Thanksgiving: Be Grateful, Dammit

28 Nov

I am, at present, not a happy individual.  Many people confuse my normal lack of enthusiasm for most of what life has to offer as a sign that I’m kinda negative.  And at this point I’m not even going to fucking argue with you, whoever you are, random individual.  I will save that verbose argument for another day when your defenses are down and I can easily win.  But anyway, no, really this time I’m pretty fucking miserable.  For real reasons.

And I’m writing this now, in a Starbucks, running the risk of someone reading all this over my shoulder, because tomorrow it will be Thanksgiving.  And it will be a time when most of us not working tomorrow at Wal-Mart or Pizza-Hut or Starbucks, will try to wrestle up some “things” we are thankful for to announce around the dinner table.  Because like everything else important in life, we only get one day a year to be thankful.  And it can be very very difficult to scrape up some things to be grateful for when one’s head is barely able to keep itself from drowning in proverbial shit.  Perspective is hard to make out at those moments when we only see a dark horizon ahead of us.

I’m not writing this in an attempt to bring you down, gentle reader.  If you’re happy and you know it, well, you’ve got one up on me and I congratulate you.  I’m writing this for me, and maybe some other gentle reader out there in the wireless ether, in an attempt to find gratitude and to feel it.  Even for just a moment.

And I’m not someone who can spit out answers like I have some prepared script of emotional dribble to whip out at a moment’s notice.  I keep the gushy, soppy, weepy shit to myself, partly to save myself from embarrassment around other humans.  But mostly because I’ve never bothered to take these feelings and apply language to them for the purpose of communicating them to someone else.  Words are incredibly limited when used so cheaply, and expressing true gratitude requires some amount of meditation.

So I’ve meditated, and these are the results:

I’m grateful for Netflix.  I go to bed with you and lose some of my worries for a bit with you before I eventually fall asleep.  BBC Period Dramas are distracting me for an hour or two each night and lately this has been the brightest point of my entire day.  Escape.  And maybe that’s what’s helping me stay away from the bottle through all this shit.  Because that in of itself is something like a miracle.

I’m grateful for my cats.  Two felines that I am devoted to and miss so much at the moment.  It doesn’t hurt that they are, in my opinion, the handsomest/prettiest set of cats I could have ever hoped to have.  All of the recent changes in my household have turned their little world asunder and I feel so incredibly guilty for the changes I have forced on them in this stupid attempt to do something different with my life.  But they are still my love bugs, demanding rubs and scratches and wet food while still being adorable and loving me the best of all.

I’m grateful for my family.  This year has turned out in such a way I never could have imagined even a few months ago.  Everything has changed so rapidly, it’s as if the world has been flipped on its head and we’re trying desperately to somehow set it right.  My family is small and scattered, and it feels as though most of us are struggling rather than thriving, but in a time of crisis, our tiny band sticks together.  And maybe this moment we’re all sharing will make these bonds even stronger.  And maybe this time next year, we can all look back on this moment and be grateful we have all pulled through, and it was because we did it together.

I’m grateful for my friends.  My real friends that know me as I am and still want to hang around me for some ungodly reason.  They forgive me of my shortcomings and have been the biggest cheerleaders in my little life.  Because I guess they can see things in me that others can’t, and I’m certainly unable to see in myself.  They are not here to fix me, they are just here, not asking anything from me and only wanting me to be as happy as I can possibly be.  And all I want for them in return is to be as happy as they can possibly be, and I hope I am giving them the same love I feel they give to me.  All of it unconditional and without measure.

I’m grateful for hope, because I still have it in small amounts.  Even when I wake up before dawn and feel my anxiety swell inside me and dread having to endure a whole new day.  I can’t pretend to have joy for a new day at the moment, but I’m still getting up.  I’m still looking for that new thing to come down the pike, in whatever form it chooses to take.  I take my herbal supplements and Sam-E, and hope they are doing me some good while I try to find something to fill my day with purpose.  And I hope each day I’m just that much closer to finding what I’m working so hard to find.

This list isn’t everything, but it’s the most important for today.  And I have no grand closing statement so I’ll just wish everyone a good tomorrow.  Eat and drink well.  And if you didn’t help cook, you sure as hell better help clean.

Photos: In My Grandmother’s House

24 Jan

My Grandmother passed away in 2010 during Thanksgiving weekend.   About a year later her house in Long Beach was sold.  This was the house she had lived in for over fifty years.  She shared the house with my Grandfather up until his death in 1985.  My mother and uncle were raised in this house.  I was raised in this house.  For years Grandma’s house was my other home, and for a number of years as a young adult, it was my only home.  I was not there to ever officially say goodbye to all the rooms and walls and spaces that made up such a large part of my experience.

My memory of that house on Josie Avenue is still sharp in my mind.  I can hear my grandmother’s shuffling slippers as she makes her way to the heater on a cold morning.  There are the ticks of the pilot light then the rush of controlled flames igniting to fill the front of the house with warmth, as she then shuffles into the kitchen to make herself some toast.  I can see  the early evening summer sun lighting the entire kitchen as dinner fries on the stove.  Open windows welcome any breeze inside, the only air conditioning the house would ever have.  There are the shouts and whistles from the Millikan High football field mingling with the Evening News on the television all the way back in the den.  There are crows and morning doves.  There is a back fence barely standing upright, and a stick to hold the dryer door closed before the old machine finally met its final demise.  And there is clean.  Everything dusted, washed, picked up and put away.  The house is always clean.

When I finally moved out, I didn’t move far away.  I relocated myself only a few miles down the road in Belmont Shore, and would visit the house frequently.  I purchased my first digital camera in 2004 and took a series of photos inside the house not long after.  I still have that camera somewhere.  Big and bulky and with no-where-near the number of Mega Pixels my camera phone boasts, it took the best pictures I have ever taken.  Period.  I feel these were some of the best.

A brief flash in time.  A small world no longer here, but elsewhere in memory.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

mygrandpa

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAP1010087OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A New Year’s Resolution and a Mission Statement

13 Jan

So I have my Microsoft Word up and running once again on my laptop, waiting to be filled up with characters especially arranged in such a way to be translated as language, and hopefully within that language, a statement of purpose.

I have opened up Word many times in my life with the intention of creating something on the blank space in front of me, and I’ve failed at the endeavor more times than I have succeeded.  Staring at a blank canvas that waits for invention feels no less daunting than standing at the base of a mountain, peering up towards a peak that has disappeared into the thin air surrounding it.  Yet somehow I have to go up there on my own and find it anyway.  Because it’s there.

(I don’t mean to sound so dramatic, nor do I set out to write so many sentences that start with “I”.)

I’ve written many a blog before.  Some self-indulgent pieces meant to gain attention and praise to help boost up a needy ego.  Behind every posting there is a deep seeded need to be seen and appreciated by at least a few in my life, and even a few not directly in my life at all.  No one creates to then hide their brainchild in some closet or drawer to go unseen.  We all crave some amount of adulation from others as a confirmation that what little gifts we do possess within ourselves are of value to others.  We’re of use in our own particular way.  We each possess a special space in the world that only we can fill, because that tiny space was carved out especially for us.  And we somehow all fit together to make the big machine work.

Whenever the end of yet another year approaches, many small conversations turn to resolutions for the new year about to begin.  I happen to be a fan of the New Year’s resolution, and have seen a few I’ve made come to fruition over the years.  Or course there are many more that fall by the wayside, but the idea of a new beginning, the optimism produced with just the promise of potential gives hope that the upcoming year can be something to eventually look back on with pride.  And deep down, in the darkest, densest portion of my core, I am a secret optimist.

I want to do a number of things, great and small within the next twelve months.  One of these things is to begin writing again, in earnest.  If I wrote one blog piece a week, by the end of the year I would have fifty-two entries, which would be a nice body of work to have accomplished.  It might not all be brilliant or worth remembering, but that isn’t the point of the endeavor.

What I write, I hope, will be more forthcoming about experiences in my life.  I want to allow the other voices in me to have a chance at being heard.  I want to talk openly about the parts of me I have kept shut away from so many people for so many random reasons.  If anyone has ever walked away from an encounter with me believing I am a surly, sardonic and judgmental individual, they are only partially right.  I’m not writing this in the hopes of converting people into believing I’m something else entirely.  Those parts of me are real and form a significant part of my identity that I cannot simply divorce myself from.

I recently came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t fight who I am simply because people think I should change, that I should be more sociable or less “negative”.  I’m the way that I am, for whatever reason, be it by design or by default.  I possess this mess of emotions and voices that I’ve lived with for nearly all my life, letting some out while keeping many locked in.  What I ultimately want is to convert these bits of me into positives.  I want to turn them into qualities that bring good into my life, rather than pain and depression from my shame in possessing them.  Because there is a tiny space carved out for me in this universe, and all of those tiny bits, when finally assembled, fit that space just right.

Lisa at Club 33

Age 10? Dunno. But it was a fancy dinner at Club 33 for me.

%d bloggers like this: