September 26, 2012
Mid-Still, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 39
Did you ever get the feeling you were missing something major?
I made a pretty perfect plan for myself on the way home from Dublin.
It went something a little specifically like this:
Upon arriving at my apartment I would snack, shower, and sleep until I awoke.
Then, on Wednesday, I would get groceries and maybe do laundry.
I slept from 7:00 PM Tuesday evening until 4:30 AM on Wednesday morning. Stumbled around a bit, took some motrin, ate an apple and went back to bed. Please note, I specifically and proudly use the word bed because that is where I lay. Bed sleeping became a renewed habit in Ireland, because there really wasn’t any other choice. There weren’t any recliners available in my friends’ homes or in the hotels I stayed at.
Around 11:45 AM, I awoke again. I started laundry due to the future necessity of undergarments. I checked my phone, responded to a text with a bit of alarming news, and showered. Not because I need one, but because I could. Showers are a little more complicated in Ireland. On my way to Costco, I had a momentary panic that there was something I was supposed to be doing today. I checked my phone calendar to be sure I wasn’t missing any appointments. I wasn’t.
So,I kept to my plan. Groceries put away, turkey loin in the oven, I decided a nap was in order. I have just achieved some warm kitty snuggling when it hit me.
“Oh,” I thought, “it’s Tuesday, I have to get a newsletter done!”
Lucky for me I have a few week’s worth of ideas and topics I’d already been working on. Unlucky for me, when I turned on the computer, I realized it wasn’t Tuesday. It was Wednesday... afternoon.
I used to email the newsletter on Wednesdays. I don’t remember when I switched sending them on Tuesday nights, but I’m sure it was a resolution to a scheduling issue so I wouldn’t miss one. Seeing as I haven’t missed a Midweek Encouragement Newsletter in the five years since it began, I am incredibly pleased that I can say, technically, it is still Wednesday and therefore this newsletter still falls within the range of midweek.
This particular newsletter is certain to fall a bit short by being neither fascinating or encouraging, but I am thinking of you and of me and of my one-year commitment that never ended. Having come across time-zones, and still a bit fuzzy, I thank you for your patience today. I also want thank you for your responses over the years. What started as a way to encourage others to see the more positive side of life has turned itself around. Your kind words, argumentative thoughts, and the fact that you haven’t unsubscribed during my most difficult times, have become the midweek encouragement I have needed to keep going.
Oh, and by the way, Ireland was, as my Irish friends would say, “Gooorrgee-ous."
September 16, 2012
Holes, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 38
I’ve conquered a lot lately, in private, which may have been the hardest part.
I’m sure it seems you know pretty much everything that comes across my mind or into my life. But these carefully crafted once weekly outpourings are only the best of things, even when writing about the worst of things. They barely touch the surface of the holes I am trying to fill.
I’m not sure when I started thinking of holes as the problem, but I no longer feel that way. The problem isn’t the holes. It’s finding their purpose, and figuring out how to use them. Holes in our lives are there to give us the opportunity to fill them.
Time won’t fill holes – time flies and experience tells me I’ll never catch it. Actively searching for new self-definitions - trying to fill the vacancies - has been exhausting. I thought all I had to do was climb out. The view from the top has been enlightening, but still frustrating. There’s a temptation to throw myself back in just to take a break from the continuous who, what, where, when, why, how searching.
There are things I haven’t shared with my grief therapist because they’re not related to the past or grief. They’re related to recent and now and I haven’t quite sorted all that out, yet. I continue, however, to be well stocked with notebooks, and fast writing pens.
So, yeah, I’ve got issues. I’ve also got a plane ticket to Dublin and another festival to work and enjoy.
September 11, 2012
Short, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 37
For the first time since I've been seeing her, going on five years, my hair stylist and I had a miscommunication. It was a rather large one, too.
My hair grows slowly; very slowly. So slowly that a haircut usually makes it for at least six weeks, sometimes even eight weeks. For some reason, my hair took to growing at a faster rate this summer, and at only week four, I realized it was getting shaggy and top heavy. I made an emergency trim appointment. So, on a Monday night at 6:30 PM, after a fabulous sushi dinner with my brother, I headed to the salon.
“Wow,” my stylist commented, “your hair grew fast! What are we doing with it tonight?”
“The same,” I said, “only shorter.” A shampoo and deep condition later, the snipping started.
Having just taken a cutting class with Nick Arojo, who was shorter than she thought he would be, she told me about the techniques he had taught. She has used every one since she returned from Chicago just a week ago. A short time later, I viewed the style head-on and thought it looked great, a little short than usual, but great.
It wasn’t until I was sitting at a stop light in Jackson that I got a good glimpse at the other parts of my head. I checked out one side and then because I was sure that the reflection of the setting sun behind me was skewing my vision, I checked out the other side. Running my fingers over my head, I realized there was no atmospheric distortion, and my hair was very, very short. I ran my palm down the backside and re-realized, my hair was very, very short. Sheared, might describe it best. Like a sheep, I guess.
I had to make it home before dark. It was too late to go back, and I convinced myself that it just felt shorter than it was. As soon as I walked in the door, I hit the glaring bulb starkly honest bathroom mirror and inspected the suspected damage.
The color, or lack thereof, was a little bit of a shock. I have thin hair anyway, so the close crop meant my scalp was visible and that there wasn’t any artificial color left on the sides or back. That left them a light caramel shade of pale brown with sparklies. By now you should all know how I feel about sparklies, but just in case there is any doubt: I don’t like them. Miss Clairol and I are tight and will probably always be. I never had any intention of rediscovering my true roots, natural hair color. And although, grey is my favorite color, I'd rather not see it in my hair. The top is still rich chocolate with crowning vanilla slices. Sadly, the sides are rain watered mud puddle with silver tone leopard patches that appear translucent in the wrong light. Suddenly, there’s plenty of wrong light.
Truly, she did what I asked her to. She cut my hair the same way she always has, and then… she cut it shorter. I had a flashback to the last truly awful hair cut I had back in the 80's. My brother asked, “You didn’t pay for that did you?” My mother said, “It will grow out.” My father offered, “There’s always scarves...” Today’s mixed reaction were almost fun. I got a few surprised, “Oh! You've had a haircut!”s and a few “you look very nice.” I’m guessing the latter were distracted by the emergency make-up purchases I made last night and the bright puce and pink paisley shirt I chose to camouflage myself in this morning.
I still feel my chubby cheeks are too round, my ears are too awkward, and my scalp is too glaringly shiny for this cut. Other than that, it’s really fine. I still love my stylist. I'll just make sure we communicate a little better next time.
On the brighter side, it won’t blow around or droop much in the lovely, misty, Irish September winds.
September 03, 2012
Odds Life, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 36
So, if you want to see a movie that will make you cry within the first five minutes, try The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
I socialized this weekend. If you count non-talking time in a theatre and non-talking time while dining on Chinese lemon chicken with one friend and one stranger as socializing, that is. LOL. The point is, I received an invitation and I accepted it.
Sadly, I see people - all the time, everywhere. I see people that I am not. People I don’t want to be. Shopping alone or dining alone or taking in an inexpensive afternoon matinee. I look at them and think - I can’t let that happen. That can never be me. But an hour of restrained snuffling and flat out crying makes a bathroom visit necessary before I can show my eyes in the real light of the day. I wash my hands, and avoid looking up. I don’t want to see the damage. Curiosity overrules. I stare at my solid shirt now covered in tear-dot pattern, and sigh. If I hadn’t been embarrassed to keep swiping at my eyes, I wouldn’t have let the tears run down my cheeks and spot me up. I glance up in purposeful and cursory way. It really shouldn’t matter how I look anyway, but I'm sure I'll see that some matte finish, shine eliminating powder is in order.
There in the mirror, I see: someone I don’t want to be. Well past the age where some of my longest held dreams will come true, I no longer even imagine compromises I was willing to make, because it’s too late for them now, as well. So, what does that leave? A bit of embarrassing desperation that even I am uncomfortable with. “It’s not meant to be” is almost as bad as “It is what it is”. The fear of being alone is not greater than or less than, but solidly equal to the fear of inevitable heartache. Why is our fondest desire to love and be loved when we know we will be hurt and that we will eventually hurt others. Someone has to be left behind.
There is no connection without separation. It’s hard to not consider that; it is so much easier to live in the moment. But living in the moment shows disregard, doesn’t it? The Bible’s message is love: love each other, love GOD, love the gift of life. Two out of three ain’t bad doesn’t apply here. It isn’t exactly all or nothing in the trinity trifecta, but if you miss one part, you miss completion. My shirt is stained in mostly rows, a bit random but flowing from the same source and following the same route. It’s still green, but for the time being, the well absorbed drips murmur different hues. Their variance draws a question, assuming I am not monotone, and the odds are very good in this:
If I threw my life up against the wall, would it be a rainbow splash or a muted wash: an explosion and drip, or precisely individual splatters? And which would I prefer?