Life

There I Said It.

I Am unable to have children. <sigh> There I said it. I feel better now. Well not really.

It has taken me a long time to come to terms with my fate, destiny…whatever. Perhaps the hardest thing I have ever been asked to accept in my life. I say “accept” because that is exactly what I must do. If I fail to accept it, it will consume me, and I will become bitter and resentful, a person I actively choose not to be.

I can’t begin to put to words to the types of feelings and thoughts a young woman goes through when she finds out. It is a lonely place, and somedays it is impossible. There is no funeral, no outpouring of support, and no one bakes you a lasagna. Though I feel incredibly alone, I know I am not. Doesn’t help. Doesn’t make me want it less.

I have yet to share my feelings about my defective innards with anyone. I don’t like pity, sympathy, and other such ridiculous cliche’ spectacles. I don’t like it when people look at me like I’m broken, or they think because I told them they have to fix me.  I realize I have a problem accepting help and sympathy, I have a problem crying in front of people, and sharing my feelings. I am a work in progress. Whatever my emotional maturity level is, I know I need to let go, to keep moving forward.

I wanted to have children since I was a child myself. In fact when asked how many, my answer was 12. I loved the idea of a big family. I had dreams of rocking and singing my baby to sleep.  Proudly watching my babies eyes light up when he/she took their first step. Taking pictures of beaming little faces on the first day of school. My husband patiently helping them with their math homework. Kissing scrapped knees and hurt feelings. Boisterous family dinners filled with giggles and silly conversations. Nature hikes, family vacations, and soccer games. I dreamed of teaching them about life and love. I dreamed of recreating my fondest childhood memories with them. Building huge couch forts, Helping them through their first heartbreak, prom, graduation, marriage, and grand kids. Having something I can hold up to the world and say “I MADE THIS! and It is AMAZING!” I dreamed of experiencing that magical thing called un-conditional love. All of these things and more, will never come to fruition for me. When I am ready to leave this world, I will not be surrounded by the family I have built, I will most likely be alone.

As much as I try to, plaster a smile on my face there are constant daily reminders, of my unfulfilled aspirations. Although I realize these statements and suggestions are always given with the best intentions, I still need to vent the frustration that I feel behind them. Perhaps there are others out there who may relate, and in no way is this meant to thwart the good intentions of others, it is only my personal take.

” I have this friend who couldn’t get pregnant for X years then all of a sudden she did, so you never know.” For one, I am not your friend and your words offer very little comfort, in fact It seems like a one-up statement. Sharing your friends happy ending  just makes me want to slap the <insert expletive here> out of you.

“Why don’t you see a doctor, or try in vitro, lots of people who couldn’t have babies had success with it.” Right, all those medical treatments and the like are not guaranteed and cost tens of thousands of dollars I don’t have. So thanks, but seriously like I haven’t thought of that?!!

“You could always adopt” Your right I could, Not the same, but thanks, and by the way you have know idea the situation I am in, or how my other half is dealing or not dealing with this. Again I am aware of my options, and honestly I am not at that decision making point yet. I also don’t think I am ready for endless wait, and possible heartbreak when it doesn’t work out.

My real answer to all of these polite suggestions is the same “Yeah Maybe” as I bite my lower lip in order to hold back the frustration, in my voice.

“Do you have any kids? “Your getting old you should pop out some kids soon!” “Do you want kids?” All of these statements, even though they seem harmless are like knives to my empty womb every time I hear them. My general answer is some vague, yet cheery “Not yet”, or “still working on it.” I don’t feel the need to elaborate further, mostly because I don’t want to see your pity face, hear your solutions (see above) or answer your questions. Honestly the more you wish to talk about my barren belly the faster I want to get away from you.

“Bet your glad you don’t have kids”, ” You do not  know how lucky you are.” or any statement to that effect.  You don’t know how lucky you are to have them. Please continue  to tell me about my luck of having my dreams and goals shattered. Please continue to tell me how awesome it is, to be incapable of creating another human. Share with me how lucky I am to never  feel that unconditional love. Yeah Buddy, the gods have blessed me for sure. I usually respond with a small laugh, eye roll combination followed with a sarcastic “yeah”.

Just know that every baby shower I go to, I am reminded of what will never manifest in my life. Every time I see your baby photos on Facebook  I am imagineing a future that doesn’t exist. Just know that when you proudly talk about child’s accomplishments, I will be unable to contribute to the conversation. Please know that I don’t want to be this way, but I am. I am truly happy for you and your genius child, they are incredibly cute. But sometimes, it is just a reminder. It still hurts. I haven’t healed yet. Honestly, there will always be a place in my heart for the child that never was.

It takes a lot not to think about it every time I see a commercial, a family at the zoo, a new children’s movie, or simply walk past the baby section at Target. At first I just ignored it, then I cried about it, I blamed God. I found distractions, the gym, friends, work….whatever I could just to fill the gap. Now I know none of these distractions will help me face this, with every end to a distraction I desprratly seek to find another, only to repeat the messy process, over and over.

Perhaps like any other grieving processes it just takes time. I no longer blame God. I still cry. I am still searching for a new distraction. Right now, I find myself in a hard place. I really don’t know when I will feel ok. My whole life I assumed I was meant to get married and have babies, end. But now I need to find a new purpose. I don’t think I can be happy if I don’t.  Perhaps I can travel the world, climb mountains, and  explore the beauty behind my front door, and my past aspirations. I only need to take that step, leave my self pity behind me and keep moving forward.

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Best and Worst

“The best and worst thing about life is that it always changes”

Winter’s icy landscape fades onto spring. The world becomes a layout of sparse green grass and bare trees. Slowly the sun breathes life into their branches, giving way to delicate leaves. Despite how frigid the world has become, despite the sins of the bitter dry winds that assault mother nature, the spring always comes. The earth is always forgiven. Summer eventually rises, and a full lush world emerges, from the past sorrows and transgressions. A plentiful bounty filled with bright skies, and opulent landscapes. The earth rising above sadness, and welcoming us to a world teeming with life. Only to reach its rise to fall, the dying of all things. The glow of the sun, changes the leaves to vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, reminding us their is beauty in change. Once again winter inflicts the world with a bitter breeze, to remind us all that, nothing can stay the same. Desolation will always give way to abundant joy, only to fall into despair yet again…it is all so fragile.   images-7

The Walls I Built.

The Walls I Built kept people out, but they also locked me in.

 

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So I started this blog.  When I initially started it, I was fearful of posting anything personal, least someone discover it was me writing,  oh the horror! Honestly, I just wanted a place to put my thoughts, heavy, light or random. I needed a place to dump them. I am not an openly emotional person, I tend to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself sans a select few. I viewed this blog as a way to express myself anonymously to anyone who wanted to hear me.

The more I typed, the more ideas I came up with (most of them yet to be posted). The more I realized, rather felt a deep need to put my whole self into this. I need my soul to pour out through my words no matter who is listening. The only way I will feel relief from my thoughts is if I give them life. After spending so many years in  my own personal silence feeling as though no one would listen, I have decided it is high time I find my voice.

This is a huge personal hurdle for me to jump over. Everyone struggles with something, perhaps this is my thing. It’s not easy for me to pour myself  out, and be left to stand alone in the line of others judgments, to feel naked and vulnerable with your feelings and inner person outside its shell. But theses are the things that make us human, these are the things I fall in love with in other people. At some point I have decided to let my fears control my expressions.

The longer I live and the more I think about it, it may seem easy to build walls at first, but eventually, your walls just become a prison for yourself. Its lonely in here. I think about all the people I have successfully shut out of my life, because I was too afraid to open up. How many opportunities to have a real connection with someone have I missed? How much of myself have I held back, and held in. Always believing you are born alone and you die alone, thus you end up living alone. It is more harmful to keep those walls up then it is to <gasp> be vulnerable.

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I have yet to inform my family or friends of my blog adventure. In fact I was hesitant to tell the Bust Buy guy who sold me my lap top what my intended use was. I am still nervous to expose myself, quite possibly a side of me no one knew existed. I am terrified of their reactions, terrified of the things they will think but not say. I am even more afraid of staying in this dark prison, I am afraid that I will let my own insecurities  keep me from my aspirations.

I need to strip down my outer walls, and expose myself to the public, not the me I carefully plan to show.  I have already spent too much time being someone else for everyone else, Now I need to be myself for myself, judgements be damned! I need to knock my walls down and let the stones fall where they may. Climb out of the rubble and live.

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Thoughts Inside a Tanning Bed

I enter the tanning room……

Whoa! That Tanning bed is Ginormous! Seriously it is like the size of a shipping crate. Please tell me what person is the size of an ocean liner?

Starts to undress….

Dang its cold in here! One would think if people are getting naked up in here, they would turn up the heat.

I Strip down to my birthday suit, and open worlds smallest packet of tanning lotion for $5.

There is no way this is going to cover my whole body! 

I rip open tiny package with my teeth, loose a dollop to the floor.

Seriously?! That was like $2.50?!@!#

I consider using fallen lotion….decide it would only lead to some incurable skin condition, and leave the lonely dollop on the floor. Rub remaining lotion on my skin.

Awesome I smell like a stripper….This must be what they use hehe.

Notices footsteps outside door. 

Did those footsteps just stop outside my door?  what is he doing out there… Oh hell I hope he doesn’t come in.  Did I lock the door? not sure it matters these doors are a little flimsy any way, I am sure if Mr. footstep wanted to get in he would have no trouble. Is he just standing out there?  Why doesn’t he move?

<coughs> <clears throat> in hopes that stranger will know I am in here, get scared and run away. lay down on the cold bed, afraid to press my goose pimpled flesh onto the icy glass.

Must find distraction until this rocket takes off.

Finding good song on i-pod

Did, I really download all of these?

<Skip…Skip…Skip..>

Note to self: create playlist of songs you actually want to hear. I wonder if anyone else gets sick of their music? Why don’t you just pick what song you want to hear so you can stop flipping?

 <Skip…Skip..>

Fine! No more skipping next song is staying on no matter what it is!  Ugh Brittney Spears… <Skip> surly I downloaded that as a joke!?

<Skip…Skip> Tanning bed finally Fires Up 

Whoa! this thing is loud.  teeeheee its like I’m inside a rocket ship. BLAST OFF!! So that’s what the goggles are for! damn its bright in here? Body looks so cool in neon! I wish I could be in neon all the time. That would be weird though. What if I was the only one with a neon body. People would see me and be all like ” Is she from the future?” And of course I would respond. “YES!”

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  Wait……. are all of my body parts getting hit with this thing? I hope there isn’t some crazy skin roll in my back, because then I’ll have some weird stripe, and people will call me  crazy zebra lady.  Maybe I could get a spot on National Geographic channel like that lizard guy? What about my butt crease?  Am I down far enough?    Stop thinking about it, just relax…shhh shh shhhhhh.

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Adjusts back, legs, neck and whole body….

I’m feeling so fly like a cheese stick, like a cheese sick…that cant be what they saying. Cheese sticks  are good and all, but I never equated them with feeling fly. Mental note: look up song lyrics when I get home.

What if the glass I am laying on collapses, and my naked body falls on shards of hot light bulbs, would I die instantly? or would  I have to pull my bloodied body out? I would then become hysterical and run out of the room. I’d be screaming, naked, and running around the hallways frantically searching for help. They’d have to call 911 because I would be burnt, bloody and super dramatic about it. I would make the incident look like a scene from a gore filled horror flick. Wiping handfuls of blood all over the walls…. On second thought, that would be awkward, and maaybeeee… a little too much.  I most likely would pull myself from the wreckage and slide my clothes on over the glass shards, calmly, approach the counter and explain what happened. “Excuse me mam, I believe your tanning bed is broken, as evidenced by my blistering and bloody glass filled body.” She would be all horrified, and I would then demand a refund, at least!  Did something just shift beneath me, did I just hear glass crack? 316260

Turns off music inspects tanning bed. lays back down sighing in relief.

That girl I saw, the other day, looks like she spent so much time on her appearance, I’ll bet she farts glitter. If a person really did fart glitter, would they need to wear some kind of filter type underwear, like cheese cloth or something?  Seriously where would all the glitter go?  It would probably all accumulate in your pants until you took them off, then there would be a huge glitter pile on your bedroom floor. That would be hard to get rid of, you’d have to vacuum the glitter spot for weeks, nay decades and there would still be glitter! Seriously that stuff never goes away!  If I farted glitter I would sport ass-less chaps, that way I wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with mass amounts of glitter in my panties. I could also spread the glitter love, a little puff here, a little puff there, MAGICAL! No robbing banks after eating taco bell though, because it would leave a trail of glitter for the cops to follow….BUSTED!

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Cuz you make me feeeel like……. I’ve beeen locked in a heaaad lock, for too loooonnng.

hehehe Shark Nado! hehehe. That was a terrible movie!  Ill bet they make a sequel. They always make a sequel, wonder if the sequel will be just as bad….or worse?  Maybe it won’t be about sharks but centipedes. I’m Pretty sure if a centipede tornado came I would drop dead from fear! those things are freaky fast, and all the legs…soft bodies…running around on my skin…AHHHHH!

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I jump up and itch my whole body checking the floor and tanning bed for centipedes.

What is wrong with me?!  I must be the weirdest person alive. I’ll probably end up in a nut house at some point in my life. That really wouldn’t be so bad though? I could play bridge with all the other crazies all day long. I’ll bet half of them are not crazy, they are just so brilliant that people think they are crazy. I’ll bet one of them is a time traveler, he’d be interesting to talk to.

Am I burning? feels like I’m burning? its pretty hot in here….. I wonder if tanning beds ever start on fire? That’s silly Shelly you would know if it was on fire, Right?  What if my tanning bed IS on fire? and I can’t feel it because its hot in here, and I don’t notice the flame because it’s so bright? If it did start on fire do you think it would spontaneously combust, and any chance for escape, would be futile? Or would I realize I was burning and have time to remove myself from the tanning bed and roll around on the ground.  Would I STOP-DROP and ROLL? I have seen a few shows on television where people were on fire and I felt the need to scream at the T.V.  They would run around flailing their arms, in a panic, making the fire grow larger. I really feel like the whole STOP DROP and ROLL thing was a big part of passing kindergarten. Maybe when your on fire you lose all your senses and forget?

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Gets up to make sure tanning bed is not on fire, just in case.

I feel like I’ve been in this thing forever. how many minutes left… I wish I could just sleep in these things like normal people do.

Tanning bed shuts off.

The Meat Man.

There are three kinds of people in the world. The ones who immediately answer the door when someone knocks,  the person who asks “who is it?” before answering the the door, and then there is me. I am the person who hears a knock at the door and crawls around on the floor looking out every available window, like a ninja, to find out who it is.

I am not sure where this irrational fear comes from. Perhaps it stems from my extreme dislike of small talk. I really hate plastering myself with pretend smiles and fake friendliness in the face complete strangers, while they spill out the contents of their boring mundane life. It may seem harsh but I never found any personal benefit from these small meaningless interactions. Hence my fear of answering the unexpected banging on my chamber door.

At the time I was living in a studio apartment with my boyfriend, whom for all intents and purposes we shall dub Sam. Sam and I were both in college and had little time for anything other than books and bars, you know the important things. It was a normal quite evening, we were so deep in our respective homework that when it happened, I thought the plaster walls would crumble. A knock at the door. My heart jumped, Sam shuttered with discontent. Millions of unspoken anxieties passed though us, as the knocks became increasingly louder and ominous. KNOCK! KNOCK! Praying it wasn’t some solicitor, or the land lord dropping by for some mind numbing small talk. The banging continued as if the stranger on the other side of the door could see us, as if he knew with each intimidating knock our hearts were welling up with annoyance.

“You should answer the door” I whispered. In my head I figured the best course of action would be to let Sam take the brunt of the offending solicitor, while I try to contort myself in the worlds smallest bathroom to hide from the attack.

“You get it.” Sam slowly answered as if not fully committed to his statement. KNOCK KNOCK!! the deafening sounds of offensive knocks filling our tiny sanctuary with a profound foreboding, escalating to an anxiety ridden crescendo.

“Wait, maybe they will just go away, they will think we are not home or something.” I postulated, hoping I could put up with the excessive knocking until they gave up. “No no no that’s stupid! the T.V. is clearly on, they know we are here.” KNOCK KNOCK… and apparently they are not going to go away. Great.

Sam gently eased me off the futon, and by ease I mean prodded with force .”Just get the door Shelly.” Sam flippantly said as he returned to his books. All the muscles in my body were working against me as I scrapped myself off the futon and nervously headed for the door. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. Honestly, one would think a person would be like; maybe they are not home and give up at this point? My arm reached out to grasp the cold brass knob and with a quick turn the door was open.

There he was, the person who had intruded my deep thoughts on organic chemistry, with his thunderous knocking. Standing in the hallway, an old black man. He was slightly taller than myself, which is not saying much seeing as how most pre-pubescent boys are taller than me. His frail frame was adorned in a burgundy polyester suit, the jacket hanging long on his slim figure. The flashy suit was probably the picnicale of high fashion back in it’s hay day, but now it just looked like something found at the local thrift shop for a buck fifty. I smiled at the man, the sweet kind of acknowledgement smile that you would give an older lady at church. He lifted his head full of wiry grey hairs and said the most absurd and shocking words I ever expected to hear out of this slight mans mouth “Do you want some Meat?” There was No hello, No introduction. He just blurted out the phrase as if it was a perfectly normal thing to ask a complete stranger.

I wish I could re-capture my exact inner dialogue at this moment, I am pretty sure it went something like the following: “No.” Instead of listening to the voice of reason, instead of closing the door on this apparent lunatic, I shrugged my shoulders and replied ” Sure I guess.” I know what your thinking, why would someone who is nervous to answer an innocent knock at the door accept meat form a complete stranger? I have spent countless sleepless nights pondering my actions of that day, but to no avail my thoughts elude me and no answer was ever forthcoming.

I gave a quick glance at Sam both of us appalled with my apparent inability to assert myself and say No to the freakish mans request. I twisted back toward the man, and gave him a sheepish smile. He rewarded it with an eerie thin lipped grin, the kind a villain in the movies gives when his underhanded plans to trick the unsuspecting victim are realized. He said nothing, turned on his heal and began to walk across the dimly lit hall, beckoning me to follow with a curled finger pointing to what was sure to be my final moments. I shot Sam a look that could have won me an Oscar if I was cast in a horror movie, and continued down the hall after the man in the blood red polyester suit.

We reached his door and slowly it opened at the softest touch. I gingerly placed each foot on the soft white carpet of this strangers dwelling. His living room was adorned with copious amount of trinkets, brass statues, old records, and porcelain nick-knacks. These must be trophies from his previous victims I thought. Smoke from burning incense wafted about carelessly in the air, filling my lungs with the sweet false stench, surely created to cover up more devious smells. I heard the door gently closing the soft sounds of the locks whispering their song of finality. I followed him into the kitchen area, with a polite nervous smile plastered on my face, secretly glancing around for a window or door that would lead to my freedom, but alas none was to be found. His dark black eyes lifted to my face, as he gestured to the open freezer door. My body shifted to face the horrific mess that was this mans kitchen. The dirt stained door was wide open, and packed full of Meat and ice. The ice was half melted and mixed with bloody juices, dripping onto the dingy linoleum at the rate of a human heart beat. Drip..drip….Drip..drip….Drip..drip. The flesh was lean and cut into deep crimson strips, approximately the length of a human thigh, raw butchered steaks were laying listlessly in their icy coffin. Clearly this was not store brought meat. I inhaled sharply, and held my breath, as if a lack of oxygen would help me. Have you ever wondered what you would do in a life threatening situation? I always imagined I would be all heroic and bad ass, but then you find yourself in one of those situations only to discover you are just a wuss covered in a coating of distorted fortitude. The old mans eyes danced with delight as they grazed my frightened face ” Just take some meat!”

To afraid to deny his request at this time I reached my shaking hand into the cold dark and bloody abyss. My fingers caressed the first piece of un packaged meat, I felt the ice flakes crush beneath my sweaty palms. With a quick jerk I aimed to swipe a few pieces and high tale it out of this nightmare, but that was not to be. The “human steaks” were frozen together and then frozen to the bottom of the freezer. I gave the bloody iced over muscle a gentle tug and giggled nervously at my would be killer. With his hunched back turned to me he reached his spindly fingers into a rickety narrow drawer next to the food crusted stove. This is it Shelly, hit him over the head with a frying pan and get the hell outta there! In one swift motion he pulled out a long shiny object and pointed it to the ceiling looking at it with admiration. incense filled my eyes, trying to focus it dawned on me, this murderous man had a butcher knife in his hands! My skin instantly broke into a cold sweat. RUN, RUN!! my mind was yelling at my now lifeless legs. I tightly closed my eyes and waited for the smooth blade to cut my exposed neck. Like I said, I am apparently a giant cuckold. His wrinkled hands grabbed my clutched fingers as he placed the wooden handle in them. ” Here use this to break the meat free from the ice.” He proposed with a voice as smooth as custard. Relief washed over me. This man is not going to kill me, He honestly just wants to give me meat. I shifted my focus back to the bloody steak freezer and proceeded to chip away blocks of ice and meat.

“That’s good enough for now, you can come back and get the rest once it has thawed out more.” Holding chunks of frozen meat in both hands, I shrugged my shoulders hopping he would pick up on the obvious dilemma of running down the hallway with raw meat in my hands. He passed me some tin foil to wrap the grizzled meat in. (side note: why wouldn’t you wrap it in foil before freezing it?) I took my dubious packages and proceeded to walk to the door thanking the man for the meat. I must of had the strangest look on my face, because honestly that was probably one of the most peculiar encounters of my life.

Sam, breathed a sigh of relief when I walked in the door. “So he just gave you Meat?” He asked expectantly. I regaled the terrifying story, to Sam who was staring with a look of amusement and disbelief on his face. (It still bothers me to this day that he didn’t come with me on this meaty adventure.) After all was said and done one fact still remained: There is no way I am going to eat this meat! I shoved the raw frozen meat at Sam and told him to get rid of it NOW! Awkwardly the meat passed between us and there ensued the dilemma of disposing the meat.

“Where should I put it?”

” I don’t know just get rid of it! “

” Cant we just put it in our garbage?”

” No F-ing way, do I want that in here! “

“We’ll then You find a place to put it!”

” Hell No! I was the one who had to pick axe it out of some weird guys freezer, who could have killed me by the way! “

Sam shuffled walked out the door, with the miscellaneous meat, and disposed of it. Apparently he threw it in the dumpster outside the apartment. I was told that he thoroughly covered it with boxes and other garbage so that it would not be discovered, by the meat man, in hopes to avoid some awkward conversation in the future.

“Why don’t you want my meat, it’s good meat..?” The meat man would say. I would probably stand there starring into space, allowing the blood in my body to boil over with potential explanations, none of which would suffice, before I would just run away, spending the rest of my lease avoiding the man.

Over the course of the next few months this crazy dance played out. The meat man would knock on our door. ” Would you like some more meat?” I would grudgingly follow him to his apartment and proceed to chip away the bloody ice, freeing the meat. I would then return to my abode and Sam would sneakily hide the meat In the dumpster, in order not to offend the man and his meat gift.

Needless to say the whole experience was torturous for me. Strange man, innocuous small talk, bloody meat, and so on. I am sure you can imagine my relief when his freezer was finally empty and all that was left were meat blood ice chips. Except, instead of relief I felt empty, like I would miss the charade. I found myself missing the small talk, the meaningless recounts of our day to day activities.

It was Christmas Eve and it had been a few months since I last saw the meat man. Sam and I were preparing to leave the apartment I order to attend our families Christmas celebrations. When a familiar knock yet again graced our door. Instead my usual crawl around on the floor trying to hide from the visitor I excitedly swung the door open. On the other side stood my new acquaintance, the meat man. In a small voice he asked Sam and I if we would join him for a Christmas cocktail. I smiled brightly and replied “Of course!” We followed down the hallway after the man, and I entered his crowded apartment one more time.

In the middle of his living room a small gold table was delicately placed surrounded by three plush chairs. Upon the opulent table was a bottle of cognac, some melted brie cheese and crackers, and a few Cuban cigars. We sat as he poured us a generous glass of the aged brandy, and lit a cigar.

Throughout the night he regaled us with the most marvelous stories from his past. He told us tales from a time when he used to play jazz with the Thelonious Monk. He shared the story of the love of his life and her passing. He painted verbal pictures of his adventures in New Orleans. My meat man, whom I have shared numerous amounts of small talk with suddenly became the most interesting man in the world. The aged Brandy went down smoothly as we conversed all night, playing old jazz records, losing myself in another persons story. That would be the last I saw of him. I can’t say for certain where he went. I would like to think he is living peacefully, sharing his stories with anyone brave enough to accept them, and his meat.

It is easy to always think about ourselves and the happenings in our life. It is easy to judge someone based on our preconceived ideals of societal norms. It takes time and patience to listen to someone’s stories especially when they don’t pertain to you. It takes compassion and understanding to set aside your judgements and accept someone for who they are. But, If you are lucky enough, to step outside of yourself, if for only a few moments, and give your time and full attention to someone else, you might be surprised how truly freeing and rewarding it can be. I have been blessed to “meat” this amazing man even if it was in an unconventional way, and never again will I be fearful of opening the door, to someone strange.

I am giving up the dream

Child dreamI used to keep a journal as a young girl. I filled its blank pages with hopes and dreams for the future, I was destined to have. I would eventually live in a lavish 8 bedroom mansion with a butler named Turtle. I would be a famous painter matching the likes of Picasso and Salvador Dahlia. During the week I would be called on a dangerous James Bond-type mission, where I would save the world from evil drug dealers and the like, in one 12 hour work day, with barley a scratch on me. Ahhhh…. The dreams and possibilities of being young. The world was wide open, I could be and do anything, and all I had to do was choose, and apply myself.

As the years grew on me like some fungus you cant get rid of, life just slowed down. All the drama and passion of my younger years faded, and the slow boring crawl of adulthood took over. I have become so inundated with responsibilities, bills, and dentist appointments, that I would argue with myself, that there was no time for silly little girl dreams. Life became less fun, more stressful, it became less about what I believed to be possible and more about what I was told was impossible. Its like we become adults and the world all of a sudden becomes this grey mono-toned color where we all slowly go about our daily activities to some gloomy music, duuun..work….duuuun..traffic… duuuun….bills… duuuuuun…dentist. All the things I wanted to do became wrapped up in a dream carved box and pushed onto a dusty shelf, only to be opened later as a big box of regrets, and failed attempts.

I always imagined I was going to accomplish so much, that I was going to single handedly change the world. Only to grow up and discover the only change I ever made was to get bigger sized pants and paint my living room a brazen color like red! Which, by the way I highly suggest not doing, mostly because if you want to change it sometime in the future, you will be truly angry with yourself despite how easy the home depot sales people say it will be. Also do not even consider it if your not a good painter, like me (recently discovered fault of mine) because mistakes are really easy to spot.

Suddenly on some random, usually sunny, day clarity slaps you in the face. For me I think it was the blessing of seeing people in their death beds and listening to their stories. Some of them full of regrets, things not said, and opportunities missed. And a few were full of joy, chances taken dreams fulfilled. It was an eye opener for me, truth is I wasn’t finished yet. I realized that I still had an opportunity to dream, and if I continued to let the mundane pace of adulthood slip in, it would strangle me.

All these heavy thoughts got me thinking, and I mean really thinking. What dreams, and goals from my past is it time to give up on? Should I bother replacing old dreams with new ones, only to be let down in another 10…20 years, then have to write another blog about it? Or is it finally time to listen to my parents and make some real goals, such as getting a raise at the job I don’t like? What dreams are any of us willing to let go of 1/2 way through the game? And what dreams should we give up on?

I decided that it is time to become realistic about my future. I have decided to officially give up……… Some dreams anyway. Here’s the thing, I know it sounds like a defeatist attitude, but honestly there are some things I am just not cut out for. The movie Rudy for example. It’s a wonderful story, about dreams, determination, and a lot of heart. But there is a problem with the story, although Rudy was put in for one play, and he did an amazing job. One can’t deny that he probably would have been a terrible overall player, long term. It’s not to say that it wasn’t worth all his effort, for him it most certainly was. For me, I have a lot of dreams, and a lot of ground to cover, so I can’t waste my time, practicing to become the greatest hip- hop dance fighter the world has ever seen. I am a hopeless klutz and no matter the amount of practice, I will always look like a mentally challenged chimpanzee on meth, while dancing. I’m not trying to tear myself down it is just a fact and I am ok with it.

I guess it is time to get down to it, I will most likely never own a Mercedes Benz, I will never have enough disposable income to justify purchasing one, plus if Janis Joplin couldn’t attain one, what are my odds? I will never go deep sea diving, it always seemed great and adventurous, but quite frankly I have reached a point in my life where It just scares the shit out of me, anyway. I will never be an Olympic contender, I am past the point in my life, where it is just not feasible. I won’t become an astronaut, I’m just not that smart, again it’s a fact not a put down. There are a lot of things that I can’t do, which maybe contradictory to all the adults who told me I can do anything I wanted, but I think the only way to reach your goals is to at least make them obtainable, and realistic.

So what now? I could berate myself, why wasn’t I more focused, why, did I squander my younger years away on friends and folly, always believing that I had ample time to sneak in some accomplishments and trophies. Although I strongly believe that spending to much time thinking about the past is a sure fire way to stay there. I could blame my parents, that’s always a good fall back plan. Why didn’t you support me? Why didn’t you push me harder? Seems a little unfair though doesn’t it. I could of course do the most productive thing and look inside myself and decide to keep moving forward. I could decide that everyday, nay every hour is an opportunity to move closer to my dreams. I could unwrap the binding chains of adulthood and face my fears. I still have time to become the woman I dreamed of but this time will be different this time I will not let myself get in the way. Indeed the road to success is paved with many desirable parking spaces.

I may not be as young as I once was, I may have some limitations (lots of limitations) especially when it comes to dancing. Maybe I didn’t start a revolutionary company like Bill Gates, in his 20s.Or write and publish a famous novel like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein also in her 20s. I still have plenty of time to put my stamp on the world. For example Jean Eugene Atget, now considered one of the greatest photographers, took up photography, at the ripe age of 40. And at the age of 50 Samuel Adams directed the Boston Tea Party, (he also makes a great beer…wait, it might not be the same guy?) Still even more impressive at the age of 80 Christine Brown of Laguna Hills, California flew to China and climbed the Great Wall! Here I come mt Everest! The fact is its never to late to claim your dreams.Great_Wall_of_China_July_2006 (1)

Its too late to change my past, unless…(insert evil grin) I invent a time machine, and get my past self all fired up for dreams and accomplishments, and become famous, which will essentially negate the need for time machine building in the future. Thus the time machine never gets built, and if it never gets made, then I miss out on the Nobel prize and never go back in time to begin with, soooo…mmmk lets just say time machines are never good ideas, but I digress. I can’t change my past, the only thing I can do now is move forward…

So YES I have given up, I have given up on all the unobtainable dreams of my youth, and right now, I am pleased with that (I hear gigantic 8 bedroom mansions have really high electric bills), because I have made some practical, real life goals that can be accomplished, with a little focus, determination and a lot of heart. And hopefully I can die with peace in my heart knowing that I didn’t give in or give up.

To Bump or not to Bump

To Bump or not to Bump that is the question..

The fist bump conundrum is sweeping the globe. From the creation of the fist bump to present times. Many people are still confused and unsure of proper fist bump etiquette. What or rather when is the suitable time for a wicked fist bump?  How does one react when one person wants to bump, and you want to shake, or hive-five?

The “First Bump”

Lets start with the origin of the fist bump, someone had to start the madness, right? The fist bump, also referred to The Pound, Knuckle Blaster, Bro Fist, Fo’ Knuckles, or a  Knuckle touch, is a gesture when two participants form closed fists and lightly touch knuckles, (that really makes it sound Bad Ass doesn’t it?) The known first fist bump on record is a little “shaky”. According to some it can be traced back to the 1800s as the “Boxers first hand shake”. There is also a cited instance where NBA player Fred Carter of the Baltimore Bullets in the 1970s preformed a fist bump with another player. Despite all the controversy around the first fist, I like to believe the true origins came from the 1970s Hanna-Barrera cartoon classic “Super Friends” where the superheros would fist bump and say in unison “Wonder Twin Powers Activate!”

Again, pretty Bad Ass right?

However the fist bump started one thing is for certain, it is here to stay.

The collision of the bump vs. shake

You know that awkward moment, when you are going in for the bump and the other guy assumes the high five position. This soon can get out of “hand” (pun totally intended) in which a few scenarios are likely. One development that is very likely to take place is the legendary awkward  fist conversion confusion. This is  when both partakers chose to convert, and the game continues until someone recognizes the situation and verbally points out the unpleasant predicament or goes with it, and a flump occurs. Another possible outcome could be running into “that guy” you know the one who senses the impending fist bump confusion on the horizon. He improvises, and what you end up with is some one armed shoulder hug, with a gentle fist bump to the spine type thingy. No one is entirely sure what just happened, and after an interaction like that you are a little nervous for the next time the two of you intermingle. Last but not at all least is the notorious stand off, where neither party wants to convert. this will always end in a flump or worse, an end of all friendly gestures with the individual, until dominance is re-established.  This is usually accomplished thru the ritual of swapping sports knowledge until one of the participants backs down. In this heated discussion a mediator is usually present. Please note this situation will not apply to girls.

Bump etiquette:

1. Bumping is acceptable, at all sporting events sans NASCAR.

2. Bumping is not allowed when meeting a person for the first time, nor is it appropriate for business transactions, (please note above photo of awkwardness) a traditional hand shake is recommended.

3. Bumping is NEVER proper at a funeral or in the hospital, I really can’t think of any scenario where a high five would be appropriate here either. It is highly suggested you stick with the shake.

4. When wearing a suit or business attire, a fist bump is only acceptable when drunk, or when parts of your suit or clothing is tied around parts of your body, most commonly your head.

5. When inebriated fist bumps are always preferred to any other greeting. Mostly because high-fives require hand eye coordination that may not be available to you at that time.

Even knowing and applying the rules of fist bumping it is still inevitable that you will run into that unsavory situation when you have to make a conversion decision. Might I suggest you hold strong to the bump, for one it is much easier to convert an open hand to a fist, (perhaps it just feels like that because you  are the one with the fist and therefore no conversion is required on your behalf). By backing down and converting you risk appearing passive, allowing the other person to dictate the greeting. If you change course and convert to the open palm, you risk the other person converting to the fist, and thus the confusion begins anew. Of course this is all mute if you are the one with the open hand. So in conclusion whatever gesture you deem appropriate, hold strong fist or open hand. Show the other person who can greet like a boss. Don’t back down, it is you who decides your  friendly gesture fate, and will not be pushed around. Just make sure you’re a girl, or you know more than your buddy about sports.

What Do You Like To Do?

What do you like to do in your spare time?

This question can bring a wave of uncomfortable panic into a persons soul. It’s not really all that straightforward is it? There is a lot to contemplate about your answer.

A majority of people respond with what I like to call basic likes or hobbies such as “I like to listen to music, read, and spend time with my friends.” No one ever answers this question honestly. A truly honest answer, might be, “I like to drink in excess, lay around and watch TV, and eat fried foods.”  A person can’t say those things, least they be judged as a fat lazy alcoholic. So this is where the panic sets in…in your mind your thinking, well I don’t know I just kind of go to work, come home, watch TV and sleep. I don’t really have any hobbies. I cant say that though, people will find me uninteresting. So this is where you quickly analyze your options.

You could always go with reading. I think a lot of people always throw this one in because it makes them sound smart, but if you ask them what the last book they read is, you will get one of two things. Either they will say To Kill A Mocking Bird, or some other book they had to read in high-school or college, and if they say this, then you know they are full of it and just really want you to think they are smart or impress you in some way. Or you might get the Fifty Shades of Grey answer which entails some other currently popular book, which means they like to read but are not necessarily well read.

Listening to music is a popular choice. Which is kind of a bull s*** one because really who doesn’t like to listen to music? I think that’s why its a popular choice, the hope here is that the other person will think  “Hey I like music too! how about that!” Then BAM! instant friends right?- wrong, because the next question is always, “what kinda of music do you like?”  err :/ crap! what if I say a type of music they hate, like country or something, (country always seems to be one of those, that people either love it or they hate it) the best way I found out of this scenario is to tell them you like everything, except country of course.

Running, I love it when people say this one, Its not that its untrue necessarily because a lot of people do enjoy running, but I have a sneaking suspicion that some people say this just to sound athletic, (usually found on profile pages). Have you ever had someone tell you they enjoy running and you look at them and are like..yeah no you don’t.

The other problem with this kind of question is, if you say something such as I like to paint pictures or draw, you’d better be pretty amazing at it, because by saying you enjoy doing something it automatically puts you in the running for expert, in this instance you become a self proclaimed artist. The problem with this is if any opportunity arises for you to show off your skills, such as making a bubble letter poster, you automatically become the person responsible for the arty part. If your bubble letters suck ass people will say  “I thought you were an artist” then you’ll have to respond with, ” I said I like to draw, I didn’t say I was good at it?!” and that just makes things really awkward.

The thing is, with a question like what do you like to do?  a lot of judgements can be made depending on the answer. Most people will play it safe, and go with the basics, in order for that first awkward conversation to move along. But what if they say something crazy like I enjoy scaling 40ft. ice walls with a pick axe. Well, now you’re in trouble and you had better come back with something mind-blowing too, otherwise the rest of your conversation will hang on this interesting thing the other person likes to do, and your lack-thereof.

In all honesty, it really doesn’t matter what your likes and hobbies are, or what anyone thinks of them for that matter. The truth is always far more interesting then some contrived conformity, no matter what it is. If it is the truth about yourself that embarrasses you  you then perhaps you need to change yourself and not the answers. Be proud of who and what you are.

As an after thought: Just once in my life,  I would love to answer with something off the wall like “Me? well I like all kinds of things, I like to be a clown on the weekends, I enjoy organizing super-balls  by color and shape, Dressing up like waldo and hiding along the freeway, I also like to summit skyscrapers and enjoy yelling at old people. what do you like to do?

Someone Died Today.

Someone died today.

It’s no big deal or anything, lots of people die. I think the thing I wonder about is if they could come back, what would they say what advice would they have for us? I doubt it would be anything profound, Like “OMG!! We are all ONE and we must recycle, and by the way God is a black woman.”  I’d like to think it would be more mundane, such as “did I leave the stove on?” or “I wonder what Karl and Sue are up to tonight?”

I imagine they would not regret the risks they took (unless that’s why they are dead :/) they may have regretted not forming close relationships, with the ones they love.  Or not saying I love you enough to their spouse, kids..ext. I suppose whatever their issues are or were they will still there at the time of death. Are any of them happy, does anyone die and say “well I did my best, and lived my life with no regrets”?  I suspect that some do.

This topic is not new. I am certainly not the first to think of death in this way; however I don’t think it does us any harm either. We should not necessarily think of death, but rather think of life. Many times in our lives thoughts arise. Such as, are happy, did we do the right thing, how we’ve been hurt in the past, and how to plan for the future. I think all these thoughts and decisions can be better made when put in the perspective of death. Not in a gothic death is cool way, but in a practical, does this really matter in the end way. I certainly know when I die the last thing I’m going to think about is the expensive car I owned, or whether my mother in law accepted me. I could go on about the mundane things that ramble throughout my head and cause me undue stress on a daily basis, but really it doesn’t matter.  Maybe reminding ourselves of our impending doom can change the way we think about our worries and thoughts.

When I die I think I’ll be more concerned with questions such as, did I live honorably, did I express my love and affection to those I care for, do they know how much they meant to me? Did I spend too much time keeping up with the latest T.V. dramas and not enough time exploring the world? Did I talk too much and not listen, enough? Did I live my life for myself, or did I give enough to others?  Am I happy with the way I conducted myself whilst alive, can I “die” with it?

When it’s my turn to meet my maker, I don’t want to wish I have lived differently. I met those people, you know the ones, they are demanding and selfish, they care only about their gain. They hurt others without a thought of remorse. They are the line skippers; they are the ones who yell at the 16 year old waitress, because their steak is over cooked. They have a sense of entitlement; they are the people who use the phrase “do you know who I am?” I’ve seen them perish and it is sad, because ultimately they die angry and alone, and the only person holding their hand is a stranger, usually a nurse that believes no one should die alone, even the assholes. Seems to me that it’s no way to live or die for that matter.

I guess to end this random thought, it might be best to use the cliche’ live as if you were dying,  but really do it, as if you were dying, not just like you read the quote somewhere and thought  we should all do this…. But what if we all did do that?  What If everyone in the world lived like they were dying!? Now you are looking at mass hysteria!  And for some reason if people think they are dying, they will steal electronics?! Which always gets me in movies? If I thought the world was ending or it was time for survival mode, I might take food and water, but seriously what are you going do with a TV? It’s like they are dying and think their remaining hours would be best spent watching dancing with the stars?  So maybe we shouldn’t live like we are dying. I guess we should all just Live, learn our lessons on the way, be proud of who we are and what we’ve accomplished, and when making a decision, always make sure you can live or rather, die with yourself.