believe the majority of those answers will consist of love.

I am truly the happiest when I am giving a part of myself to another human being or animal sans any ulterior motives or expectations. Giving of oneself in its purest, most fulfilling form asks for nothing in return for the act of loving in and of itself is the true reward. This is what I believe makes the sun move across the Pacific skies with each second, the tide of the ocean rise higher and higher in relation to the phases of the breathtaking moon and the world go ‘round and ‘round – love.

If I didn’t have the capacity to love, which I view as the ultimate blessing among all living creatures, I wouldn’t have the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Knowing I placed a smile upon someone’s face, be it friend, foe or stranger, makes my existence worthwhile, meaningful, because let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to give up at one point or another.

 

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About Two Years Ago and Other Ramblings

8/23/2012

Dear Mama, I’m writing to you from Madison Square Park. It’s an absolutely perfectly gorgeous summer evening. I’m about to spend some much needed girl time with (a friend). I got accepted into those free writing classes – I’m really looking forward to this. This will be good for me, right? It smells like a Kansas summer evening almost and it makes me think of family get-togethers, barbecuing at grandma’s house – God – how I wish my future children could experience that with you one day. It breaks my heart that they won’t. I often find myself in New York City parks, alone, sitting on a bench, writing and pondering life, loneliness and the pursuit of happiness. Hmmm, maybe I should title my memoir, “My Life according to New York City Parks.” Haha – what do ya think? You did, after all, pretty much name my EP, which has been receiving some unexpected attention as of late. That’s part of the reason why I’m going to take a songwriting class in addition to a memoir writing class. God – I wish you were here, ma, so I could just be talking to you on the phone about all of this. I’m so fortunate to have Norma in my life. I know David and I will make it through this but in the meantime, what do I do? Am I strong enough to keep my distance from the man I just vowed to spend the rest of my life with? I know I am. It’s going to be “kicking the habit” that’s the hard part. I’m so tired of his childish behavior. I know for a fact that you’d be disappointed if you were here, too. I love you, mama – will write soon.

I am unable to recall exactly what David and I were going through during the time I wrote the above letter though whatever it was, was quickly overlooked due to a fatal shooting outside the Empire State Building the following afternoon. I, thankfully, had gotten to work early that morning and did not get caught in the hysteria that ensued just two blocks away from my place of employment. As the news spread, my cell phone was ringing from concerned family members and the man I had married just a little over a month prior, who up until this tragedy hadn’t spoken to me for over twenty-four hours. He insisted on rushing over to Manhattan from our Brooklyn apartment to put his arms around me. I guess a disgruntled and armed former employee had put our “silly little fight” into its proper perspective.

Upon his arrival, David expressed how grateful he was that I was all right and that we could stand there, embracing one another at that moment. I was seemingly about twenty minutes shy of being in the wrong place at the wrong time but something was wrong about the fact that it took a man being deceased and several other wounded bystanders to make David see this – something just felt iniquitous. This may lie on the morbid side of things but I am seeing the foreshadowing of my relationship’s demise within an unfortunate event and by no means do I intend to belittle or compare the disaster that occurred that ill-fated morning of August 24th, 2012 but David and I were quickly, intentionally though mostly unconsciously wounding each other.

As for those writing classes I was so excited to tell my mama about, I attended one of them – the memoir one – in which I recall two momentously memorable pieces of – briefly reading my writing aloud in front of a room full of strangers and the treacherous rain that had begun as the class neared its end resulting in my walking several blocks in the downpour to the nearest subway station.

Just two short but life-changing years ago, I was understandably and completely a different person with no ambition or drive. I’m sure I simply conjured up what appeared to be the best justification as to why I couldn’t attend the other classes and the funny part was that the only person I had to justify myself to was I. The post-death-of-my-parents lack of motivation and zeal for life was a vicious cycle that truly only harmed I, as the post justification was grounds for self-disapproval and self-loathing.

The barbecue smell, to this day, causes painful nostalgia. Just this past Sunday, I caught a whiff of someone nearby cooking out and I longed for days of yesteryear, all of my family gathered in grandma’s backyard, playing baseball and getting down on some barbecued chicken wings, potato salad and green beans. Don’t live in the past, they say. Be in the present, they say. Don’t dwell, they say. Hell, I even say it sometimes but one cannot help but fucking yearn for “the good ol’ days,” a time when pre-dinner was spent in hunt for additional chairs because half of your family wasn’t deceased and there simply weren’t enough seats around the dining table for all the warm bodies.

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Timshel

I should be there,” my mama placed heavy emphasis on every single syllable intonating in the way only a mother is capable of. I scoffed, replying, “No, I should be there,” placing emphasis on the word there. I’ll never forget the complete sincerity in her voice as she continued to comfort me with her words. This particular day, August 19th, exactly three years ago has gone down in history as one of the most memorable and not for its utter joy or willful nostalgia but for its difficult firsts and lasts, its incomprehensible emotional toll which leaves me continually and deeply reflecting on life.

As I made my way reluctantly solo through the lonely New York City streets that late afternoon in the summer of 2011, speaking with my mother on the telephone, I will always recall and cherish this particular conversation as the last coherent, prolonged one I would ever have with her. I often wonder what we would have done or said differently, if anything, if we had known that eleven days later, she would take her last breath.

My mother and I, however, did not know this though even in the midst of her rapidly dwindling health and alongside her own anxiety and depression, she wanted to be there for me, she felt she should be there for me. If nothing I have written up until this very moment has conveyed my dear mother’s absolute selflessness, compassion and extreme caring, I do hope this act of hers brings my point home. I wasn’t dying, I didn’t have cancer and my health was fairly intact aside from my own bouts of anxiety and increasing depression but I was alone on this particularly difficult day and my mama wanted to be there for me.

At the time, I couldn’t help but discount whatever hardships I was facing as they paled in comparison to my mother apparently losing her life at the tender age of fifty-six years young. I had also become quite the robot during this time in my life, complete “ya gotta do what ya gotta do” attitude sans any emotional hesitation. I knew my mama’s days were numbered and nothing was more important or direr than this – nothing. I should have been there for her. I never should have left for New York City when I did. Alas, what’s done is done and I shall live with this guilt and regret for the rest of my breaths.

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Channel Surfing

There are days, weeks, and sometimes, unexpected moments where it feels like she died yesterday, where the anguish and pain of losing her engulfs my very existence and sends me into a blubbering, sobbing mess.

What’s wrong?” “Are you okay?” “Is everything all right?” The unavoidable inquisition begins, as hiding my true feelings has never been my strong suit. And I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to explain – I just want to plug in my headphones and escape into the music, the music that has the ability to intensify the emotions but I tend to lean on the side of masochistic and that’s just the way I like it sometimes.

Inside my head, I’m screaming, “Just leave me alone,” strategically inserting a word or two of profanity here or there eventually having to remind myself that I can’t take this out on the caring people around me. I can’t simply avoid the public during certain hours and quite frankly, I never know if and when I’m going to feel this way.

I liken it to being in the room while someone is channel surfing, only it’s not happening in a family room but in my brain and I don’t even want the control, I just want the damn power button. Then the history channel argues that I can’t turn it off because I need to reflect and grieve – I need to turn up the volume on the sadness and allow for its release.

Fuck you, history! This is my life and the present is a gift – I must live in it and be grateful for it!”

The channel surfing continues until I thankfully find myself in a deep slumber, only to wake in the morning to realize that the dream I was just rudely awaken from by my cell phone alarm was a pleasantry starring me alongside my mama in a swimming pool, admiring newborn kittens.

I sadly think to myself, “Damn you alarm! No, I want to fall back asleep!” as it occurs to me that the knowledge of her absence wasn’t even apparent in the dream. Had it been known, I would have taken full advantage of her dream presence and then my mind realizes that it’s parallel to the feeling I sometimes regret – taking her for granted when she was alive. Oftentimes, only when someone is no longer here do we fully and truly grasp the extraordinary value of the human life, particularly that specific human life’s impact on our own.

My therapist has taken to describing the loss of my mother as leaving a giant, gaping hole, not only in my heart but also in my world with nothing and no one that could ever begin to fill it even in his/her greatest attempt. I visualize this hole as black, echoing and infinite and even I have attempted to fill it with various people, vices and things to no avail. As the Beatles once wrote, I guess I must simply “let it be.”

I get angry with myself when I cry. I get upset with myself when I can’t cry. I remind myself to be kinder to myself and an hour later, I’m beating myself up for behaving what I consider as selfishly. Taking a “lazy day” every once in awhile is hardly allowed and doesn’t come without at least a moment’s worth of self-chastising. Even this blog in which I completely control and manage is grounds for self-judgment. If I’m not posting a blog on a regular basis, the internal attacks ensue.

As I write, I am realizing that perhaps, it’s not so much that I haven’t been good enough for most of the people I’ve encountered in my life but that I’ve never been good enough for myself, for Lindsay? Perhaps, I need to shift my focus on why being good enough for others is so important to me and realize that self-approval, being good enough for me, is what has truly been lacking and is of the utmost importance.

A week ago, I was hiking the backbone trail of Will Rogers State Park in the gorgeous, scenic Topanga Canyon. As I trekked my way around the switchbacks, I gazed out toward the east, over West Los Angeles and swept my view panoramic style to the west and the Pacific Ocean as the dense fog was quickly finding its evening resting spot between the mountainsides. I instinctively wanted to call my mama and share this awe-inspiring beauty with her as soon as I got home, remembering almost simultaneously that I couldn’t do so. It felt like someone had sucker punched me in the stomach, very briefly knocking the wind out of me. I know what most of you are thinking – She was there with me, hiking with me, in my heart, amongst the winds and so forth and all those things are good and well and may very well be true. But nothing compares to the sound of her voice, to the wisdom in her words, to the love in her touch and to the joy that is sharing a seemingly small but momentous moment in one’s life with the woman that granted you that life in the first place.

BackBoneTrail

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Rolling with the Punches

It’s so easy to remind ourselves to live in the moment, be present, but what happens when that present moment consists of the very thing we fear the most – the sudden, unexpected or onslaught loss of loved ones? What happens when tragedy similar to that we have already bathed bountifully within its fountain strikes yet again? Roll with the punches, you might suggest? Deal with it when it presents itself you may continue?

That’s all good and well but it doesn’t change the fact that I simply don’t want to fucking deal with it anymore. “That’s life,” I can hear the myriads of loved ones and veterans of life repetitively utter. And while this is true, it doesn’t change the severe sentiment that is I love and I love hard and when I lose, I lose hard thus it fucking hurts – how, you may wonder? HardFucking hard.

I have recently found myself in quite the vulnerable position without seeking such a compromising arrangement and the path in which I journeyed down has truly been a blessing. This sounds like such a fucking conundrum – a mind fuck at its finest! On the contrary, it’s quite familiar in that as I’ve stated previously, I live my life in such a way that I could die at any moment, the next breath for all I know, so this route can feel quite dangerous at times but I wouldn’t have it any other way if presented with a shinier alternative. It comes natural to me however this proverbial story often concludes with being taken advantage of, left unappreciated, losing, and/or ending up alone. Anyone feel me, yet? So, I ask again, how does one live entirely, wholly 100% in the present when the present consists of heartache, anxiety, depression, and/or on the brink insanity?

Quite honestly, I had a full-blown anxiety attack today at work. I’m not quite certain as to why it occurred or what it stemmed from but I can tell you that I felt naked, bare – like I peeled back my skin as a sous chef would peel russet potatoes in preparation for a busy holiday dinner, only unintentionally – completely and utterly vulnerable. There I was, in the present moment, with anxiety that had my chest aching, almost palpitating, my head feeling dizzy and light, I lost my breath and my palms were noticeably shaking. I rolled with the punches, I let the tears well in my eyes, I ran the cold water over my wrist and massaged the middle of my hand as instructed by a lovely Brooklyn massage therapist while my concerned coworkers questioned from afar – bless them.

I could easily change this blog into a subject of how battling with anxiety is difficultly troubling and numerous doctors have recommended my usage of medication while I’ve politely declined but this blog is about more than that. This blog is about dealing with the challenges that are unavoidably delivered, blocking the inevitable punches that life violently sometimes stealthily, throws in our direction.

Sympathetically, someone said to me today, “Girl, I thought my mind was on overdrive…” trailing off with visible concern before handing me chewing gum to ease some of the uneasy symptoms. I quietly chuckled to myself because I’m used to the overdrive, to the grossly profuse amounts of mostly unproductive thoughts that race through my mind at mainly inopportune times. Many blame it on my astrological sign, my upbringing, my past experiences, the loss of my parents and so forth while I’ve simply come to accept my overactive brain and the endless thoughts that present themselves in various scenarios, wide open for analysis and predominantly during the hours of lay down to sleep at night and wake up early in the morning for work ‘o’ clock. Convenient, eh?

I’ll just keep “rolling with the punches” and doing my best to enjoyably live in the present moment. In the meantime, there’s always ganja, sex and vino – C’mon, I’m just keeping it real, folks.

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525,600 Minutes

I can say for certain that I want a divorce,” I divulged verbatim to David on that heavy, early mid-summer morning cruising northbound on the 101.  On July 29th, it will be a year since I uttered those words and made one of the single best decisions of my life thus altering the continuously self-damaging path that I was on.  It’s a lovely thought that the majority of people whom vow holy matrimony are making one of the single best decisions of their lives, however statistics would prove otherwise. Many would also assume that along with those poor decisions comes regret and this isn’t necessarily true.

I am confronted often as to why my “poor” decision to wed David on July 9th, 2012 wasn’t wholly a poor decision in that I have grown and matured into someone that I sincerely love without him. He is, in part, responsible for this sobering revelation in that he did a hell of a job showing me what I do not want and who I do not want to become thus adding fuel to my fire of strength. How unfair of me, right, to state that David only took part in the above? This is certainly not all that he had a hand in and I think I have made that clear throughout my 99 blogs before this but for the sake of this particular blog, that unintentional contribution of his will suffice.

I’d be lying to myself and to my readers if I were not to recognize that there is still lingering, sometimes surfacing anger that reveals itself at some of the most inconvenient though understandable times – so much so that I have decided to write a letter, thoughts or perhaps it’s a poem of sorts that releases some of this wrath, bringing to light some of the most vulnerable and human aspects of my inner cognizance…

Dear David,

I hope there comes a time when you’re more lonely than the night I first shook your hand, kissed your lips, tasted your embrace…I hope when that time comes you realize how much love I had for you, how unconditional and priceless was its strength and how I would have done anything for you and how you wouldn’t have done anything for me – How you’d given up on you and therefore given up on me.

I hope when that disparaging time comes you see that my introduction was your chance to be free, free from all that past pain, insecurity and debris – all of that you could have released upon me, not at me but know and understand that I was always listening, never controlling – only caring. I do hope there comes a time when you hear “our song,” are reminded of how we are not “better together” and understand the pain you caused me, the depths of what you’ve lost and remember, with me, you could have had a family. I hope that pain reflects back tenfold and you see all I have gained because I was once with you but now I am without you.

I do hope a time comes when your selfishness subsides, you remember me standing in front of our family and friends in that white dress, both of us saying “I do” and you desperately wish you hadn’t fucked it all up. I hope when that time comes you experience the hopeless fits of anxiety I used to when you would deliberately and knowingly leave me all alone. I hope those experiences inflict such sorrow you can barely breathe and in that moment when you’ve lost what you think is your last breath, you wish you would have just been there for me, your wife, because I was the single love of your now perpetually lonely life.

Sincerely & I know better than forever and a day,

Lindsay

I know the above sounds as if I have not forgiven and in many ways, truthfully, I have not. I’ve written a couple of unsent letters in the past year since our separation and each one is noticeably different. Give me a few more months or maybe another year, who knows, and the next letter could potentially read of significant forgiveness. I want to forgive. I really do – and not for his sake but for my own. I am well aware that all of the above anger and strife only harms one person and that is I. I also believe I am entitled to this anger and in no way is it misplaced.

I often think of my dear Mother when I think of this anger and I wonder how much time it took for her to find forgiveness in her heart in regards to my Father. I would imagine awhile considering her marriage lasted almost twenty-five years but my mama did have one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever known – there was endless, though priceless room in that beautiful vessel of hers. I like to think that her and my dad telling each other they loved each other shortly before his passing was one of the most substantial showings of forgiveness.

Love is such an interesting concept and I’ve honestly never bought into that whole “that’s not love,” or “love doesn’t make you cry” or “love doesn’t hurt when it’s real” bullshit. Everyone who has ever been completely and madly in love or simply loved someone with all of his or her being knows that it can fucking hurt and hurt bad at that. It’s all perspective, you see. Love is a basic human instinct and need, however, we all learn what love is and how to love based off of our personal experiences and sometimes, those experiences are less than subpar. Again, subpar being a matter of perspective as everyone’s standards greatly vary.

I’ve written a couple of times in the past year since my separation from David about “the one that got away,” my “skinny love,” and in since doing so, I’ve come to a great revelation which is so overwhelmingly kick ass, for lack of better terms. It solidifies exactly one of the main reasons why I began this blog – to gratefully serve as a crystal clear mirror in which to reflect my actions, thoughts and words right back at me.

Time and time again, I’ve toyed with this unconventional idea that I’m meant to love more than one man in this lifetime and this, I have done. I’m meant to love each one in the way my experiences have taught me to love, until he cannot handle or accept anymore of what I’ve deemed as my endless reservoir, all while holding on to the hope that one man, one day, will be strong enough to want my love for the rest of his life thus loving me for the rest of his. I am not holding my breath. My point, however, is that there is no such thing as “the one that got away.” I couldn’t force that man to desire my love nor would I ever want to. He walked away and I moved on because that is what we, as humans, must do – move on. This disclosure is incredibly freeing.

I like to believe I live in such a way that I could die at any given moment but on more than one occasion this past week, I have awoke questioning myself, “If I were to die today, would everyone I love know that I love them?” and “If I were to die today is there anything I would regret if it is possible to regret after our untimely departure?” These are two extremely important questions, in my opinion, and yet again, they both boil down to love. Love. Love. Love.

I’ve been deemed a hippie, an idealist, what have you but love truly is all that we need. It is the meaning of life. And to answer my above questions, I think everyone would know that I love them but not because I vocalized it, which is just as important as our actions as long as they are parallel. I would regret not verbally revealing my true feelings to certain people in my life. As I write, I reflect in that mirror I briefly spoke of and it appears I’ve got my work cut out for me.

I think fear drives so many people thus inhibiting our true selves, the beautiful, bright parts of our unpolluted souls that speak freely of love, longing, want and need. Everyone wants and deserves to feel loved, longed for, wanted and needed. Some can never quite overcome the fear and my dad was one of those folk, unfortunately. I understand that he did the best he could with the experiences that he lived and the love that he was shown, though it was never enough to know he loved me or I loved him simply because “he’s my dad.” I know we all hear variations of this expression all the time – “Of course she loves you, she’s your mother after all.”

If actions and words don’t seamlessly correspond, therein lies perpetual doubt and perhaps what we fear the most, an ounce or two of sobering truth. There is nothing in the Universe that states that one is incapable of loving a friend as if he/she shared the same blood pumping through each other’s veins just as nothing in the Universe states that love is inevitable and altruistic because one is born of his/her genetic makeup.

My brother comes to mind when I think of obligatory love, however, I do absolutely love my brother and I wouldn’t necessarily deem it obligatory. The best way I can describe it since I can remember the dynamics of my up and down relationship with him is that there is this giant brick wall he’s built and I’m the big, bad wolf. I’ve tried numerous times, in the past, to huff and puff that shit down to no avail. I’ve since placed myself on the road to acceptance – acceptance that we most certainly love each other but we don’t talk about it nor do we have much opportunity to show it and I would blame him for this but part of true acceptance is letting go of juvenile behavior such as pointing fingers, dwelling on fault and placing blame.

It’s incredibly, eerily fascinating when parallels can be drawn some twenty plus years later, when the misery that was being alone with my dad and my brother at the age of four manifests itself into my adulthood. Due to financial strain, my mother had to work nights and I was often left alone with my alcoholic father and disinterested older brother. I would lay awake, eagerly, at night until 2:00 in the morning when I would thankfully hear the familiar clanging of my mother’s key in the apartment door. I would hastily, but quietly so not to wake my dad, crawl out of bed to greet my mother and she would allow me to stay awake with her and watch her VHS recorded soap operas, cuddled together on the couch.

Twenty-two years later, I found myself seeking solitude from my brother and dad’s uncomfortable company just days before my dad’s death, my mother hundreds of miles away. I would have given just about anything to be sleeping under her roof that particular evening. Interesting how previous moments that have seemingly disappeared from one’s memory are conjured up and sometimes, one doesn’t even recognize the significance of this full circle until years later.

There are some moments I have planned, without solid dates in mind as of yet, that I imagine will be quite noteworthy in providing needed closure and enlightenment. Two of those planned gestures include conducting a burning of my wedding dress and a trip to New York City where I will masochistically visit the site of my wedding reception as well as a few other places reminiscent of stored away memories. I do not view this as masochistic as it may appear to outsiders – it is more of something I see as a means of fully healing, gaining complete closure and untainting a city I once dreamt about with great fervor in my heart – a city that awoke my every sense with its vibrant multi-cultural energy and a city that I once loved. I want to make new memories – happy ones – that enable me to grow to love that city that I called home once upon a time. After all, it wasn’t New York’s fault that I happened to reside in its greatest borough during the worst couple years of my life.

My closest friend, Norma, was there through it all. She will probably never quite know the impact she has had on my life and continues to have. She’s always there with an open ear, reminding me of my consistent strength and providing comforting words when and where they’re needed most. From an impromptu excursion to the beach one sunny Sunday afternoon when my heart was heavy with David’s careless words and actions, sentiments of a failed marriage in the forefront of my tired mind, she knew exactly what I needed in that moment. I had picked Norma up at eleven in the morning with the intention of our regular routine of grabbing coffee in our neighborhood and chatting for a couple of hours before parting ways. She suggested we drive to Malibu via the picturesque Topanga Canyon, knowing that I had been going through it or for lack of better terms. I hesitantly agreed to drive to the beach and I couldn’t be more grateful of her thoughtful persuasion.

Endless is her priceless friendship and support as we chatted over sangria and wine earlier this afternoon, she looked at me earnestly and told me that she feels the most sorry for David because, “The truth is, he never really took the time to get to know you. If he had, I am convinced that he wouldn’t have fucked it up.” She followed this up by agreeing to accompany me during the burning and destruction of the ceremonial gown widely known as the wedding dress and because she knows me well and knows my history of impulsive behavior, she first asked, “Are you sure you’re ready to do that?” To which I excitedly exclaimed, “Oh yea, I’m ready!” God, I love that woman.

One of the most significant and constant reflections as of late is that of the woman I have become not only since the last almost three years since my mother’s death but in the last twelve months of my life. I do believe I have matured considerably this past year as I reread some of the ninety-nine posts before this and think to myself, “Wow, that was juvenile” however without the usual self-disdain. I am more understanding and gentler with myself as I feebly attempt to give credit where credit is due.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I wish my mama were around to know this Lindsay, to experience the reaping of the strength, the compassion and love that she had two hands in sowing. She is in stark contrast to the woman that wrote her dear mama on August 12th, 2012 :

Dear Mama,

How are you today? I hung out with Manny tonight. He is going back to LA, though, which makes me so sad. I like spending time with him because while he may not understand my pain from losing you, he does get me. We’re very in tune with one another – maybe it’s the positive vibe he exerts and maybe that’s why you liked him so much when you met him. I do look so much like you – I hear that almost every day. Are you here, mama?

I’m beginning to ponder the person I’ve become and while I’m not too fond of her jaded self, I also remind myself not to be so hard on myself which is probably one of the most difficult things I truly need to master. I know I’m hard on myself but it’s almost natural for me. There’s so much I wish you and I could have one of our long phone conversations about where there’s not a single moment of silence except to pause for breath. I would tell you how I feel like I run into rudeness – am I attracting this negative energy? Am I expecting too much from society? I know I’m an idealist but you raised me with manners. While I may not know how to set a table to its proper placing etiquette, I do know how to say, “Excuse me.” I need you. Plain and simple. Nothing changed there. I’m not sure how I’ve survived this past year without you. I love you, mama. Goodnight, love you, see you tomorrow. I wish. I hope. We always talked about never losing hope –sometimes it’s the only thing we’ve got.

Almost two years later, this is what I would like to say to my best friend, my mama:

Dear Mama,

I began this blog last September with the intention of keeping your spirit and memory alive. I am doing my best to honor this and do your beautiful, however short, legacy justice. So much has happened in the past ninety-nine posts including receiving an unexpected and welcomed message from one of your long, lost friends, Joan, who loved you just as much as every one else I know whose life you effortlessly touched. I moved, I did some traveling, I started a new, full time job and I’ve continued honing my writing skills, something you always wished to see me do though never instilling pressure.

Perhaps most notable to speak about in the past several months since beginning A Righteous Revival are the number of incredible people I have met that have left an imprint on my life whether knowingly or not. My energy has been that of positivity thus I am attracting positivity and this is blatantly evident in the company I keep as of late.

I know you’ve heard this before, ma, but I’ve met someone I care greatly for. This time I know it’s different and I know you know, too. Not having to wonder or speculate if someone cares for you back is refreshing and something that has sadly lacked from my past relationships as you are fully aware. Unexpected and beautiful is the best way I can describe it without divulging too much personal information as I wish to keep this safe and separate from the world of social media and information. This doesn’t belong on such a platform rather it belongs in my heart. Don’t think I don’t wanna stand on a mountaintop and shout out my elation to anyone within earshot, though.

And though I may be haunted by your untimely absence every single day, I put forth great effort to focus on the wonderful memories we shared rather than the potential moments that cancer cruelly robbed us of. I show your pictures and I talk about you all the time because I want people to know the person who raised me and who loved me unconditionally. I love you, more.

Love,

Linds

In Loving Memory of this beautiful woman…

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Any Given Sunday

The technical first day of the week has become especially difficult for me as of late. It’s recently come to my attention that the dear ones I spend the majority of my time with spend the majority of their Sundays with their families. I don’t write this in an attempt to gain anyone’s pity nor am I on some sort of woe is me kick but I write this as a form of therapy, really. The end result is that I decided I must figure out something to occupy my Sunday’s, meaning I’m making a true effort to change the less than ideal situation so that my mind is unable to dwell on the unfortunate fact that I do not have family.

That last sentence I write with specifics in mind, as you’ll hear me always reiterate how my family truly is my wonderful circle of friends. Yes, I have aunts, uncles, cousins and one of my grandmothers is still around and this blog is in no way a reflection of the level of importance they hold in my life. When I state, “I do not have family,” I am simply stating that I do not get up on Sunday morning with the knowledge that I am preparing a home cooked meal with my mama and enjoying it at a dining table later that evening. I am saying that I cannot pick up the phone and relay the weekend’s whirlwind of events to her nor can I call my dad up just to say hi. My brother lives a couple of states away but our relationship has never been close thus strengthening the feeling that I do not have family. Sundays are like an endless game of tug of war taking place in the pit of my stomach.

It would be accurate to say that I greatly envy those around me that have the privilege of spending quality time with their blood, their loved ones – no matter how dysfunctional they might be. I often go to an unproductive, though thankfully small, place in my mind that argues the fairness of it all resulting in unwanted and unnecessary anger. I don’t linger there for long because I’m sincerely happy for my friends that are still able to share valuable moments with their families. I would never wish this kind of loss on anyone, though perhaps the oddest recognition of this entire issue is that I am grateful for all I have endured, for the extraordinary loss. I am grateful because I suddenly understand beyond fathomable reason that I am precisely where I am supposed to be, conducting my life the way I am intended for, even if that means sans family and lonely on any given Sunday.

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Dimitris Melicertes

I don't write, I touch without touching.

A Righteous Revival

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