A Kitty For All Seasons

" Your most cherished dream will die this week, which would be tragic if it weren't to float around in a Texas-shaped pool filled with beer."

This morning, after I had dropped the boys off at school and ventured reluctantly back to work, I encountered the most amazing symbol of the upcoming season: A tree. One lone tree among dozens upon dozens of green towering deciduous beauties. This lone picture of perfection lit up my view with it's seemingly infinite collection of red, orange and yellow hues. Fall. I instantly fast-forward to the smell of pumpkin... a cool nighttime breeze teasing my flesh....the crunch of leaves beneath my feet....the delicious horror of Halloween....

Having always lived in multi-season climates, experience had taught me that, although I always seek those elusive tidbits of happiness -  as each season wears on - I slip into the doldrums. Wishing only for what comes next. Such a tragic way to go about life - simply forgetting to live in the moment. Why not soak up all that I am surrounded by rather than grabbing the binoculars for that greener grass or changing tree off in the distance? As I take a step back from myself, a broader perspective presents itself.

I recently found myself engaged in a long conversation with a dear friend of mine regarding memories. I'm afraid there was a bit of a pity party being thrown, but there was still much truth contained in my words...even if considerably less theatrics. As the dialogue progressed, I began uncovering the REAL circumstances surrounding memories I tried to paint with a more pleasant brush. The pain I attempted to hide by isolating a snapshot in time and focusing on only that small frame. This theme has become quite commonplace in my life. Knowing how prone I am to depression, I struggle to tread the waters around me - to find hidden beauties and camouflaged peace.

All of this is so glaringly apparent in my view of each upcoming season. I have never been one to handle summer with grace. As an overweight and self-conscious child, I dreaded thoughts of heat and the paring down of clothing. In protest of the onset of sadness, I clung to little pieces of time. Memories I could replay over and over again in an attempt to keep smiling: I remember sprawling out under the shadows of our oak trees - closing my eyes to drown out the frolicking children I didn't fit in with. In place of all the giggles and delight was the sound of a small airplane overhead.... when I opened my eyes, I could see the vapor trail delicately strewn across a stunning blue sky. On another occasion, I strolled obliviously about in a park from the heat of the day well into evening... when colors drift seamlessly into black and white and the crickets are deafening.... These moments became my summer. I looked forward to these senses - I frantically embraced them so all the bad could fade away. 

The days pass by faster than they used to - I grow dizzy retrieving each sequential inner box of memories while trying to prepare myself for the onslaught of the future. I am forgetting the moment - and there are so many of them. The moments that matter: The belly laughs of my children... The smell of the sun heating up the pine trees as the wind whips through my short hair... My husband's dimples when he smiles at me first thing in the morning. Simply put: The things that matter.

I've spent so much time painstakingly healing from years of damage I neglected to notice I'm no longer being actively hurt. That fact in itself seems to toss me into a tailspin. Had I created all the drama I felt I needed to recover from? Without so much as a hint of sarcasm, it seems I've hit the proverbial nail on the head. With each passing day, I'm getting to know myself a little better. I'm growing to reconcile the emotions which frantically swirled around in my head for decades. The hurt was real - the negative emotional responses were real. What I believe was an illusion was the intent behind them. Coming to terms with being the epitome of hypersensitivity is quite the experience. I equate such a wild ride to being in a warehouse full of grasshoppers. As I collect each one and place it carefully in the net, the chaos calms just a little more. I have always made apologies, but the season has come to forgive all those who never did. The past is the perfect place for the past and I must learn to leave the dusting for another time.

Today is a new day and I resolve to leave it at that.

Blue.

"The rise of Orion in the night sky, combined with the approach of the equinox, is a dire portent. Soon it will become cold, and frozen water shall fall from the sky."

One could say there are a myriad of things that send chills up my spine. After all, this gal fears heights, free-fall, clowns and spiders when she's not dodging sharks, carnies, cheese cloth and Achilles tendon paper-cuts. Add all of this up - the sum still falls miles short of my new found fear of blue.... More specifically the blueish hue which paints my son's lips when he slips into oblivion.

My oldest was the one plagued by health problems. From the day he arrived on this planet during the wildest thunderstorm imaginable:  jaundiced and subsequently enduring misreported blood results, we grew to expect red carpets rolled out from those familiar gates of the E.R.. The second was to be easier. We told ourselves this over and over again. It has to be easier this go-round, for we know what to expect. We had never been so mistaken in our relatively young lives.

The first time he cried... I mean really cried... A legitimate reason, not some silly plea for milk, the cat's tail, or his blankie..... He slipped away. I will never be free of the branded image of his lifeless body in my panicked arms. The grayish tint of his skin where every miniature little vein seems tattooed against the most delicate rice paper. And those lips... those chapped, helpless, pouty blue lips. My lacking instincts led me from one room to another in silent horror - I had long since quit screaming and simply needed to act. It seemed like days between scooping him up and placing my lips to his between the softest, yet most effective chest compressions my trembling hands could manage. The slightest hollow gasp brought streams of tears to my face. This was to be the very beginning.

His brother had witnessed all of this, and from time to time, he still vividly relives the day "his brother was dead". He is the fragile one - the empath who feels his Mama's pain and struggles to find explanation in his journey... even five years later. But the little one - the little one is full of fire and confidence. Where Van is wise beyond years, Dax is fearless beyond his own. Perhaps that is one trait that drives me into despair when he breaks. He has endured test after test.... his heart, brain, blood... to no end. There are no answers beyond "extended breath holding". Then there are the unexplained seizures. The day he came out of one of these ominous spells without senses - his eyes, unfocused - for a moment, I felt as though I were hearing through his ears - all that resonated was the distant clamour of thousands of overlapping conversations - as though heard from somewhere underwater and far away.

They feared him at preschool. The teachers would meltdown upon witnessing what had to be calmly explained away over and over again. They didn't want to touch him for fear that he'd shatter into a million precious pieces. My heart ached for him for two long years. It was getting better. He was becoming vibrant and brilliant. Perhaps not articulate, but an almost prodigy of all things sports and physical. Charming, devious and hysterical all at one moment. He grew out of it. My god, they were right... he grew out of it!

Yesterday, my little clouded world came crashing down upon me like one of those hellacious breaking waves immediately followed by an undertow that pulls you out to sea. In the confusion, you swim furiously towards the ocean floor repeatedly - life slipping from your frantic body. Things go eerily calm. We think it was the altitude in the mountains. We probably desperately cling to the very same. It had become such a routine, Papa immediately handed him off to me as he gathered up Van for yet another heartfelt explanation and offering of some level of comfort. I stood out in the crisp night air with my baby in my arms. His tongue hanging out beyond those familiar blue lips.... the grey skin, the rolling eyes, the stiff and slightly shivering limbs. His eyes close and his body finally forces the slightest breathe. I am completely silent as I remain stoic and in a feigned stance of accomplishment. Behind the walls, my heart is racing as though it will explode if it doesn't recognize the beat through the tiny chest pressed against my own.

As though it were as mundane as grabbing a glass of water, I carry his now-breathing little frame back inside and place him gingerly on the bed with his blankie snuggled up close. I ask him a few questions and he answers each perfectly. His final words before drifting off to sleep: "I love you, Mama. Thank you." I kiss his sweet little sweaty forehead, turn around, walk back beyond the threshold and weep.

These experiences.... these moments.... they don't hold a candle to the trauma so many parents (make no distinction between biological and those who have proudly stepped into those shoes) and loved ones have been forced to endure because of circumstance or even worse, genetics. So many creatures have known the sense of ultimate responsibility for another - or for multiple others.... so many are blessed with an intangible instinct of protection and action. For others, no level of instinct or education - medication or experience can ever take away the fears that send us into our own personal hell when we close our eyes each night.

It never gets easier.... only more familiar. It is said that we are only given what we can handle. What we are capable of. The most unspeakable tragedy is turning one's back on that. There is no easy road in this life. To think that way is to either exude arrogance or indifference. I never imagined I possessed the capacity to love so many so incredibly deeply. I suppose that is because my heart is...well...capable of it. I will never make any apologies for that, nor will I ever have any regrets. Sometimes in the midst of chaos I forget my own heart.... Those blue lips are an ever-vigilant reminder.

The Bizarre and The Beautiful.....

"Your heart will be shattered by a beautiful scientist who removes it from your body, dips it in liquid nitrogen, and drops it to the ground."

This morning, I woke as though from the most marvelous dream of the experience had Sunday.... Leading up to this, my husband and his band were scheduled for a photo shoot in celebration of winning best rock/metal band of the year from a local paper. He had been ever so slightly briefed to arrive at a specified time at a location described as little more than a junkyard... later it was added that it is also a botanical garden...?... Confusion was abound, but he was excited nonetheless.



A few hours passed, and Papa came through the door with this somehow serene excitement beaming forth from expression. He slowly began describing this amazing place and relayed that it was quite simply "ME".... That I must visit the spot and soon! As I'm a naturally curious (read: OBNOXIOUS) sort of creature, my excitement dictated that we must immediately pack up the boys and head directly back there so I could see it for myself! What's the saying? "If Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy" *smile* My family quickly obliged....

We drove through the familiar streets I had driven past numerous times. I kept pondering how it was possible I could have missed this place? It was mere blocks from where I once lived! - yet from the street, one would never guess such magic were contained behind a non-descript fence. We parked in the gravel lot and proceeded to unload ourselves from the car.



I little more than glanced up and a feeling washed over my entire being: This garden. This simple, eclectic beauty set against a breathtaking backdrop of the cloud covered mountains in the distance. Every last one of my senses were completely overwhelmed as time suddenly stood still.... reversed, even.... Stepping through this portal into the past... So much to take in.... bizarre, decaying sculptures, then suddenly antique treasures from decades gone by.... flowers and greenery.... bits of twisted metal and spectacular works of art littered among plants and gazebos. Awestruck.



My brain couldn't begin to register what was at play as quickly as I wished for it to.... These metal creatures peering at us from behind a tree - beings reminiscent of the Quentin Blakely illustrations in the Roald Dahl books I so adore.



For the next undisclosed amount of time, I was lost in all the glory. I was living through my boys, who had stars in their eyes - I could feel their sensory overload along with my own - they ran this way and that - wanting to take in each piece with the appreciation it so greatly deserved, but then feeling torn with notions of neglecting the very next..... Old metal signs and wooden ringer washing machines.... Schwinn bicycles and.... SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS, POLISH CHICKENS!!!!!!! (I walked into this all well equipped with expectations of the children fancying up one nightmare or another from their wild experience this fine day.... the chickens most definitely still haunt them both....).



I have always had an affinity for all things vintage, retro, strange and forgotten - this Valhalla had it all and then some! But it was more than that... As I turned each corner of wonderment and spectacle, my heart swelled with the words my husband spoke - his knowledge that this place must be shared with me - that I'd understand upon seeing it. Knowing so much about me and what truly makes me tick. I melted.



As silly as it all may seem to the casual observer, I was.... well.... home. I had rarely experienced emotions of being cradled in the welcoming embrace of a space - but this topped the list. To find that I never previously knew of the spot - it was both disappointing and understandable all at once. As though I needed this place to exist at this exact moment in time. And now it does, and I cannot wait to visit again!



There Is No "We" in "ME" :)

" You'll finally learn you can't run away from your problems, but you haven't given up on escaping by donning a clever disguise and hiding in a crowded restaurant. "



'Tis a strange and amusing ongoing battle between my personalities:
Wanting to be "liked" vs. Wanting to blend seamlessly in with the wallpaper
Trying to be selfless vs. Making it all about ME
Wanting to move to Italy vs. Dreams of moving to Pluto



This morning, my first born started kindergarten. My first thoughts? How I was going to handle this. What the hell, Mama? This day is about HIM. His first steps towards miniature manhood! A thousand shades of NEW. Yet I was confident he'd be just fine - after all, he's the oldest. He's had to play the role of guinea pig for every first. First smile. First steps. First word. First bike.....First one to push Mama's buttons.



But exuding confidence in my uncoordinated midget - how on earth did I think it justified making it all about me? The answer to that lies in the past 33 or so years.... There have always been two very distinct sides of Miss Kitty - more recently, I fear those have bred or blossomed or begat...ummm...eth multiple more. I am always the first to second guess everything I do, say and/or think. I also use "I" a lot in my writing - which tends to be one of those pesky red flags of a *gasp* narcissist. I (there it is AGAIN!!! DAMNIT!) tend to turn my thoughts towards convincing myself it's simply a lack of any real writing talent or structure. Could be a pleasant mixture of the two?



This is where I jump head-first down that slip-'n-slide into the splash pools of overanalyzation. Do I have sinister motive in everything I do? If I don't gain some level of reassurance, will I spontaneously combust? I suppose it's possible - and it's almost a tempting enough curiosity to test... In an attempt to defend myself *cough* TO MYSELF - I then swim some laps in self-loathing for good measure. Almost seems there is an air of familiarity.... the unending cycle of Catholic guilt. I was never "Confirmed", so I always fancied notions that I had somehow outwitted The Vatican.



Then I have an "Ah-ha" moment. Not the band, mind you (plus it's spelled differently) - though Take On Me IS the first song in rotation each day I start my iPod over again - I tend to skip it as quickly as possible through a beet-red face and shifty looks of paranoia. Back to the moment.... It dawns on me that the intangible line between loving myself and REALLY LOVING MYSELF is an utterly foreign concept to me. Fight it as I try, I still can't help but equate even the smallest amount of confidence with an overflowing ego. As I spoke, at length, with a very dear friend of mine about - I struggle with breaking the synapse in my brain that automatically views "confidence" as a four-letter word. And I'm not talking about the "F" one as I utilize that to a degree that would give a sailor pause.



Alas, just another hiccup along this windy journey of mine. Today, of all days, it could not be less about ME. And I don't limit that to my Van's first day of kindergarten. Then again, I suppose I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I weren't viewing the world from MY perspective.... If I weren't simply being.... well.... ME.

A Random Explanation for My Absence

Writer's Block.



One would think that to be sufficient cause to fall off the face of the earth for just over a month, yes? Ahhh, but what fun would that be for the gal who can't seem to "shut up" when it comes to letting my segmented and borderline hysterical ramblings dance via my fingertips across the surface of the keyboard? Plus, I've established I have a certain attachment for run-on sentences......



It really wasn't even so much that I had nothing to say - but rather a mixture of too many things to say coupled with the lack any real cohesion to express them. I have stated that I write for myself and only for myself. I often wonder if I'm simply trying to convince myself? Although I always viewed a need for reaction or criticism as my own personal demon, I'm growing to find that it's a basic inherent trait of a much larger population. Many of us long to be loved, hated, respected, ridiculed - just about anything but forgotten. All other emotional responses are STILL responses. But to be ignored, neglected or forgotten... well, we may as well cease to exist at that point.



In the same vein: "Praised" is something I am altogether uncomfortable with. I no longer feel a need to be adored by all - as I learned, over MUCH time, that it was a fleeting sort of adoration. It was an emotion borne of a bit of other's selfish need for entertainment. I could.... well.... amuse.

"What do ya mean, funny? Let me understand this cause, I don't know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how? I mean, funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh... I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?"



Does a happy medium exist in all of this? I draw the comparison between this mental battle taking place within the confines of my skull and the basic recipe for success in a work environment.... I strive to be a better person, I really do. How can I possibly understand what it is I lack or where my faults lie if no one bothers to clue me in on this? How does one grow when they can't necessarily put a finger on which way "UP" is? Similarly, if I'm continually placed on a pedestal of sorts - praised and complimented (whether out of fear of my fragility or otherwise) - have I already reached the boring pinnacle of perfection? What is the point of standing at the top with that tempered glass ceiling pressing down upon my head? Does anyone truly want to be perfect? My lord, I certainly hope not. What a horridly depressing thought to even fathom someone who actually KNOWS all there is to know!! I would sit atop that mountain with my flowy white robes billowing in the gusts of knowledge pondering "WHAT NOW?" - before briskly jumping off the cliff to my doom!



I believe deep in my soul that there is so much more out there - both on the emotional and the physical journey. Our imaginations fueled by bedazzled creativity shatter any limits or boundaries. You can't begin to imagine my disappointment when, after MONTHS of struggling to master Metroid, I found that upon passing, you simply start the game over, though this time w/out a helmet. *hangs head in disgust* Yes, I am indeed a nerd. A damn proud one! I have a lot of life left in me and an unimaginably vast number of things to learn... I hope that you, the reader, will join me on some of these Choose-Your-Own-Adventures if, for nothing more than a brief moment in time. I could use all the help (help=feedback) I can get!


D is for Disappointment?

"After years of putting up an emotional wall to keep loved ones from getting too close, you'll realize the error of your ways this Thursday and purchase three tons of brick and cement. "



Through a rather specific sequence of events, one thing became crystal clear to me: I am one person. Try as I might, I cannot clone myself, please everyone or control the universe. This realization most certainly knocked me down a peg or three. And yet the place I find myself - though further from my comfort zone in the clouds - ain't so bad.

As a naturally hypersensitive and empathetic sort of creature, I have always expended unreal levels of energy attempting to be everything to everyone. Turns out the "unreal" portion of that was the expectation I placed on myself. It is understandably a bit of an automatic reaction for those I disappoint to lash out at me or express their dissatisfaction with my lack of response - Yet there comes a time in each of our lives where self-preservation must become a priority. Where we cease the apologies and simply smile in the face of adversity.



Time will always be a treasured commodity in short supply. It's something I seemingly only now have come to the realization of. I don't always remember birthdays or even holidays of the national variety. I may neglect to return a phone call or simply ignore them for weeks at a clip. It is not that I am altogether apathetic, but rather in my own version of hibernation. The moments spent with my miniature little family are gold to me. They are not always perfect - but as a dear friend of mine so eloquently stated: "Imperfection is so easy to love". I could not possibly agree more!





Kitty

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Kitty For All Seasons

" Your most cherished dream will die this week, which would be tragic if it weren't to float around in a Texas-shaped pool filled with beer."

This morning, after I had dropped the boys off at school and ventured reluctantly back to work, I encountered the most amazing symbol of the upcoming season: A tree. One lone tree among dozens upon dozens of green towering deciduous beauties. This lone picture of perfection lit up my view with it's seemingly infinite collection of red, orange and yellow hues. Fall. I instantly fast-forward to the smell of pumpkin... a cool nighttime breeze teasing my flesh....the crunch of leaves beneath my feet....the delicious horror of Halloween....

Having always lived in multi-season climates, experience had taught me that, although I always seek those elusive tidbits of happiness -  as each season wears on - I slip into the doldrums. Wishing only for what comes next. Such a tragic way to go about life - simply forgetting to live in the moment. Why not soak up all that I am surrounded by rather than grabbing the binoculars for that greener grass or changing tree off in the distance? As I take a step back from myself, a broader perspective presents itself.

I recently found myself engaged in a long conversation with a dear friend of mine regarding memories. I'm afraid there was a bit of a pity party being thrown, but there was still much truth contained in my words...even if considerably less theatrics. As the dialogue progressed, I began uncovering the REAL circumstances surrounding memories I tried to paint with a more pleasant brush. The pain I attempted to hide by isolating a snapshot in time and focusing on only that small frame. This theme has become quite commonplace in my life. Knowing how prone I am to depression, I struggle to tread the waters around me - to find hidden beauties and camouflaged peace.

All of this is so glaringly apparent in my view of each upcoming season. I have never been one to handle summer with grace. As an overweight and self-conscious child, I dreaded thoughts of heat and the paring down of clothing. In protest of the onset of sadness, I clung to little pieces of time. Memories I could replay over and over again in an attempt to keep smiling: I remember sprawling out under the shadows of our oak trees - closing my eyes to drown out the frolicking children I didn't fit in with. In place of all the giggles and delight was the sound of a small airplane overhead.... when I opened my eyes, I could see the vapor trail delicately strewn across a stunning blue sky. On another occasion, I strolled obliviously about in a park from the heat of the day well into evening... when colors drift seamlessly into black and white and the crickets are deafening.... These moments became my summer. I looked forward to these senses - I frantically embraced them so all the bad could fade away. 

The days pass by faster than they used to - I grow dizzy retrieving each sequential inner box of memories while trying to prepare myself for the onslaught of the future. I am forgetting the moment - and there are so many of them. The moments that matter: The belly laughs of my children... The smell of the sun heating up the pine trees as the wind whips through my short hair... My husband's dimples when he smiles at me first thing in the morning. Simply put: The things that matter.

I've spent so much time painstakingly healing from years of damage I neglected to notice I'm no longer being actively hurt. That fact in itself seems to toss me into a tailspin. Had I created all the drama I felt I needed to recover from? Without so much as a hint of sarcasm, it seems I've hit the proverbial nail on the head. With each passing day, I'm getting to know myself a little better. I'm growing to reconcile the emotions which frantically swirled around in my head for decades. The hurt was real - the negative emotional responses were real. What I believe was an illusion was the intent behind them. Coming to terms with being the epitome of hypersensitivity is quite the experience. I equate such a wild ride to being in a warehouse full of grasshoppers. As I collect each one and place it carefully in the net, the chaos calms just a little more. I have always made apologies, but the season has come to forgive all those who never did. The past is the perfect place for the past and I must learn to leave the dusting for another time.

Today is a new day and I resolve to leave it at that.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blue.

"The rise of Orion in the night sky, combined with the approach of the equinox, is a dire portent. Soon it will become cold, and frozen water shall fall from the sky."

One could say there are a myriad of things that send chills up my spine. After all, this gal fears heights, free-fall, clowns and spiders when she's not dodging sharks, carnies, cheese cloth and Achilles tendon paper-cuts. Add all of this up - the sum still falls miles short of my new found fear of blue.... More specifically the blueish hue which paints my son's lips when he slips into oblivion.

My oldest was the one plagued by health problems. From the day he arrived on this planet during the wildest thunderstorm imaginable:  jaundiced and subsequently enduring misreported blood results, we grew to expect red carpets rolled out from those familiar gates of the E.R.. The second was to be easier. We told ourselves this over and over again. It has to be easier this go-round, for we know what to expect. We had never been so mistaken in our relatively young lives.

The first time he cried... I mean really cried... A legitimate reason, not some silly plea for milk, the cat's tail, or his blankie..... He slipped away. I will never be free of the branded image of his lifeless body in my panicked arms. The grayish tint of his skin where every miniature little vein seems tattooed against the most delicate rice paper. And those lips... those chapped, helpless, pouty blue lips. My lacking instincts led me from one room to another in silent horror - I had long since quit screaming and simply needed to act. It seemed like days between scooping him up and placing my lips to his between the softest, yet most effective chest compressions my trembling hands could manage. The slightest hollow gasp brought streams of tears to my face. This was to be the very beginning.

His brother had witnessed all of this, and from time to time, he still vividly relives the day "his brother was dead". He is the fragile one - the empath who feels his Mama's pain and struggles to find explanation in his journey... even five years later. But the little one - the little one is full of fire and confidence. Where Van is wise beyond years, Dax is fearless beyond his own. Perhaps that is one trait that drives me into despair when he breaks. He has endured test after test.... his heart, brain, blood... to no end. There are no answers beyond "extended breath holding". Then there are the unexplained seizures. The day he came out of one of these ominous spells without senses - his eyes, unfocused - for a moment, I felt as though I were hearing through his ears - all that resonated was the distant clamour of thousands of overlapping conversations - as though heard from somewhere underwater and far away.

They feared him at preschool. The teachers would meltdown upon witnessing what had to be calmly explained away over and over again. They didn't want to touch him for fear that he'd shatter into a million precious pieces. My heart ached for him for two long years. It was getting better. He was becoming vibrant and brilliant. Perhaps not articulate, but an almost prodigy of all things sports and physical. Charming, devious and hysterical all at one moment. He grew out of it. My god, they were right... he grew out of it!

Yesterday, my little clouded world came crashing down upon me like one of those hellacious breaking waves immediately followed by an undertow that pulls you out to sea. In the confusion, you swim furiously towards the ocean floor repeatedly - life slipping from your frantic body. Things go eerily calm. We think it was the altitude in the mountains. We probably desperately cling to the very same. It had become such a routine, Papa immediately handed him off to me as he gathered up Van for yet another heartfelt explanation and offering of some level of comfort. I stood out in the crisp night air with my baby in my arms. His tongue hanging out beyond those familiar blue lips.... the grey skin, the rolling eyes, the stiff and slightly shivering limbs. His eyes close and his body finally forces the slightest breathe. I am completely silent as I remain stoic and in a feigned stance of accomplishment. Behind the walls, my heart is racing as though it will explode if it doesn't recognize the beat through the tiny chest pressed against my own.

As though it were as mundane as grabbing a glass of water, I carry his now-breathing little frame back inside and place him gingerly on the bed with his blankie snuggled up close. I ask him a few questions and he answers each perfectly. His final words before drifting off to sleep: "I love you, Mama. Thank you." I kiss his sweet little sweaty forehead, turn around, walk back beyond the threshold and weep.

These experiences.... these moments.... they don't hold a candle to the trauma so many parents (make no distinction between biological and those who have proudly stepped into those shoes) and loved ones have been forced to endure because of circumstance or even worse, genetics. So many creatures have known the sense of ultimate responsibility for another - or for multiple others.... so many are blessed with an intangible instinct of protection and action. For others, no level of instinct or education - medication or experience can ever take away the fears that send us into our own personal hell when we close our eyes each night.

It never gets easier.... only more familiar. It is said that we are only given what we can handle. What we are capable of. The most unspeakable tragedy is turning one's back on that. There is no easy road in this life. To think that way is to either exude arrogance or indifference. I never imagined I possessed the capacity to love so many so incredibly deeply. I suppose that is because my heart is...well...capable of it. I will never make any apologies for that, nor will I ever have any regrets. Sometimes in the midst of chaos I forget my own heart.... Those blue lips are an ever-vigilant reminder.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Bizarre and The Beautiful.....

"Your heart will be shattered by a beautiful scientist who removes it from your body, dips it in liquid nitrogen, and drops it to the ground."

This morning, I woke as though from the most marvelous dream of the experience had Sunday.... Leading up to this, my husband and his band were scheduled for a photo shoot in celebration of winning best rock/metal band of the year from a local paper. He had been ever so slightly briefed to arrive at a specified time at a location described as little more than a junkyard... later it was added that it is also a botanical garden...?... Confusion was abound, but he was excited nonetheless.



A few hours passed, and Papa came through the door with this somehow serene excitement beaming forth from expression. He slowly began describing this amazing place and relayed that it was quite simply "ME".... That I must visit the spot and soon! As I'm a naturally curious (read: OBNOXIOUS) sort of creature, my excitement dictated that we must immediately pack up the boys and head directly back there so I could see it for myself! What's the saying? "If Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy" *smile* My family quickly obliged....

We drove through the familiar streets I had driven past numerous times. I kept pondering how it was possible I could have missed this place? It was mere blocks from where I once lived! - yet from the street, one would never guess such magic were contained behind a non-descript fence. We parked in the gravel lot and proceeded to unload ourselves from the car.



I little more than glanced up and a feeling washed over my entire being: This garden. This simple, eclectic beauty set against a breathtaking backdrop of the cloud covered mountains in the distance. Every last one of my senses were completely overwhelmed as time suddenly stood still.... reversed, even.... Stepping through this portal into the past... So much to take in.... bizarre, decaying sculptures, then suddenly antique treasures from decades gone by.... flowers and greenery.... bits of twisted metal and spectacular works of art littered among plants and gazebos. Awestruck.



My brain couldn't begin to register what was at play as quickly as I wished for it to.... These metal creatures peering at us from behind a tree - beings reminiscent of the Quentin Blakely illustrations in the Roald Dahl books I so adore.



For the next undisclosed amount of time, I was lost in all the glory. I was living through my boys, who had stars in their eyes - I could feel their sensory overload along with my own - they ran this way and that - wanting to take in each piece with the appreciation it so greatly deserved, but then feeling torn with notions of neglecting the very next..... Old metal signs and wooden ringer washing machines.... Schwinn bicycles and.... SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS, POLISH CHICKENS!!!!!!! (I walked into this all well equipped with expectations of the children fancying up one nightmare or another from their wild experience this fine day.... the chickens most definitely still haunt them both....).



I have always had an affinity for all things vintage, retro, strange and forgotten - this Valhalla had it all and then some! But it was more than that... As I turned each corner of wonderment and spectacle, my heart swelled with the words my husband spoke - his knowledge that this place must be shared with me - that I'd understand upon seeing it. Knowing so much about me and what truly makes me tick. I melted.



As silly as it all may seem to the casual observer, I was.... well.... home. I had rarely experienced emotions of being cradled in the welcoming embrace of a space - but this topped the list. To find that I never previously knew of the spot - it was both disappointing and understandable all at once. As though I needed this place to exist at this exact moment in time. And now it does, and I cannot wait to visit again!



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

There Is No "We" in "ME" :)

" You'll finally learn you can't run away from your problems, but you haven't given up on escaping by donning a clever disguise and hiding in a crowded restaurant. "



'Tis a strange and amusing ongoing battle between my personalities:
Wanting to be "liked" vs. Wanting to blend seamlessly in with the wallpaper
Trying to be selfless vs. Making it all about ME
Wanting to move to Italy vs. Dreams of moving to Pluto



This morning, my first born started kindergarten. My first thoughts? How I was going to handle this. What the hell, Mama? This day is about HIM. His first steps towards miniature manhood! A thousand shades of NEW. Yet I was confident he'd be just fine - after all, he's the oldest. He's had to play the role of guinea pig for every first. First smile. First steps. First word. First bike.....First one to push Mama's buttons.



But exuding confidence in my uncoordinated midget - how on earth did I think it justified making it all about me? The answer to that lies in the past 33 or so years.... There have always been two very distinct sides of Miss Kitty - more recently, I fear those have bred or blossomed or begat...ummm...eth multiple more. I am always the first to second guess everything I do, say and/or think. I also use "I" a lot in my writing - which tends to be one of those pesky red flags of a *gasp* narcissist. I (there it is AGAIN!!! DAMNIT!) tend to turn my thoughts towards convincing myself it's simply a lack of any real writing talent or structure. Could be a pleasant mixture of the two?



This is where I jump head-first down that slip-'n-slide into the splash pools of overanalyzation. Do I have sinister motive in everything I do? If I don't gain some level of reassurance, will I spontaneously combust? I suppose it's possible - and it's almost a tempting enough curiosity to test... In an attempt to defend myself *cough* TO MYSELF - I then swim some laps in self-loathing for good measure. Almost seems there is an air of familiarity.... the unending cycle of Catholic guilt. I was never "Confirmed", so I always fancied notions that I had somehow outwitted The Vatican.



Then I have an "Ah-ha" moment. Not the band, mind you (plus it's spelled differently) - though Take On Me IS the first song in rotation each day I start my iPod over again - I tend to skip it as quickly as possible through a beet-red face and shifty looks of paranoia. Back to the moment.... It dawns on me that the intangible line between loving myself and REALLY LOVING MYSELF is an utterly foreign concept to me. Fight it as I try, I still can't help but equate even the smallest amount of confidence with an overflowing ego. As I spoke, at length, with a very dear friend of mine about - I struggle with breaking the synapse in my brain that automatically views "confidence" as a four-letter word. And I'm not talking about the "F" one as I utilize that to a degree that would give a sailor pause.



Alas, just another hiccup along this windy journey of mine. Today, of all days, it could not be less about ME. And I don't limit that to my Van's first day of kindergarten. Then again, I suppose I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I weren't viewing the world from MY perspective.... If I weren't simply being.... well.... ME.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Random Explanation for My Absence

Writer's Block.



One would think that to be sufficient cause to fall off the face of the earth for just over a month, yes? Ahhh, but what fun would that be for the gal who can't seem to "shut up" when it comes to letting my segmented and borderline hysterical ramblings dance via my fingertips across the surface of the keyboard? Plus, I've established I have a certain attachment for run-on sentences......



It really wasn't even so much that I had nothing to say - but rather a mixture of too many things to say coupled with the lack any real cohesion to express them. I have stated that I write for myself and only for myself. I often wonder if I'm simply trying to convince myself? Although I always viewed a need for reaction or criticism as my own personal demon, I'm growing to find that it's a basic inherent trait of a much larger population. Many of us long to be loved, hated, respected, ridiculed - just about anything but forgotten. All other emotional responses are STILL responses. But to be ignored, neglected or forgotten... well, we may as well cease to exist at that point.



In the same vein: "Praised" is something I am altogether uncomfortable with. I no longer feel a need to be adored by all - as I learned, over MUCH time, that it was a fleeting sort of adoration. It was an emotion borne of a bit of other's selfish need for entertainment. I could.... well.... amuse.

"What do ya mean, funny? Let me understand this cause, I don't know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how? I mean, funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh... I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?"



Does a happy medium exist in all of this? I draw the comparison between this mental battle taking place within the confines of my skull and the basic recipe for success in a work environment.... I strive to be a better person, I really do. How can I possibly understand what it is I lack or where my faults lie if no one bothers to clue me in on this? How does one grow when they can't necessarily put a finger on which way "UP" is? Similarly, if I'm continually placed on a pedestal of sorts - praised and complimented (whether out of fear of my fragility or otherwise) - have I already reached the boring pinnacle of perfection? What is the point of standing at the top with that tempered glass ceiling pressing down upon my head? Does anyone truly want to be perfect? My lord, I certainly hope not. What a horridly depressing thought to even fathom someone who actually KNOWS all there is to know!! I would sit atop that mountain with my flowy white robes billowing in the gusts of knowledge pondering "WHAT NOW?" - before briskly jumping off the cliff to my doom!



I believe deep in my soul that there is so much more out there - both on the emotional and the physical journey. Our imaginations fueled by bedazzled creativity shatter any limits or boundaries. You can't begin to imagine my disappointment when, after MONTHS of struggling to master Metroid, I found that upon passing, you simply start the game over, though this time w/out a helmet. *hangs head in disgust* Yes, I am indeed a nerd. A damn proud one! I have a lot of life left in me and an unimaginably vast number of things to learn... I hope that you, the reader, will join me on some of these Choose-Your-Own-Adventures if, for nothing more than a brief moment in time. I could use all the help (help=feedback) I can get!


D is for Disappointment?

"After years of putting up an emotional wall to keep loved ones from getting too close, you'll realize the error of your ways this Thursday and purchase three tons of brick and cement. "



Through a rather specific sequence of events, one thing became crystal clear to me: I am one person. Try as I might, I cannot clone myself, please everyone or control the universe. This realization most certainly knocked me down a peg or three. And yet the place I find myself - though further from my comfort zone in the clouds - ain't so bad.

As a naturally hypersensitive and empathetic sort of creature, I have always expended unreal levels of energy attempting to be everything to everyone. Turns out the "unreal" portion of that was the expectation I placed on myself. It is understandably a bit of an automatic reaction for those I disappoint to lash out at me or express their dissatisfaction with my lack of response - Yet there comes a time in each of our lives where self-preservation must become a priority. Where we cease the apologies and simply smile in the face of adversity.



Time will always be a treasured commodity in short supply. It's something I seemingly only now have come to the realization of. I don't always remember birthdays or even holidays of the national variety. I may neglect to return a phone call or simply ignore them for weeks at a clip. It is not that I am altogether apathetic, but rather in my own version of hibernation. The moments spent with my miniature little family are gold to me. They are not always perfect - but as a dear friend of mine so eloquently stated: "Imperfection is so easy to love". I could not possibly agree more!