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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.

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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.

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mygrandpa

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