2011, A Reflection Of Seven

I saw an angel come down unto me

In her hand she holds the very key

Words of compassion,

Words of peace

And in the distance, an army’s marching feet

But behold: we will watch them fall.

***

A year-in-review is practically a duty. Many recollections begin with the conclusion. ‘This year was bittersweet’, or, ‘this was one of the best years, yet’. For those who have trouble finding the form there is an outline that floats around from blog to blog: Did anyone close to you die this year? What did you do, for the first time in 2000-whatever?

For me, personally, 2011 sorta stood out there, among the clump of years it resides beside. And yes, I’m playing that down. The difference with this one, warranting it a particular bookmark, is that it took me off the course I was on and put me on another one. It wasn’t so much that the determining factors were new because I dealt with the same elements that have been in my life forever… but this time, they appeared in such a way that demanded I deal with them.

Duties in the new year insist you don’t look back and allow you, even with only a matter of hours left, to address those things you are leaving behind before following through. Speak now or forever… there is that word, again. To prepare for the concept of compartmentalized time (past that does not equal future) I archived my entries from the point where I left off, seven years ago.

Seeing my life laid out before me in simple, accessible pieces, the patterns and contents became very clear to me.

Seven is not a curse. It is a number, it is everywhere, and it is precisely what you make of it. Never again will I feed the appearance of a number with the association of damnation. I am going to change that habit and I will see that it becomes what it was always meant to be – a reward for having survived it.

Something happened to me when I was a teenager that left me confused and confined. There was a pain and a promise that I carried with me into my adult life and it found ways to influence the choices I made. I can see it woven into the days I was living, intertwined with the people who love and care about me – that is incredible but very scary. No amount of passion or intelligent thought (conflicting as those two become) can fix an issue you have buried… but that is what I tried to do with a few mounds of dirt.

Trying, even without trying, to silently convey something over and over again in the story that is your life. What are the lyrics? How many sharps or flats does it have? This has become my passion. I go looking for it, in other people’s eyes, so that I can take their hand and sing it back.

Have you ever loved someone and watched that person die? Do you ever see her, do you ever see him, in your dreams? Does the corpse ever rise from the earth, dancing before your eyes? Suppose you were so lucky, and you were standing in that graveyard in front of the impossible. You tell me; what have I done?

What would you do?

Year-In-Review.

Then there was the court date. A terrible job experience. I bailed my brother out of jail. I got more literal for the first time ever about the details of my manic relationship with a man (who I had only known online) because I could not go back to the way things were when all of the cryptic words belonged to him.

That man had a name, a secret life, and he had me. He knew this. He knew what it all meant. And he did things with all three that we will disagree about across boundaries. His decisions became his life, without me. My decision was to willingly be in the same dark realm and stay emotionally brave about it. Just letting it go with the usual anger and frustration before shrugging it off as The Big Unknown was always my worst move; I needed to face what was really happening in our separate lives. My belief system depended on it.

I am so sorry for any of the facts that I got wrong, even more sorry for those that I got right, and I can only hope that you try to understand how that was someone who was taken to heart many years ago, where I keep people forever.

To everyone involved, to the people who find these old words, to us, I dedicate a very special new year.

We will see a plague and river of blood

And every evil soul will surely die in spite of

Their 7 tears, but do not fear

For in the distance, twelve souls from now,

You and me will still be here –

We will still be here.

Advertisements

It’s A Wonderful Life, Still


Corby, my good kitty.

For the first time since Grandpa’s death, my aunt and grandmother picked apples from the orchard and gave a bushel to my mother. They were baked into our Christmas pies and turned out to be amazing. How I miss, miss, miss that man. It was so touching to know that my family was able to carry on an aspect of his legend.

Mom made a simple but delicious honey butter for the rolls that had me filling up on bread. She spent all of this time on cranberry something-or-other, homemade stuffing and all that, and I was like, “Chris pass me the rolls!” about five times during dinner.

Dutbutt (The Duchess) and Gigi were presented with various toys that rolled and squeaked, which drove them nuts with excitement.

My Christmas loot was shocking, as I hadn’t anticipated being treated like ‘one of the kids’ this year. I got a bag filled with comfort clothes: those ultra-fuzzy pajama pants that feel like fluffed fleece, silky fuzzy socks, a scarf laced with silver that ranges from grey to black and a wonderfully, ridiculously Russian faux-fur hat with ear flaps.

It’s a newer tradition, to get me a big fuzzy hat every year. I wear them indoors a lot, for my own happiness, and it makes others laugh in the process. When I lifted it out from the box Gigi saw it as an attractive stuffed animal intended for her and she tried to take it from me.

Another present, perhaps worthy of the eye-roll, was an imported Tamagotchi from Japan. Remember those little egg-shaped toys that had a virtual pet on the screen? You had to feed it, play with it and clean its shit or it would die? Well, Japan never overcame the craze and now they make fancy ones with color displays. I got the special ‘PinkxGold Tamagotchi iD’ and have been carrying it around with me, taking care of it.

There was a time when my parents were in rocky territory and Dad’s mom insisted that a ‘fancy bottle of perfume’ would make everything okay. Being a senior citizen of different times, she naturally recommended an older lady scent: White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor. Ever since then, when special occasions arise, Dad has presented us with that perfume because no one has the heart to correct the situation by coming forward and admitting that White Diamonds is, simply, awful.

I shot my mother a knowing glance and thanked Dad for the scented lotion. Then I turned around and re-gifted it to my boyfriend’s mother – it might actually mask the smell of her cigarettes! Mom made sure to slip Britney’s new bottles, Elizabeth Arden scents, into my pile of goodies. She knows I like the good stuff.

Speaking of good stuff, there is a new bakery in Owosso that is negotiating for recipes from a business that called it quits years ago. It seems that many gems from White’s Bakery are coming back to this new place, including my family’s favorite. The extinction of ‘The Triangle’ was always such a shame in my father’s eyes; I’m so glad to hear the news of something classic being resurrected in time for Dad to experience again.

I have to admit: it was the sort of feel-good harvest that made me want to curl up in my family’s home, holding on to all of my toys in a greedy clasping hug and just smile, forever.

Exchanges

Everyone should be getting their Christmas cards any day, now. I provided a different little rant for each one of them so as not to be another folded piece of paper. Enjoy my ranting and crooked, penned lines!

I’LL BE ON WATCH             sh!t, hit caps lock. I’ll be on watch until midnight, tonight.

At my last job, a woman with cereal, pancake mix, milk and bottled water handed over her gift card (which had an $80 balance) when I asked to see proof of purchase. She explained that the receipt must have been placed in one of her re-usable bags and then bolted out the door with her cart. I watched on the camera as she was almost struck by a black SUV; that was how badly she needed to get away with stealing food.

I spent some time rotating that card through my fingers, considering the true story she must have to tell.

One thing I like about my new company is that we don’t sell anything you need to live, like groceries. That way I don’t have to feel bad for detaining anyone or releasing them to the police. I can concentrate solely on keeping everyone safe and secure.

I’m making money, I have more friends now than I did this time, last year and I’m actually writing, again. More parts of me are actively functioning than ever before.

In the end, you just have to follow your heart.

Spirits Come and Spirits Go: If You Could Change One Thing

I wrote this after reading about a troubled boy who compulsively draws Ouija boards and hears voices he says are external. It made me think of the troubles in my own family.

To put my writing in the proper time line, this is regarding events that occurred previously, before my brother's car accident. I believe that both his mental state has been been lived as a journey – and I often wish I could have gone with him to lessen the pain.

                                                                                  ***

It is possible to let your unsupervised darkness get the best of you. Morbid, festering thoughts kept to yourself can multiply and take on a life of their own. Notions develop, black turns to red – it can overshadow the reality of the lives we lead. And God help you if you were struggling to fit in to begin with – because the will to fight isn’t there. You crave the difference, you answer the calling, and one night… you just disappear.

The elements in my home were just right, for that. I don’t blame anyone for it. My parents kept a certain distance from each other and just as well, a distance from us. Everyone was often left to a place of their own making. Being who I am, it worked for me. Yes, there were traumas and unwanted elements growing up to possibly make me that way but I wasn’t consciously suffering from it at an early age.

What I wish I could have been doing, with a knowledge I couldn’t possess, was tend to my little brother as we grew up. His private life was different. He had reacted to things in a way that I didn’t know to worry about until much later.

Sometimes I get asked the impossible question of What Would You, If You Could. If I could do anything I would go back with the knowledge that I have now and treat him better. I would pay more attention and not just roll my eyes because he was A Boy.

It wasn’t until I came home from college that I saw he was blinking in and out. The divine maze of his mind was more real to him than the basics of showering or brushing his hair. There was a deeply rooted anger inside of him that I either skipped or successfully denied. It was as if he had a part of himself scattered to every end of the earth.

We tried to deal with it. I have vivid memories of painting over the writing on his bedroom walls, hearing my voice echo in the empty room as I sang along to the stereo. By covering everything up, I was trying to mend what was wrong, like I could just "deactivate" the portal of his room…

But I missed him getting to that point.

He’d already gone through.

Comparisons

Often when I’m cleaning or moseying about the house I cue up a ‘busy’ atmosphere to keep me buzzing around. My choice is almost always the radio or a CD but for some reason, maybe for the sake of connectivity, I turned on the television.

My initial idea was to quickly settle on a channel that I could turn up and walk away from. It turned out to be impossible; I even sat down for a moment to surf through a few more times before being absolutely sure that DAYTIME TV IS GARBAGE.

Some chick re-designed the small bedroom of two teenage sisters. The ‘before’ scene was a single bed, lots of Justin Beiber pin-ups on the light blue wall, mismatching furniture, cluttered surfaces blah blah blah. What did that designer do with it?

Step one was to paint the walls aqua blue, thus making the room feel even smaller. Then she went to Ikea for a bunch of white, wood-composite A.K.A Glue and Sawdust furniture that was way too big for the room. The two twin beds had giant, clunky head and foot boards – why did she pick these? Because, when you pulled some damn drawer out sideways it revealed a tiered shelving unit for everyone who likes to slide shit three feet deep into their bed frames.

A few of the Justin Beiber pin-ups went back on to the wall, accented with fluorescent orange frames. Yes, aqua blue and bright orange. Throw in a cheap ass desk that butts right up to the beds and this bitch was happy with herself.

The lack of design and the bad design. I don't recommend either one.

Court TV is session after session of trashy people who use each other. Game shows are random distributions of crap. People hosting talk shows and news broadcasts seem blissfully and stupidly drunk as if wine and medications are they only way to get through it.

And the saddest, scariest thing of all is how it reflects the world around me.

Maybe it doesn't really matter, which I watch.

The Holidays

“The world is always changing. Every day it’s changing. Everything in life is changing. We have to look inside ourselves to find what stays the same, such as loyalty, our shared history and love for each other. In them, the truth of the past lives on.” – Lisa See

Happy Holidays, everyone.

2011 Christmas Card Exchange is now closed. Thank you!

It’s Beginning To

I came home from work last night to find that Brad had rented the final Harry Potter flick, picked up a few bundles of firewood and stocked the fridge with drinks. As if that didn’t make an awesome-enough night, the next morning I noticed that he put his Christmas shirt on.

“It’s clean,” he reasoned, before disappearing into the kitchen. Eventually I realized that the stereo system wasn’t just playing music for the sake of chores; it was playing Christmas music. And I could smell french toast.

I smiled and hopped out of bed.

This entry is written as I sit beside a fully decorated tree. Everyone is asleep but me and the cat.

We’re just going to sit here for a spell.