acting it out

the art of learning to live

Thank you for remembering

I knew she would be remembered.

How can you not remember someone who is so full of joy & life?

I knew she would be remembered, because I am here. & my brother is here.

We will carry her with us forever.

I knew she would be remembered, but I still find myself overwhelmed with it.

The love & support that is pouring out, not just from family & friends who are family, but from neighbors, car pool buddies, distance acquaintances, long lost peers, casual encounters, & those who met her, albeit briefly, while on their own life journey.

Even they remember.

If only but a fading memory, a subconscious thought triggered by a sound, a smell, a song.

She will be remembered.
She will continue to love & live in that special way she always did.

So, thank you.
Thank you friends.
Thank you strangers.

It is an honor to experience your words, your thoughts, your prayers & your memories.

Thank you for remembering her with me.

For My Mother

Every time I look in the mirror, I will think of you. I will see the nose I once hated & I will smile because it is your nose.
Every time I dance, I will think of you. I will hear you singing along & I will laugh because you never could carry a tune.
Every time I’m sick, I will think of you. I will feel your hand on my head & I will feel better because I know chicken soup really is good for the body & soul.
Every time I cook, I will think of you. I will smell the memories of meals past & I will toast to you because you finally did master Julia Child’s coq au vin.
Every time I feel discouraged, I will think of you. I will remember your words & I will carry on because I know I have your strength inside of me.
Every time I am happy, I will think of you. I will live my life to the fullest & follow my dreams because you taught me how to embrace myself & be my own person.
Every time I think of you, I will love you even more.
I will be thankful because you gave me life, but you also gave me so much more.

I love you for forever.

I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart

Stuck

I’m between the ghouls and the monster

Fear.
It makes you stick,
stick in one place.
It makes you
Stuck.

& that’s what I am

Stuck
By
Fear

I’m afraid to mourn a mother who is not yet (physically) gone.

I’m afraid to live
I’m afraid to love
I’m afraid to learn from my mistakes
because I feel I have already made enough.

That’s another word I identify with my current state,
enough.

However, I do not use it as an adjective to describe myself,
no, that would be too kind.
& kindness can not be afford to those who need
tough love?

enough
I’ve had it.

I’ve had enough pain.
I’ve had enough anger.
I’ve had enough doubt.

I’ve cried enough tears.
Haven’t I?

I imagine there’s a collection of all the salt water I release
at night in my bed,
or in my shower,
or in my car, in broad daylight, at a stop sign, while an old Chinese lady stares at me.

There’s just jars & jars of it, sitting on a shelf somewhere.
They are labeled with my name & someone is sorting through them,
with the tiniest pasture pipette,
counting out each droplet,
seeing if it has reached the magic number,
seeing if it’s
enough.

But it isn’t.

So, the universe rears back its fist to have another go.

But I have had enough.

“unloved”

power is being told you are not loved, and not being destroyed by it

I saw this quote the other day from the material girl herself, Madonna.

& it struck me.
hard.

I’ve opened up a lot on here about
my mum, my family,
my feelings in broad generic strokes.

But this is the hardest thing to write about for me.

my love
my heartache
my biggest insecurity.

not being loved

In a previous chapter of my life, I was working as a nanny.
I used to take “my” little boy to the playground to hang out with some of his friends from school. One day, it was just me & another woman, with her three kids. I had met her a couple of times before & she soon opened up to me about her personal life.

I will never forget this conversation & the impact it has had on me.

She told me her husband came home one day & told her she was not the love of his life. That simple, like he had forgotten to pick up the milk at the grocery store. She was not the love of his life, and he needed to go out & find the person who was the love of his life. He asked for a divorce, and she couldn’t do/say anything to change his mind.

I couldn’t imagine being told that.
I couldn’t imagine hearing those words.

But then I did.

I still remember it clear as day.

I’m not in love with you.

& I remember thinking back to that woman & hearing her voice & watching her fighting back tears while she kept her eyes on his children playing ten feet away.

I remember being sorry for her.
I remember pitying her.

But I should have been proud of her.
Because she was strong!
She had power!

I was weak.
I broke.
I let it destroy me.
I let it consume me.
I let it tear my life apart.

it made me wonder if there was something wrong with me.
I had done everything right. I had fit myself so perfectly into his life.
I had worked so hard on making sure his needs & wants were fulfilled.
How had I let myself fall in love without asking for or even expecting love in return?

It made me closed off.
It made my cynical.
It made me so insecure that I felt like I would never have love in my life again.
It made me afraid to even try.

Now, years later, I’ve realized why he couldn’t love me.

It wasn’t because I was unlovable.

It was because I had been raised in a society that taught me
that I needed to act & look a certain way in order to be attractive.
in order to have value as a woman.
that my worth came from a relationship status,
or from a number above a box on an online network profile.

I’ve realized that he didn’t love me
not because I wasn’t properly meeting society’s standards.
not because I wasn’t trying hard enough.
not because I was simply,
unlovable.

But because
I didn’t love myself.

Now in my early 20s, when a lot of my friends are getting married & having children, I am happy hanging out with my cat, watching bad sci fi movies.
& I find my past self comical.
That silly girl trying so hard to make a man boy love her.

I’m glad he didn’t love me.
Because then I would have spent even more time being someone I’m not.

Now, I get to be me.
& I love myself.
Like really, I think I could spend the rest of my life with me.

Could you?

faith. take two.

my faithlessness
is causing me to verge on hopelessness.

my life seems to be so full of ups & downs,
it feels like a roller coaster.

actually,
maybe it’s more like the giant wave pool at water parks.

do you remember those?

a giant cement square,
filled with water & probably a hundred people.
It was built as a gradual slope,
with a deep end, and then a shallow end that turned into a “shore”.

I remember all the people crammed in this thing,
floating on inner tubes,
laughing, swimming & splashing around.
Then they would sound the horn
that signified the oncoming “waves”.
People would scramble to their flotation devices, or some even headed for the “shoreline” to escape the waves.

I was always the kid who braved the deep end during the “storm”.
I stayed out there treading water,
pretending to be a mermaid stuck in a hurricane
or a pirate caught in a shipwreck.

I’ve lost that little girl,
void of fear & full of such life.

now I’m trapped in the deep end of the wave pool,
struggling to get above water,
trying desperately to push through the crowd to get to the land.

I remember when I was a kid, when/if I had a moment of insecurity in that wave pool,
I knew in my mind that if it did become too much, that I could always grab on to a friends inner tube.

I am so grateful to have that safety net, symbolically, in my life today.

this is what I will have hope in.
this is who I will have faith in.
this is what will allow me to survive these harsh waters.
& this is what will eventually bring back that
brave little girl.

so thank you to
my dear
my wonderful
my patient
my understanding
my kind
my generous
my funny
my talented
my thoughtful
my unselfish friends,
who are my true family.

Without whom I would surely drown.

faith.

Complete trust or confidence
in someone or something.

I once had so much of it.

But now, at a time in my life when I need it the most,
I find myself left
wanting.

I find myself wanting
more of
it

this invisible force that gives people such hope & clarity in dire situations.

faith
the magic word
which some people use with such sincerity
that it causes jealousy in my now cynical & questioning heart.

I use to have such faith in
God
“destiny”
the people in my life
people in general

But most importantly,
I use to have such faith in
myself.

Where did it go?
How did I lose it?

& how can I get it back?

I find myself struggling to
answer these questions.

Now I grasp for
hope
hope that I can find
faith

faith
that I will be able to
answer these questions

that I can find
my faith
in anything
again.

But mostly importantly
that I can find faith in
myself.

my first kiss

who wants to play spin the bottle?

I was 13 when I had my first kiss.
I didn’t know that there were “rules”,
so I kept my eyes open.

I wanted to see.
I wanted to remember as many details as possible.

It’s who I was. who I am.

But the other kids teased me.

They laughed & told me
I was doing it wrong.

& I closed my eyes for my second kiss.

From then on I started
“closing my eyes” for a lot of things.
But always for the same reason.
Because it’s what everyone else did.
Because I desperately needed that validation from my peers.

As I grew up, I could feel a heaviness on my soul;
Far greater than anything someone so young should know
or even recognize.

There were times,
I would peak out from behind my closed eyes at the world I was living in.
Those moments were beautiful,
when I would forget about the words those kids had said to me
when I would forget about trying to fit in
when I would forget who I was trying to be
& just be
me.

But then

Someone would laugh at me & tell me
I was doing it wrong.

& I would close my eyes again.

I spent so many years of my life like this.
I missed out
on so much of my life
because I was more focus on
living the life others thought I should
rather than
living my life.

I spent so many years of my life
trying to fit into whatever mold was handed to me.
I was a human chameleon.
I tried to become whatever I was expected to be by those around me.
I played so many parts in my short life:

the cheerleader
the church goer
the good girl
the college student
the dumb blonde
the party girl
the future mrs. first love?
the college drop out
the re formed party girl
the saved from sin
the future mrs. second love?
the two dimensional member of society

satisfied
satisfied
satisfied

but then
I opened my eyes,
wide.

I laughed at myself & realized
I was doing it wrong.

& I kept my eyes open.

It’s been a few years now
& I still struggle, at times, to keep my eyes open:
to keep staring, wide eyed, at the road ahead.

so, forgive me if I don’t
live my life
the way you think I should.

Forgive me if you think
I’m doing it wrong.

But I’m not.
I’m living
my life.

I’m living it
to the best of my ability.

& I’m seeing.
& I’m remembering as many details as possible.

hiraeth

a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past

The ground is changing beneath me every where I step.

The floors have literally been ripped out of my childhood home.

I’ve always been a person who faces change with difficulty.
It’s one of my greatest personal frustrations.

& the last 6 months of my life has been nothing short of a perpetual spiral of change,
with me grasping for any shred of normalcy or the familiar.

today, I spent 15 minutes just trying to help my mum get out of the bath tub.

as I stood there inside the bathtub with my jeans rolled up to my knees,
I thought

This woman who was like Wonder Woman to me growing up
This woman who was “the man” & “the woman” of the house
This woman who fixed cars, mowed lawns, installed garbage disposals,
& built furniture

she can’t even stand up on her own
she needs assistance doing simple things I take for granted every day.

& she is fucking beautiful.

& even without the ability to pick herself up
she is the strongest person I have ever met.

God, I wish I could be half as strong as this woman.

but I’m not.
Not yet.

I picked her up & I sat her down
& I walked into the hallway straight into the arms of my giant little brother
& I cried.

I cried because I know I’m not that strong.
I cried because I’m worried I will never be that strong.

I cried because I miss my family.
I miss what we use to be.
I miss what we could be.
I miss what we will never be.

am I ok?

are you ok?

my dad asked me this today on the phone. It made me think about how often people have asked me that exact question (or variations of) in the last few months.

These are some examples of those questions
& how I have answered them, almost every time:

are you ok?
yes
how are you doing?
fine.
how are you holding up?
fine.
do you need anything?
nope.

& these are the honest answers to those questions:

are you ok?
I am ok.

just ok.
I’m not particularly good,
but I’m not bad either.
I am ok.
& that’s ok.

how are you doing?
I am doing.

I am trying.
I am learning.
I am growing.
I am creating.
I am living.
I am doing.

how are you holding up?
I am getting up.

Sometimes I’m falling down.
Sometimes I’m breaking down.

But I get up.
I move forward.
& even if it seems like I’m
taking 2 steps forward
& 1 step back,
I continue to take those steps forward.
& soon it will only be forward.

do you need anything?
yes.

I need to be surround by friends.
I need to be alone.
I need support.
I need honesty.
I need tough love.
I need patience.
I need to stay as busy as possible.
I need to sit around and be lazy.
I need all that will be given.
I need nothing at all.

& I need understanding that
I need different things
at different times.

self aware

I’m competing with the past,
memories of what didn’t last.
I’m chasing down ghosts,
asking what they miss the most
from life.

I’m running through a storm,
way ahead of the mourn.
I’m missing what’s ahead,
before its even said
or done.

I’m looking at myself,
all together something else.
I’m skipping half the parts,
depriving my own lonely heart
of truth.

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