Playing with Fire, I mean Sand

I’ve built countless sandcastles with the sincere intent of using brick and mortar. I’ve sorrowfully watched all of them wash away, feeling like the reverse big, bad wolf – vigilantly huffing and puffing in a desperate attempt to keep them standing, to salvage anything because anything is something. Nothing ever remains no matter how badly I desire it to. Perhaps that is an indirect, subconscious reason why I have an intense, though manageable, fear of water.

Promises are something I’ve completely lost all faith in. I simply don’t believe in them. Maybes, possibilities, you-never-knows, perhaps – those are all concepts, “sandcastle words,” that make so much more sense in my personal existence. I’m even careful not to think too far into the future because even that is a destination in which there is no guarantee of reaching.

Life goes far beyond just being unfair – it’s downright cruel and deceiving. When good things are happening in seeming droves, I have this inherit tendency to automatically expect the rain to come and we all know – when it rains, it pours. Again, with the water.

I’ve become an expert at the art of distraction – that thing that adults do to avoid dwelling on matters that are out of their control or simply to procrastinate things that we don’t wish to take control of in the present moment. Perhaps being an expert at such things isn’t something to boast about but I can’t necessarily label it as a bad thing, either. In fact, I think it’s quite necessary at times. In my life, it’s been synonymous with “rolling with the punches” and “taking it day by day.”

The alternative is to laugh in the face of adversity – not because it’s funny or as some unusual, intimidation tactic but because life is a fucking beach in which I build sandcastles and I’ve been through my personal worst. I’m still standing and I’ll still be standing tomorrow should I be hopefully granted another day on this Earth. Sometimes, laughter is all the energy I have in me these days because with tears come, yet again, water.

If it isn’t obvious at this point, I have a lot on my mind tonight –it’s not just a single thing, person or happening but an entire slew of past, present and possible future occurrences. In addition, and this might not be as obvious, you’ll notice all those “sandcastle words” continue to come up in this post and I’ll bet if you read past posts of mine, you’ll find a plethora of them. There is nothing like laying next to death that will forever embed a sense of urgency into your mind and body and remind you of life’s only certainties.

I’m tired of playing in the sand but I’m afraid I have no choice – at least in this lifetime.

Now, listen to “Sandcastles” by Beyoncé

 

 

 

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Bottles of Bubbly and Self Praise

As I passed the bubbly, AKA champagne, AKA sparkling wine, AKA good stuff in Trader Joes’ alcoholic beverage aisle this evening, I was tempted to grab a bottle but instantly resisted the urge, deciding that that purchase would be saved for a future celebration – the one where I receive the finalized divorce papers in the mail. Tonight, however, I opted for a different, slightly more expensive Argentinian Malbec in celebration of my recent promotion as Art Manager of Walt Disney Parks and Harry Potter licensed product at my current company.

I’m pretty stoked to say the absolute least – I feel like my life is moving in the right direction and, probably for the first time ever, I’m allowing self-praise. It hasn’t always come easy, ya know. In fact, I often find myself bowing down to the little voice in my head that tells me, “It’s not that big of a deal. This could have been anyone. You’re not special. Blah blah blah.”

This time, though, I am proud of myself and the decisions and the moves that I have made. If only I could share this with my mama – I think she’d be proud, too. Now, I just can’t wait to write the blog where I bought and popped that bottle of champagne! Cheers!

Seeking the Resounding Truth

Still relevant almost a year later…

A Righteous Revival

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…

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Simpler Histories

If I close my eyes, I can almost feel the cold, smooth blades of grass under my bare feet, smell the Earth of the neighbor’s freshly mowed lawn, and hear my mother’s voice in the distance. I can nearly taste the savory aftermath of a grilled hamburger enjoyed out on the deck and I can almost hear Van Morrison or Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes playing in the background through the late evening’s mellow breeze. The nostalgia is so intense that I feel like I can walk out the front door of my apartment into the past, a simpler time, a lifetime ago.

It’s nights like tonight that remind me of the pond, of the abundant, sweet-tasting honeysuckle on my tongue, the bunch of various duck species lapping in the shallow waters and that pleasant scent of fresh, springtime air. I inhale deeply, instantly transported back to a time when walking the half mile up the paved road without sidewalks, four slices of Wonder bread, in tow, to feed the ducks and watching the colorful Kansas sun set over the tops of the towering oak trees and through their vibrant green leaves was one of my favorite pastimes. Simply watching the mundane, uneventful life of water foul did wonders for my young in age, but old soul. I knew that when I slowly sauntered back home admiring the old homes of the neighborhood I grew up in, peering like an innocent voyeur through their floor to ceiling or bay windows, my mama would be there, perhaps even my auntie, the both of them excitedly conversing in the back room.

I remember wanting so badly to grow up, to be one of the big kids, often hanging around my mama and auntie rather than playing with my younger cousins. When adults would tell me that I would change my mind one day and be wishing for the opposite, wishing to be a child again, I would defiantly, stubbornly contradict their “theories.” I wonder if they, too, had smelled the springtime air of their simpler histories.

Hour and a Half Shy

I awoke at six-thirty like I did every Monday morning, I solemnly dressed myself and I hopped on the Manhattan bound subway en route to work. I ate breakfast and I had my coffee just like every other normal work morning. And after work, I ventured to Korea town to sample some delicious pastries from a favorite bakery among the midtown locals until finally, I arrived home to go to sleep and do it all over again the following day.

The thing about this particular day five years ago, however, was that my dad had died, taken his last breath, a mere ten hours prior to the eerie conduction of my daily routine. 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 within my immediate family. Or perhaps, the fact was that I wasn’t thinking about much else at all – I was just simply going through the motions.

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 with stimulus-response bullet points. 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” pamphlets for those diagnosed and their loved ones while my dad received radiation on his brain where a tumor, caused by the stage four lung cancer, 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 the toxicity being pumped into your veins.

I fucking get it – everyone handles death differently. No loss is the same – yada yada yada. But wouldn’t it be fucking nice to have some literature 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 five, 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 not have 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. If nothing else, it’s certainly motivating.

I can deduce all of the above to that fucking overused, irritating cop-out of an expression: everything happens for a reason. In doing so, I can also tell you that one of the most valuable lessons I learned from it all is to never use, “There’s always tomorrow” or “This can wait” or any other variation of time-related jargon 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 10, 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.

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