‘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.

 

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.

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.

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

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.