Seeking the Resounding Truth

It’s said that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, that our past is called the past for a reason and that what lies ahead is far more worthy of a stare down than what lies behind. And that’s all good and well but I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t look back, what may be considered, too often, and simultaneously, mentally beat the shit out of myself, not only for the act of looking back, but for actions in my past that cannot be undone. And sure, maybe it doesn’t kill me, maybe I’m still alive and breathing but does it really, truly make me stronger? Or is that just something that we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel and appear better, stronger?

When I first decided that I wanted to get a divorce, I was initially reticent. In fact, I was downright reluctant about telling anyone but a select handful, let alone beginning a blog. That didn’t last long. Something innate in me demands sharing the truth, no matter how painful, in a sometimes, dramatic and grand manner, perhaps to drive the point home or perhaps because I don’t know how to be anything else but theatrical in my deliverance.

As I mull over the sometimes cruel events of my past, the relationships, the mistakes, the regrets, the poor decisions and the rather life shaping, joyful moments that have the ability to make me smile to this day, I cannot help but ponder the what-ifs, the whys and the whens. What if I was more patient when I was twenty-four? Why did I get so bent out of shape about that? And when did I lose my faith in so many vital components of my youthful spirit? There is, currently, a seemingly endless list of questions I’ve been asking myself in effort to create a more hopeful future but then there’s the loss of faith in a future at all.

I do hope you’re not thinking, “Jesus, what a drag this woman is. How dismal her outlook, how jaded her approach!” Although I would understand if you were thinking those things, I must respond with that I am complicatedly consumed in the midst of intense, internal development that requires much retrospect, vigorous self-analysis and above all, the sometimes evil, downright dirty, no-holds-barred truth.

I know I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here and now, if I cannot be honest with myself, I cannot be honest at all. There would be no point to my committed endeavor for self-growth. There would, essentially, be no growth, for growth or enlightenment or whatever you wish to label it, is proudly and unequivocally rooted in pure and utter truth.

This particular blog, my dear readers, is said endeavor – I write because somewhere in between each line, each word, and punctuation, I seek, or rather hope, to discover a resounding truth – a truth that will demand to be shared, to be told in all of its vivid glory.

4f1bd44b9443b579b855e0f2667cdc56

Hour and a Half Shy

I went to work the following day. I got up at six-thirty in the morning like I always did, I solemnly dressed myself and I hopped on the Manhattan bound subway en route to 5th avenue and 36th street. I’m fairly certain, if my memory doesn’t fail me, I ate breakfast and I had my coffee just like every other normal work morning.

The thing about this particular morning four years ago, however, was that I was in mourning. My dad had died, taken his last breath, a mere ten hours prior to the eerie conduction of my daily routines. I couldn’t think of a better plan than to do exactly what I normally would have done if my dad was still alive, had there not just been a death in my family. Or perhaps, the fact was that I wasn’t thinking about much else at all – I was just simply going through the motions per se.

The interesting and for lack of better words, inconvenient, thing about death is that even if it’s fairly expected, there is no guidebook that explains the aftermath, the whole stimulus-response outcome. It’s not like cancer, for example. I vividly recall sitting in the waiting room of the Kansas City Cancer Center reading extensive, informational “what to expect” and “how to cope” literature for those diagnosed and their loved ones while my dad received radiation on his brain where a tumor was vigorously attacking his cerebellum. There’s a stimulus – chemotherapy can cause nausea and there’s a response – eat these types of foods to minimize the side effects of this toxicity being pumped into your veins.

I get it – everyone handles death differently. No loss is the same – yada yada yada. But wouldn’t it be fucking nice to have a pamphlet handed to you when shit like this occurs? Your father has passed away. Here is how you deal: insert short list of socially acceptable and permanently relieving responses to the death of a parent.

I know I sound like a sarcastic jackass but I suppose this could be deemed my socially unacceptable, temporarily relieving response to this fucking day that I have experienced every fucking April now for the past four, fucking years. And my over usage of the f-word is my momentary release of anger that motivates me to write this and to get up and go to work in the morning after my dad dies and every day after that and every year after that.

I miss him. I really do. We may have not had the best relationship by any definition of the word but I think that’s part of the reason why I miss him so goddamned much. I believe we could have had a better relationship if he’d had more time on this Earth. But time is a fucking motherfucker – it’s a mind fuck of an illusion and one of the many reasons why a day doesn’t pass where thoughts of mortality do not cross my mind, where I don’t mull over the philosophy of life and death.

I can deduce all of the above to everything happening for a reason and in doing so, I can tell you that one of the most valuable lessons I learned from all of it is to never use, “There’s always tomorrow” or “This can wait” or any other variation of time-related expressions because quite frankly, there may not be a tomorrow and what are we waiting for exactly?

I wonder if my dad thought or said aloud that Sunday, April 10th in 2011, “I can take care of this tomorrow.” He, unfortunately, didn’t have a tomorrow. In fact, he was about an hour and a half shy of another tomorrow. If we’re inevitably going to utilize time as a deciding factor in our lives and in our actions, then we should use it as if we’re all going to be an hour and a half shy of another tomorrow.

Rest in Peace, Dad. I love you.
Rest in Peace, Dad. I love you.

It’s Suicide

I fear I’m killing myself with stress and anxiety,” I anxiously confessed to my therapist this past Saturday.

And I’ve been avoiding this – the writing, the grief – all of it. I’ve been dodging the question, “Are you going to do anything for your mom’s birthday” which is tomorrow, April 8th – her would-be 60th. This time of the year just happens to be one of those times, like the holidays, that I would much rather curl up in the fetal position, underneath the covers of my comfy bed and pass the fuck out. Don’t wake me until the end of May. Nah, better yet, make it June just to be safe.

Dates and times have this uncanny significance and strong connection in our minds. I’ll ask myself why I’m feeling so down, why I’m depressed for seemingly “no reason” and then I’ll recall that my mama’s birthday is Wednesday, the same day my nonna passed away three years ago and this Friday, the 10th, will mark four years since I lost my dad to his two year battle with lung cancer.

Alas, I cannot just sleep through these types of things but what I can do is practice the art of avoidance, of distraction. Unfortunately and fortunately, depending on which perspective you are looking from, I’ve become very good at it. So good, in fact, I’ve been lying to myself and to you, my readers, for quite some time. By no means was this lie intentional but it has come to my attention that I have not been grieving after all and this is unfortunate.

My heightened ability to distract myself has resulted in sudden anxiety attacks at the most inopportune times – not that there’s ever an opportune moment to suffer an anxiety attack. They’re highly unpleasant to put it mildly. I’m not going to delve into the nitty-gritty details of these attacks but suffice it to say that the inner self-work I am conducting on a daily basis is about to be taken to the next level with the hopes and the goal that I can find some relief.

One of the ways in which I avoid and justify my lack of grieving is by asking myself and others, “What’s the point?” If I really took the time and endeavored to answer that question, I reckon I’d discover a very large point, perhaps several large points, but as of right now, it is all too painful. Baby steps, I suppose? I place a question mark there because I’m clueless right now – I don’t know what it’s going to take.

Almost four years ago, I lost the most important person in my life. I can’t even do much more describing of her than that – the most important person in my life. Yes, it is true but there’s so much more to her and yes, I’m speaking in present tense because just because her body is gone doesn’t mean her impression and her extraordinary contributions to this world and those around her are gone. And as I’m typing this, I’m getting angry and as I’m describing to you in the present moment my very emotions, I feel like a scared little girl who wants to run and hide in her fucking closet from the boogie man, the monsters under the bed – from grief.

And the self-coaching continues – that was good, Linds. Let it out. But is it really good? Is it really as simple as stating how goddamned angry I am because I can’t pick up the phone tomorrow and wish my mother a happy 60th birthday or send her a birthday card via snail mail? She used to write me all the time when I first moved away to college. I did the same. I can recall being in sketching class, writing my mama a four-page letter rather than sketching the latest Vogue magazine cover girl. Perhaps that’s why I suck at it so bad and resorted to a career using the computer instead of the pencil.

There ya go, Linds – you’re reminiscing. You’re conjuring up a lovely memory, one that you haven’t thought of in quite some time, the inner voice continues.

I’m still completely ignorant as to how to healthily mourn the loss of my mother without feeling like I’m going to stop breathing, like my heart has literally been ripped from my chest by the boogie man since I didn’t really believe in the whole monsters under the bed BS. As I typed the word, “healthily” in reference to mourning, I wondered if there really is a healthy manner in which to mourn? Some, including myself, might even argue that self-medicating isn’t necessarily healthy but it sure as shit helps at times. *See WINE

So, there ya have it – I lied. I’ve just been putting one foot in front of the other asking the world and myself along the way, “What’s the point?” Living my life as an orphan who is too prideful and too untrusting to ask for help when she needs it, I’ve adapted to a life with so much to look forward to, so much too painful to look back at and an unsettling present that constantly feels like it’s missing something. I’ve adapted to always expecting the worst and to not being fazed if and when the worst commences because, “What’s the point?” After all, life’s too short – There’s no time to be debilitated by grief.

I think the crucial part that I’ve been missing in this whole avoidance of grief’s burden, however, is that it will eventually catch up to me and unless I allow it to take its natural course and learn how to manage it, I will continue to commit a very slow suicide.