My eyes, hot with the tears I’m holding back. Throat thick. Chest tight. This tiny cottage all of the sudden feels large and empty. There is no laughter-filled conversation, just the kind of silence that makes my ears ring. I recognize this emotional place as somewhere I’ve been before and I remind myself it’s easier to leave than to be left behind.
Category Archives: Life
**I was doing some cleaning here at Monkey Hill and came across this post that, until now, was previously unreleased. The draft date is June 2010.**
Geez. Read this, would’ya? Something of which I scrawled on a scrap piece of paper about a year or so ago. If you recall, I decided at the beginning of the year to pull to the side of the road of life and take a deep breath. While I don’t have much to physically show for it, this little snippet is one of many that proves my decision has had a huge impact.
Who decided that “figuring it all out” has to take a lifetime? Why do we hear of people figuring “it” out later in life? What’s wrong with making an effort to figure “it” out earlier in life, allowing for more time to enjoy being comfortable in the life we make?
Choose a purpose in life and live by it. Let’s try on the college hat…take it off…put it on the shelf. Let’s try on the career hat…take it off…put it on the shelf. Let’s try on the marriage hat…take it off…put it on the shelf. At the end of it all, you stand back and look at a bunch of hats! What’s it all for?
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve had time to reflect on a few things and this reflection led me to that scrap piece of paper. A few months ago, I wrote this in response:
I ought not be so hard on myself. Who cares that my shelf contains a multitude of hats? Ain’t that what life’s about? Trying on all types of hats, hanging on to those that feel most comfortable. To experience new things, learn new things, even suffer through things all for the sake of coming out on the other side with fresh perspectives by which to…dare I say, try on new hats! Hopefully there will come a day when I can look at my shelf of hats and be proud for having the balls to wear them in the first place. Because let’s face it, some people just don’t look that good in a hat.
I realized I was being too hard on myself when it comes to “hats”. But then it hit me: It’s the hats, or rather, life experiences that make up who we are as people. “Life is what happens while your busy making other plans.” That’s a John Lennon quote according to Google. While I think that is true, I am going to wear this particular hat for a while: “Enjoy today because you might get hit by a bus tomorrow.” And you can quote me on that.
Flashback Post – 2/16/2010
I’ve often said there is one positive side to a hurricane. It’s one of the few times when everyone works together to achieve a common goal. Whether in preparation for the storm, or post-storm clean up, people that have lived on the same street for years meet for the first time to offer assistance in hanging plywood over windows. Strangers share precious resources like ice and gasoline. There’s a collective sense of pride in the community.
I dusted off this excerpt in an attempt to transform the thoughts in my head into a coherent post about the hurricane my friends and family are facing back home. Only, my thoughts aren’t entirely about Isaac, more so; Katrina. Or rather the effects of:
- AE taking on 5 ft of water in her childhood home
- DJ and the Southern Living home wiped clean from the slab. Piano in the bayou, king sized bed across the interstate, a porcelain platter unscathed
- AH and the mold that began growing immediately rendering her daddy’s home uninhabitable
- BD and his bag of savings – and I’m not talking about money.
- DD; presumably drowned
- J the sushi chef; I’m afraid to ask
This storm that is Isaac will by no means be a catastrophe. The real catastrophe lies in the fact that this storm is making landfall on the anniversary of Katrina. A quick internet search on the current status of the situation returned this editorial from nola.com (the website for the newspaper in New Orleans)*:
…despite that relative weakness, Isaac’s forecasted landfall during a week (of which) we’ll be raw with Katrina memories was another emotional wallop we would have preferred to live without.
I live in a part of the country where the mention of Hurricane Katrina conjures up images of people standing on rooftops waving for help while Help was playing golf. And while that image represents a large part of the story that is Hurricane Katrina, it’s not the whole story. To me Katrina represents something very personal. Not because of my own personal story (One week without power and a few downed tree limbs ain’t a big deal) but for the people mentioned above whose lives changed forever because of Her. To me these people represent the power of the human spirit. The understanding that we have to mourn our losses. The fortitude, that is courage in the face of adversity, to move on. And the pride to do it all the better the next time around.
While it’s not fair Mother Nature chose THIS anniversary week to deliver another hurricane, I am certain the people mentioned above are sitting back and saying, “Heh…80mph winds. Is that ALL you’ve got?”
Like books, our lives, (or at least MY life) has chapters. And here I am, closing one chapter of my life and starting a new one.
For those of you that have followed this blog, you know that my, what I deemed sabbatical, began 9 months ago almost to the day. (Go ahead, click here and stroll down memory lane) I pulled my car to the side of the proverbial road of life and I took a break. As much as I would like to say I took the last 9 months doing something productive, like, learning a new language or, gestating a child, I did not. I partied. And I partied my ASS off! And if I wasn’t partying, I was recovering from said party by staring blankly out the window. What a waste!, one might think. And admittedly I thought that from time to time myself. If in January I knew I would have been going back to work in October, I may have traveled. Or taken a class. Or I would have done…something. I should have, could have, would have. Bleh! Hindsight and the whole 20/20 thing. We all know it’ll make you crazy.
But you know what…my life in 2010 has been at the complete opposite end of the spectrum of what it was in 2009. I decided a few months ago, as I was fending off the veil of depression that was looming, that I would hold my head high, and be proud of the fact that I worked hard to afford myself the luxury, productive or not, of a 9 month hiatus. SO “F*ck responsibility”, is what I said and partied on.
OK, time to be honest. I had visions of a dramatic “chapter closing” blog entry but now that I’m sitting here, it feels forced. Me being physically where I am right now is a BIG deal for me. HUGE. I have shared this sentiment with a few already, but this is the perfect end to a, ummm, to a very…pivotal (?) no, that’s not it. To a very…what’s the word? *sigh*. I would have been fine landing a decent job at home. But don’t you see? The fact that I threw a bunch of stuff in my car and headed North is just the the type of ‘Syonara’ I fantasized about offering to said chapter of my life. The Finger if you will. Yet I remain humble. It’s weird. I am well aware that this opportunity presented itself to me because I was in the right place at the right time. So now it’s in my hands to make this opportunity work for me. It really is that simple. (Duly noted because I am sure I’ll have to reference this post as a reminder of that fact.)
[I am not getting my point across…time to wrap it up.]
There’s a line in Shawshank Redemption that played itself over and over in my head during my drive here today. “I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head.” Nothing rings more true. I am so, so, SO, excited about this next chapter I can barely contain myself. I only hope I can open my eyes wide enough to take it all in.
…and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a noise?
photo credit: VE c/o AE
Do y’all remember when this poster hit the mainstream? That everything we need to know about living life and what to do and how to be was taught to us in kindergarten? Some of us had what Oprah refers to as that “A-ha! moment”. It was simple and it made sense.
Speaking of simple pieces of advice that make sense, I share with you today two gems that I learned from two different gay men. It is necessary that I make the distinction that these two men are gay, only because I can’t think of many straight men that would offer up the following advice.
The first was with regards to fashion. You see, I have this awesome pair of knee high boots that I positively love to wear. Only, I am not sure what to wear them with, other than a skirt. When the skinny jean phenomenon presented itself , I considered the idea, but only for a nano second. I reminded myself that I am blessed with big, shapely calves and there would be no way I could stuff both my legs and a pair of jeans into these boots. (Besides the fact that I am not a skinny jeans kinda gal.)
So I asked my friend, J Noveau for his fashion advice. You know what he said? “Girl, it doesn’t matter what you wear as long as you own it,” as he offered up his best gay pose. (If you know J Noveau, you know the exact pose of which I speak — diva finger, hip slightly forward and to the right) He was larger than life! Confident! And his statement was spot on. “A-ha!” I thought.
The second and most helpful piece of advice came from my friend DZ. DZ and I don’t talk often but when we do, it always proves to be very poignant. This night would be no different. I found myself in a hot mess over, you guessed it, a boy, one weekend night. DZ brought over banana bread (like any good gay friend would) and the wherewithal to solve my latest crisis. Now I know, this is a silly analogy (or would this be a simile?), but this is my playground and it’s exactly how it felt so bear with me. It was as if all of my thoughts and emotions flew out of me like a deck of playing cards. Like the game 52 card pick up, they swirled around the room for a bit and finally came to a rest. Scattered haphazardly on the kitchen floor, he stood and watched as I aimlessly kicked them all about. He slowly bent down and picked up one single card, looked me in the eye and posed this question, “Does it really matter?”
“Ho-ly Shit.” He was so right! It really didn’t matter. And just like that, I felt better. Now I realize this moment is probably very anti-climatic for most, but it hit home with me. There once was a time when I was pretty good about keeping things in perspective. But lately my insecurities have gotten the best of me (hence the fashion advice above). It really is as simple as asking, “Does it really matter?” Things, don’t have to be so complicated. Anything really…boys, work, family, friends, life…whatever.
So I share these two morsels with you dear reader: If you find yourself over-complicating things, slow down, untangle the mess and simplify. And if you decide to don your skinny jeans, just own them and you’re sure to look fabulous!
I am naive. No, really I am. Especially when it comes to swimming in shark infested waters. I’ve heard about the precautions you should take, but I guess I’ve had the same mentality of those people that say, “Oh it’ll never happen to me. I’m careful.” Bleh.
I don’t even know how it came up. I wish I could because anytime you’re witness to a bomb dropping, chances are, you are experiencing something that raises your eyebrows. One of those moments like “where were you when you heard…?”
But I’m not mad because the funny thing is, while I’ve been on this sabbatical, life has happened to a lot of people. And while I’ve been having the time of my life, there are some things, heartbreaking things, that are happening to people and they don’t even realize it. Right now, they probably don’t see the light at the end of tunnel. It’s real bad, and everyday when the alarm clock goes off, they reluctantly peek out from under their bedsheets in the hopes that it was all a bad dream. And when they shake the cobwebs from their brain and realize it’s all a reality, they take a deep breath and say, “I’ve only got 15 more hours until I don’t have to think about it anymore.”
It makes me incredibly sad in a helpless sort of way. Where you wish you could put your arm around the person’s shoulder, take them to the crystal ball and show them that everything will be OK. But I can’t. So I sit back and try to find solace by telling myself that life’s lessons are best learned the hard way. Hell, that’s how I learned, and look at ‘ol girl now! Ahhh-yah-yahhh.
Like Steve Tyler said, “So I’m sayin’ a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight.”