Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

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As I ready myself to invite 2012 into my life, somethings about the past year stand out starkly.

Two of my books were finally done, and put out into the world. I started two blogs. This came about, I kid you not, solely because I was furious. Never before have I used anger constructively. The results of being as angry before have been dreadful headaches and vaguely proved memory loss.

I met a questionable holy man, who despite my doubts, imparted significant knowledge and had me lose a miraculous 8 pounds in 2 weeks. Even though he had his eyes on a voluptuous neighbor as I asked him questions about the future and deeper philosophies, I'm still grateful. See? They were right about having an open mind. There are certainly diamonds to be found in the muck. Just have to shut your eyes, and plug your nose for good measure.

After eleven long years of thinking that it didn't really matter, going through career changes and staying home too, I discovered that I just cannot be a housewife. Just...NO. Not for me. So I've had little projects, while ensuring basic involvement with my household and of course, ensuring that Mini-Him has his Mini life properly running.

The biggest surprise of 2011 for me has been my pregnancy. Delightful and unexpected. And much hoped for. Nearly ten years ago, when Mini-Him was born, I believe that I was saturated with patience and tolerance, and an unreasonable belief in supposedly endless time. Life has been stripped down to the basics now. There's no time for indulgence, false ambition and hypocrisy. It feels surprisingly weightless.

And speaking of weightless -  or the opposite - that's one thing that has traveled with me, unchanged over the years. I hope when I write in 2012, I can say, "So we're still here in 2013 (clarify you cryptic Mayans!), and I left my weight behind. The Great Bulk is now a thing of the past!"

I'm grateful to each of you for taking the time to visit, read and comment on my blog. I've enjoyed being myself here and enjoy reading your blogs in turn.

Wish you all a very Happy, healthy, prosperous, love-filled 2012!


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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tranquilo

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For the first time, in a long time, I've felt at peace. Likely, I'll jinx myself by saying this. But if I can talk about confusion and unhappiness with ease, this should be as natural.

I think Mini-Him's reaction to news of a sibling's arrival had something to do with it. He said, "It's true?!"
Him and I smiled and nodded.
"No! It's not true...," he insisted, and asked in a small voice, "is it?"
We laughed, because his eyes haven't stayed open that wide in some years, around the time he was four and he knelt by the fireplace, looking up the chimney for Santa's boots on Christmas Eve.
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"Oh...oh I'm so glad Mom!!! I'm so proud of you!!" he said, grabbing me in a dance, suddenly stopping, and he said, "Oh, and Baby, I don't care if you're a boy or a girl, I'm just glad you're here!"

I was a quivering mass of sentiment by the time he was done and had to escape, in a hurry, to the bathroom to cry, and to take care of that other urgent thing that hits expectant moms without notice. By the time I had returned, he had a notebook open, with Boy on one page, and Girl, on the other. He'd put down a few names and urged us to put our choices down. I really didn't know what to say. Just uttered a deep prayer for Mini-Him's well being and offered many thanks to the one above.

Him didn't know what to say either, and was his manly self, except when he'd hug Mini-Him and kiss him like he used to when Mini-Him was a baby (smacking kisses on both cheeks and one on the forehead for good measure).

After that revelation, something settled down inside.

I'd also mentioned needing to let go of past memories in a previous post. I've used lots of ink and paper. And something startling I found, was that most hurtful memories had something to do with not being heard or understood. And most positive memories had something to do with being able to express my thoughts and feelings. It rarely, if ever, had anything to do with concrete slights. I seemed to have brushed those off easily. Also, the memories of Mini-Him's awful emergencies seem to have burrowed deep. I think those point to some concrete fear. But otherwise, it's my own view of other's thought processes about me. Or actions toward me. None of which I have any control over! So now, there is new understanding of "that's not really my problem."

Not in a dismissive, uncaring fashion. But truly, as an aspect of relationships that I could never have controlled or changed. In fact, it's none of my business what goes on in another human's head. So there. If they appeared not to have heard me or didn't care, there was a missing element. A wordy bridge to understanding doesn't untangle the issue; i.e; a lack of interest in exchange that leaveseveryone feeling fulfilled.

An inordinate number of fears have escaped a regular weeding process. It's freeing to sort through this. Hopefully I'll get somewhere.

Then, there are childhood memories. So real that it becomes easy to overlap time lines. It's easy to confuse frames. I've found myself looking into my father's camera lens as my six year old self posed in front of a sunset, wearing my favorite skirt. Suddenly, my baby brother is stumbling alongside Mom, as we walk him back from his first day at school. I've been as I was, when I saw Him for the first time, honey colored skin warming further in the sunlight. Without notice, I'm with a friend looking at Mini-Him days after he is born. The warmth of dusky desert evenings to crisp Californian winters to balmy Panamanian Christmases. These are difficult to let go. I don't want to.

But the undercurrent of longing has to go.

It's pointless to want something you've already had, right?

For now, it's gratitude, plain and simple, for all that was and for all the hope that we still nurture.

I presented an abridged finding of my 'paper and ink' research to Him. He listened, loving his shredded wheat with dry fruit cereal more than my monologue. But he listened.

"So what do you think?" I asked Him, looking for a further analysis.

Him solves a great deal with a simple word.

He said, "Tranquilo....just... tranquilo."

And he smiled, patted my back and left.

When I looked up the word to confirm the meaning I suspected, I found, among other meanings, (http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=tranquilo)

Tranquilo, Spanish - 'sin turbulencias' , 'sin preocupacion'

For the time being, yes, it is without turbulence.

As for tomorrow, I'll shore up paper and ink.

Happy Saturday!


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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Love to death

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The shock of cold water seemed to seal the heat within. Leia's body had run into the ocean's forbidding chill, on instinct. There had been no mental prep or conditioning. It was to save herself.

He had walked around the Dodge and waved, in the general direction of the group. He would find her, she thought, and she would be speechless again. Hazel eyes and smiling innocence, knowing her fluttering heart and yet, seeking friendship, that she did not want to extend. Sort of like offering a match stick as kindling for a raging fire.

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Rachel walked, swaying toward him, in time with his body swaying toward hers. The unconscious comfort of lovers, the signal that confirms suspicions to the world before anything is verbalized. Leia's breath caught as she turned away and tried to wade in, as waves pushed her toward the shore. Desperation stretched out ahead, as far and as deep as the ocean. It would be wonderful to drown in it. To let it roll and break far above her head, while she lay, silent and still at the bottom.

"Hey Leia!," Rachel shouted. Her best friend. Her sister for all seasons. The one who had envied her her grades, her body and career. She was more than compensated, Leia thought, when she met Kevin. Kevin, whom Leia had wanted at first sight. Kevin, who saw and understood the shock in her eyes. Kevin, who had gently drawn her attention away from himself, to the man she had married that day. Her husband, who was wonderful and not Kevin.

"Hi Rachel," Leia said, water mixing with her tears, making them even saltier. "Thought you were busy today!"

"We thought we'd be. But then, I hardly see you these days. If I didn't know better, Leia Wills, I'd swear you're ignoring me. But you love me don't you? I told Kevin that I'd rather see you. So he called and cancelled our lunch plans and here we are!"

Leia frowned, heart hammering as she watched Kevin approach them. Rachel had waded into the water too. "You look good. Hi, Kevin!"

Kevin smiled softly, eyes holding hers, " Leia, you look well."

She laughed, shaking her head, fighting bitterness. She looked well? She felt like she was eighty. Weary and too aware. The awareness of hopelessness much too strong. "Thanks, you too."

Rachel looked on frowning at their strange greeting.

Mike jogged toward them, back slapped Kevin and hugged Rachel. "Does my wife forget to invite people home these days?! Where have you guys been? Haven't seen you in months!"

As the three of them talked, Leia had waded further back. They hadn't noticed her moving. Rachel's back toward her, with Kevin's fingers on her skin. Mike engaged them, his volleyball player's physique executing little leaps, and tosses as he enacted a move.

If she could get away. In the truest sense. Not have to go back to that sand and sit watching their happiness and her own pain. She realized how far out she was when the floor no longer met her feet. Leia was a tall woman. The three figures were speck-like, with waving arms. Mike's booming voice reached her, now a mild echo, "Leia, what the hell are you doing?! Get back here!!"

"Never," she whispered to herself. "Not to you. Not to anyone." The waves lapped at her tears now. She continued to swim backwards, and downwards. For moments that stretched eternally. Her strong body wouldn't let her drown. She floated, eyes closed, willing oblivion to creep over.

Something held on, something that was deeper than desperation. Leia opened her eyes, and looked toward the shore. It wasn't visible. Righting herself, taking breaths before the next push of a wave filled her mouth with water, she saw.

Too much water and too much distance.

She sobbed, seeing herself apart and alone for the first time. No Mike, or Kevin or Rachel or family. No one but her in the moment that she decided to let go. Why did Kevin matter so? Who was there now?

A giant wave pushed her down. She sank for a few feet, as she had wanted, at the beginning of this journey of no return. The ocean was a liquid canvas of gray. It matched her hold on life at the moment. A tenuous hold, ready to break. There was no panic. Just questions about why she needed Kevin more than she needed Mike or Rachel. And why she needed to take her life, and not live it. Because of one man in more than six billion people on planet earth.

Her airways protested the water forcing itself through. Her muscles deprived of oxygen, from fighting it; fighting to live or die? It seemed unimportant now, as her mind ventured on journeys of its own.

A motor whirred in the distance, approaching faster. Leia was nearly asleep now, the waves rocking her, the ocean's roar a dim lullaby. As her lungs filled with water, blackness began to creep in. Going from gray to black now. Middle ground couldn't last long at a time like this, she thought dimly, her body twitching in a final fight. Her heart saw no point.

She didn't hear the rescue boat stop above her, nor Kevin's hoarse cry. Mike had jumped in the water and refused to get aboard, until rescuers began to threaten him. It was getting dangerous. The boat passed over the spot she floated in, many feet below.

Many days later, after the memorial service, Rachel and Kevin sat by the ocean where they had last seen her. Rachel sobbed into the now azure sea. "Why Kevin? Why did she do it? I wasn't there for her, was I? Just too wrapped up. She was a sister, I can't understand it."

Kevin rubbed her back. He looked out into the ocean. He'd known of course, that she had wanted him since the first time that she'd seen him. Or really, the first time that she had realized that he was around. Because he'd been around her a long time. He just hadn't expected to see her get married to Mike. He had waited, believing that she would somehow know, magically, that he was the one for her. And she knew magically too, on her wedding day.  All through school and high school, she couldn't have known that he had watched her from the sidelines, during games and dances. He had watched her choose her boyfriends, her classes, and schools. He had bought tickets to her graduation. He had watched her as she went from a pig tailed brat to a gorgeous young woman. And she couldn't have known that he had wanted her and loved her through the years. Sweet Rachel, a lovely light by herself, still reminded him of her, and he needed that much at least. He had sought out Rachel, to have a bit of Leia for himself. He loved Rachel, in a steady way. The inferno that whipped inside him at the sight and touch of Leia couldn't have belonged in the realm of the sane.

It was better that she went, he thought. As much as he hadn't been man enough to tell her that he lived for her, since he had first seen her, he couldn't have been man enough to love her from a distance forever. He had hated Mike with a passion, until he had seen him devastated and shocked.

Yes, it was better that she did this.

This way, he thought, no one would get hurt.

Except, that the inferno was a burning ember now, and the pain would become a part of him, more desperation than he had lived with. But nothing he couldn't bear. At least, he had Rachel.

He turned around and kissed Rachel, held her hand, embraced her sorrow and his, and asked, "Will you marry me?"


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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Past forward, and the dream update :-)

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There are times when I wish memories from the past would leave me alone. Even the happy memories. It seems to me that I haven't yet been able to make peace with the present. Or the fact that the good, happy memories are meant to fuel my aspirations for the future. Instead, I'm obsessed with holding on to the memory of every sight, sound, person and wayward leaf.

I've been trying to move forward. I do...sometimes, it's a mad stop in the present and a mad dash toward a future that I can't wait to meet. Very often though, I feel lost in a wilderness that I'm in no hurry to leave. Either the perfection of the present or the perfection of the past, even with it's troubles, holds me captive. And of course, there are endless ways in which to use hindsight.

But there is something compelling about an ocean of memories. Our lives are huge lessons. For me at least, the people and moments in my life shaped me definitively. And their absence continues to shape me.

I long for the warmth of home, and yet, I long for the moments when I believed that I would be on my own someday. Those moments held promise and power. I long for the safety of sheltering, understanding arms. And at once, I'm glad to be here, now, by myself.

Maybe opening my heart to new things is part of it, and somehow, there's something vital that I've missed about the life I've lived so far. Perhaps "doing" more than "thinking" might bring home the point.

It also seems, that letting go would entail some level of disconnect. There would be things, good and bad, that will become neutral or stop mattering. I think that, from all other reasons, holds me back.

But it remains to be dealt with.

I'm trying somethings for it and can hopefully talk about it, if I have some progress.

After all, it doesn't seem like there is very much time to live a future, as much as there is time to live in past memories. Life does move inexorably forward, and when it slows down after a few decades, I'm pretty sure I'll snap back into the 'old times' to take me through the last few days of the future.

Also, "the weird dream" update -
Turns out that Mini-him will, hopefully, have a Mini-sibling soon (June, and if Mini-Him's set precedent is anything to go by, much earlier!) Who knew? Snakes and green fruit and what not? It's been wonderful; the morning sickness, the sleepiness and everything is still miraculous to me:-)

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