Nine Lives

I’m entering into, for lack of better terms, a new phase in life – one where the silent, uneasy solitude will be my best friend whether I like her or not, one whom I must become familiar with until I do like her. Her company will most likely reveal the desirable and not so desirable filthy corners of an old soul, coercing me into, yet another, inadvertent spiritual cleanse.

It’s like reincarnation because I learned a long time ago that life isn’t a continuous piece of string looping through jungle gyms and obstacle courses. It is several different pieces of string that we’re dangerously swinging from, holding on tightly with weakened hands, possibly with a direction in mind, but always falling or unintentionally veering off course. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not always unintentional. Sometimes one decision, no matter how big or how small, can completely alter the direction our lives have been taking, empirically shifting almost everything about them. It’s like we’re cats with nine lives.

I’m not certain which life I’m headed into right now though if I had to guess, I would guess it’s somewhere around eight. And if I’m right, I better make this shit count! And just in case there’s any confusion, I’m not talking about some hippie, drink only lemon juice and cayenne then meditate for twelve hours cleanse or life, either. I’m simply describing that almost transcendental feeling of ruminating on the past and feeling as if a couple of years ago was actually lifetimes ago or as if it were possibly someone else’s life that I’m merely retelling a story of. Perhaps it was even a book I read?

Either way, I must carry what I learned and experienced to the present and utilize it for the greater good of those around me and myself. I’ve begun to feel as if I was put on this earth to only plant seeds, to be a part of someone’s life for what feels like such a short time because once you truly love and care for another life, time is irrelevant to the emotions. A lifetime can feel utterly insufficient. Enter lesson number 9,153 – My mother always reminded me, “The price of love is grief.”

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Undelivered Letters

The saying that the pain is temporary feels like the opposite ever since all the tragedy.  For me, it feels more like happiness is temporary. Honest to God.”

The above were words I recently came across that I had written down about three and a half years ago. Unable to sleep, I was alone waiting for my then husband to come home like almost every other night he worked. He frequently did not come home rather staying out all night and getting drunk with his coworkers.

As I read on, it became apparent that the words I was writing were a sort of letter to David, however, he never read it unless he happened to snoop as I came to find out he had done in the past. When confronted regarding this issue shortly after my mother’s death, he claimed that he was doing so out of the familiar fear that I may be suicidal and wanted to stay one step ahead – a preventative measure if you will.

At the time, I accepted his defense despite feeling utterly violated and disrespected. And I accepted his defense because there was a part of me – that part that didn’t wish to exist in a world where happiness seemed a temporary state. His justification created an intense and provisional sense that he deeply cared for me – just not enough to forego staying out until four ‘o’ clock in the morning with twenty-something service industry personnel, becoming collectively inebriated beyond recollection.

I’ve also been dwelling on the details of my mother’s death.  On one hand, this is good for my writing but the problem is I’m not writing it down.  I’m just reliving the experience in my head.”

I went on to therapeutically write words to David with little intention of delivering them. To this day, I attempt to search blindly for compassion for a boy who couldn’t possibly have grasped the sheer anguish or recognize the incessant darkness that enveloped my soul and violently clawed at what was left of my wounded heart. To this day, I am unable to really grasp any compassion, unable to see through the warranted anger of a woman deliberately left alone, to walk through that dark all by herself day in and day out – no hand to hold, no ounce of respite.

Do I believe that David wanted to be a better man? A better boyfriend? A better husband? Yes. Do I believe that he tried unequivocally hard to do so? Absolutely not.

I often feel desperate and expectant.” I continued. Never in my life have I ever felt more desperate than the three years I spent with David. Coupling that with expectancies was a recipe for complete disaster and often leaves me pondering how different my life would be today had I made subtle but timely, opposite decisions. For example, what if the night of our first major fight I had ended things and moved back to Los Angeles? Or, not so subtle, what if I had never married him? I know that these types of thoughts are unproductive but it doesn’t hurt anyone, I cannot help myself and it makes for interesting writing.

I went on to type, “Sometimes, I’m able to think rationally and logically and most of the time, it just pushes me deeper into a dark place.” Today, I recognize that my “rational” and “logical” thinking had nothing to do with my feelings, my emotions – the inner turmoil taking place within the outer turmoil that I was subjecting myself to. Rational and logical thinking does nothing for matters of the heart.

I concluded this undelivered letter with, “I am hoping that this gets better once we move and once I find the strength to remain motivated, consistently.” I was clearly hopefully anticipating our move to Los Angeles from New York. “This” got better once I removed the toxicity from my life and “this” is continually in improvement mode. Los Angeles is thankfully just the setting for this righteous revival.

I Don’t Fuck with Peoples’ Lives

A Righteous Revival

I was relaxing, bathing in the pink bathtub of my West Hollywood apartment, excitedly talking on the telephone with David.  He had told me he loved me as we sat on a rooftop while the New York skies began to rain upon us.  I had yet to reciprocate a response utilizing those eight letters that make up those three words.

Instead, I was on the telephone, thousands of miles away, asking him how he could be so certain about me, about us – how he knew I was “the one,” how he knew that he was in love with me.  Needless to explain, I was quite the skeptic at the tender age of twenty-five.  Though I knew in my heart that I, too, was madly in love with this twenty-one year old from New York, I was scared as shit!  Foreshadowing, again?  Perhaps, I’ll never know.

While I eventually verbally…

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The Magic of Christmas

The holidays were magical in the presence of my mother and her grand Christmas tree, her abundant decorations and collection of hand painted Santas from around the world. The past five Christmases, since she was diagnosed with terminal cancer in December of 2010, have never been the same. Every ornament hung, every Christmas card addressed, every cookie baked – it no longer carries that magic. These festivities are conducted within a great void that is heavier than any Nor’easter snowfall and as certain as the Earth is round.

Her favorite holiday was Christmas and that was evident upon entering her home mid-December.   Jimmy Steward in It’s A Wonderful Life could be heard harping in the background while the scent of baked goods wafted from the kitchen. Christmas tree shopping at Vitali’s Christmas tree lot was a tradition followed by the decision of which excess of ornaments weren’t making the cut this year. My mama had so many ornaments even the fattest noble fir couldn’t yield the space for them all.

Every year, I could expect to unwrap an ornament from underneath the tree as my mother insisted her children begin their own large collection of non-traditional, bohemian or oversized ornaments. Most of these unique gifts hang in memory on my trees today amongst my own traditions of twinkling red, green and white lights – how intentionally Italian of me!  And what’s a tree without my favorite hanging from one of its sturdy needled branches?

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favorite ornament since my childhood

As a child, I could hardly understand why the tree had to come down so soon after Christmas day. As an adult, I get it and I wish I could let her know that. My mama passed so many traditions, morals and values on to me, and how to celebrate this time of year was definitely handed from mother to daughter.

I have adopted many of my own traditions over the years, many of which I’m sure she’d approve of, but the heart and soul of this particular holiday is rooted in my mother. She was my Santa Claus, my Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, my Frosty the Snowman, my George Bailey – she was the magic that ignited the 25th of December, my birthday, with magic. She was what and whom I believed in.

Merry Christmas to you, mama. I miss you with an unruly fierceness and a primal longing and I love you with all my heart and soul.

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Dear Readers

Dear readers, I simply wanted to drop a line, this evening, as I am diligently writing to complete a story that is near and dear to me. I have a couple of weeks to meet a deadline, for a prominent literary magazine and to have my story repeatedly edited and polished for submission. I do not wish to neglect my blog nor especially my readers so please accept this as my humble apology for the fewer and far between posts as of late.

When I decided to embark on this new chapter (no pun intended) of submitting my writing to professional literary magazines and other media outlets, I wasn’t certain if I wanted to share it or keep it under wraps for fear that “nothing will come of it.”   I realized that nothing coming of it was impossible because I can submit my writing over and over to a hundred different places and they can all end up rejections but at least I’ll know I have tried. And most importantly, at the end of the day, I am doing what I love, what ignites my soul. That is certainly not nothing!

I also had to remind myself that I have an amazing support system of people, near and far, dead and alive – people who wish me well and want to see me happy – people who read what I have to say. I will never take you for granted.

So, this is a blog post of my sheer gratitude for your patience, your kind words throughout the last couple of years and your curiosity. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out. I will always do my best to respond in a timely manner to each and every one of you. If there were something you want to hear more about, something you have a question about, anything, I would love to hear from you!

In the meantime, I am going to leave you with this letter I stumbled upon during my recent collection of my mother’s belongings in Kansas City, a trip I tried vividly describing in Pi Miles to My Destination. I thought it befitting considering my mama was and still is my biggest cheerleader.

LETTER 2 MAMA

Dear Mama,

By the time you are reading this, I will be on my way to Los Angeles, California, where I will be living on my own for quite some time. This is not meant to be some sort of cheesy letter telling you how much I love you, but more like a “I’m growing up and doing my own things” kinda letter, an appreciation expression letter…though if it makes u cry or feel any other sort of “sappy” emotion, I apologize. Haha…Anywayz, I know it’s not like I’m not going to talk to you often or anything, but there are just some things I want you to know before I leave for such a long time and we are unable to see each other. I know that I have done some things that neither of us are very proud of, but I’ve also done some things that we can both be very proud of. Well, I hope that my moving to Los Angeles to attend Fashion school and do whatever else I choose to do will not only make myself proud, but I hope that you will be proud of me, as well. It is amazing how you learn something new everyday and since the day I was born, I have been learning new things everyday in Kansas City…Now, I will be learning new things everyday that I can’t just “come home” and share with you. I just pray that the outcome of whatever I learn and do will make you proud. I know that what I do from now on is my own decisions, but you really have been an inspiration, and I think everyone wants to make that one person happy and proud. It seems that no matter what I am doing, even if it is making me happy…I have to have the approval of my mother. And as annoying as that can be, it is inevitable. All the times I said that you weren’t supportive or encouraging, I realize that you always were and always have been…in more ways than one. I hope that someday you will realize how appreciative I truly am that you are allowing me this opportunity to go to California and attend this Fashion Institute. It is hard to describe the gratitude I feel. I dream that someday I will be able to repay you monetarily, but through your own little country home and all the other material things you’ve aspired of.

I know that I am not the nicest, sweetest daughter that I always could have been and I am truly sorry for all the times that I seriously hurt you and your feelings. I always say that I have no regrets because everything happens for a reason and u learn from your mistakes, and I still believe that with all my heart, but I learned in an unsatisfactory way. I am sorry.

No matter what I do and where I go, I will always remember where I come from and I know you are thinking that that is easier said than done, but you have taught me the simplicity of life. You have taught me that you truly can be happy with the “bare minimum.” You have taught me so much. I’ve watched you, for 18 years, now, go through so much shit and still come out strong and I just hope that that is a characteristic that I possess of yours. I am going to try so hard, every day, to not take anything for granted! I know that I still have to learn from my own mistakes, but at least, I have someone to look up to.

If I had myself as a daughter, I probably would have killed me before, but you didn’t and you would never. Do you know that I feel like I don’t deserve you and some of the things you’ve done for me? In fact, I know I don’t and of course, I’m not finished. There is more to be said. It is amazing to me when I think about the past years and how fast they came. I mean just six years ago, I was throwing a “Sevvy” party with Jen at her house. Now I’m throwing a “going away, we’re gettin’ out on our own, movin’ to California” gathering. Haha J I know that it is going to be hard not seeing you for a long time but if I have your motivation, ambition and strength, then I should be just fine. J

Call me whenever you want to, remember to set the alarm EVERY NITE please! Also, remember to do the things that make u happy…gardening, painting, being creative…where else do u think I got it? I will miss you and I love you so much. I thank you for the first 18 years of my life, and being the greatest mama you could. Once again, I’m at a loss of words, but I think you get the point. I love you.

Much Love Forever & Ever,

Your one & only daughter,

<3 Linds