Tag Archives: family

Reconnecting

My family has always meant a great deal to me.  I’ve managed to stay close to my parents and brother by calling them ever-so often and keeping in touch.  My extended family however is a different story.  Growing up overseas, we didn’t see each other for birthdays or mini-celebrations, however every summer we would fly to Kentucky and I would stay with my grandparents for about a month.  Those trips were absolutely wonderful.  My grandmother would take me to the library with her, my grandad would take me out for fish and chips.  My aunts and uncles and bunches of cousins would all hang out for appreciation and cheer. Looking back on my life, the summers spent catching fireflies and eating ice cream were the best. 
I haven’t been back to Kentucky to see my beloved family in six or seven years.  A few relatives came to Colorado when I graduated high school but the visit was rushed and I was a self-centered teenager who didn’t fully appreciate the gesture.  I feel like I’ve become the black sheep family member, the estranged girl that no one really knows any more.

With my parents moving ever farther away to Oregon, and the realization that my family in Kentucky is growing older, I’ve resolved to reconnect and once again be an active participant in the family.  I’m ready to strut my stuff and show my family how much I love them and truly care that they are a part of my life.
I’m going to Kentucky for the upcoming holidays and I couldn’t be more excited.  I have cousins I finally get to meet, other cousins who are getting engaged, and wonderful grandparents on either sides who I miss terribly.  On top of that, I will get back in touch with my roots.  I was born in Kentucky and spent my developing years there. I thrived on the green grass, ice storms, and as mentioned above, the lightning bugs. I finally get to return home.

It’s hard keeping in touch friends and family when separated by so many miles.  Having moved all the over world and never truly settling in one place, I understand how difficult it is to maintain relationships with people over the years.  But these relationships shaped who we are and have made lasting impressions, whether obvious or not.  I’m committing to honor these relationships and rekindling what I can.

I’m going to Kentucky to rehash relationships with family, but I also yearn to rekindle friendships I had overseas.  Luckily, nowadays Facebook makes this very possible, and little by little I am making moves.  I email old friends from junior high and still wish them a happy birthday.

Although separated by geographic distance, the memories created last forever in our hearts and our minds. 

That’s why I’m digging up these memories, and honoring the good times by reconnecting with people who’ve made a difference in my life.

Who do you wish to reconnect with? Who has made an impact in your life, and how do you honor it?

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No answer to suffering

I thought I’d ask the age old question: Why do we suffer?

This question came to me tonight after talking with a friend who’s recently lost his mother to cancer, who’s father is a survivor of cancer, and whose uncle is slowly dying from cancer as well.  They were all healthy, good people.

My friend is struggling for meaning in his life, for hope, for the energy to cope with the pain that’s been unceasing the past few years.  He simply cannot comprehend why this tragedy has struck his family, and it’s lead to his declaration of atheism and his overall indifference toward the joys of life.

My friend is a good man, in no way deserving of this pain, of these hopeless circumstances.

People have struggled with the problem of suffering for thousands of years.  Hindus credit it to bad past lives, to Christians it’s the ultimate mystery.  If God is so great, why is there so much pain? So much doubt? So much terribleness?

I, for one, have no idea, and will never claim to have the answer. It’s plaguing me this evening though, and I wish I had something better to say to comfort my friend.

I know that one should treasure life and live each day to the fullest, yada yada yada, but that’s not good enough. Not when so many people feel their mortality approaching faster with every breath.

Why is there so much pain? Why are entire families wiped out by this silent, painful killer?

How can one remain hopeful when so much despair looms in every facet of their life? How can one confront and challenge such despair?

All I know to do is, hold on. Hold on and surround yourself with goodness. And breath.

We don’t know why life can be so egregious, but I do know that if we still have breath, we should savor it, take it in deeply, and feel it.

Hold on.

A line from a script I read in theatre camp went something like this,

“Life is like a swing. It goes up, down, back, forth. We can just hold on and wait for life to swing back up, that there will always be highs and lows and they are in constant flux.  Hold on to the swing.  Hold on. ”  

 

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If I could change one thing…

“If you could change one thing about our life right now, what would it be?”

The answer to this question eludes me. I have so many regrets.  I wish several things were different.  I would change the way I’ve treated people. I would change how I’ve let other people treat me.

I would wish I had a good-paying job. I would wish that the dog I care for could be truly my dog.

I could change my occasional shitty attitude. I would change the way I tend to judge people right off the bat, and harshly too.  I would be more social. I would change the fact that I procrastinate.

I would change the fact that I’m lonesome. I would  prefer to not secretly wish that I had a significant other as the nights get darker, colder, and increasingly desolate by myself.

I would change to be nicer. More patient. More kind.

I would change and take a bit of my own advice.

I would not live in this house with people that increasingly piss me off. I wish I didn’t get so pissed off.

There’s an awful lot that I would change…

The big one that keeps popping up in my head is my wish that I had treated people better in the past few years. Hell, the past decade. I was a shit head to my parents for the longest time. And then I had a high school sweetheart whose heart I essentially broke. I was a crazy person for a years that followed. Failed a couple classes and got involved in bad stuff before hitting rock bottom and finally learning that my actions have consequences, for myself and others. I could take away that year and be a bit happier, that’s for sure. Later I met a good man. An impatient, grumpy asshole to be sure. But overall he was a good man. That ended horribly. And I often look back upon the way I handled situations and wish I said or done something different to change what I know now was an inevitable outcome.  I haven’t always been kind to one of my best friends. And I’ve been too hard on my mom. Shit… now the thoughts just keep rolling in. There is a lot I could change.

But, at the same time, I guess I’m this person because I’ve messed up so many times. I mean, if I didn’t have these regrets or realizations of my own flawed, wild, sometimes stupid, simply wrong, and utterly plagued self, I wouldn’t have learned a damn thing. At least I’ve got some experience under my belt.

So I guess if I could change one thing, to get this ordeal over with, I wouldn’t change anything about myself. I’m fine right where I am.

Instead of me, I would change something for someone who really deserves it.

I would change the fact that my folks aren’t rollin’ in the dough any longer and secretly grant them a bunch of money.  I don’t know how much is a ‘bunch’, but I want them to have all their debts paid (my college loans especially), and I want them to take an awesome vacation for their 25th wedding anniversary.

My mother and father have put up with a lot of shit because of me. From my overall crazy, rebellious, stubborn, center-of-the-universe attitude to the actual trouble involving the law, police, and the ridiculous amounts of stress that occurs as a result of dealing with our glorious criminal justice system, they deserve a lifetime of vacations.

They have saved me in more ways than I can count.  Financially, emotionally… they’ve stuck by me through thick and thin. My parents love me despite things I’ve done that I don’t share with anybody.

So screw changing my situation. I just want my parents to be happy and comfortable for the rest of their lives. I want to fill their bank accounts and shoo them off to Hawaii where they can eat bon bons and snorkel and hike… anything they want to do. God knows they deserve it.

My folks. They rock. And they deserve a vacation.

 

I don’t know if that’s the answer the prompt was looking for, but that’s all I can come up with.

 

 

 

 

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How to be depressed

These past couple weeks I’ve been feeling quite depressed for no specific reason at all. I’ve been irritable with friends and generally impossible to please.  As a result, I’ve decided to compile a list of a few things that will teach you how to be depressed and cranky just like me.

1.  Drink a bottle of wine to yourself and watch a heartbreaking romance movie.

Not only will the wine make you feel loopy and completely alone, the movie will make you cry and sob your heart out over the lost love, the high school sweetheart, or the imaginary boyfriend waiting outside your front door that never shows up. Guarantees a headache, puffy eyes, and malaise for the entirety of the following day.

2.  Quit every healthy regime you’ve worked hard to implement into your life.

Screw going to the gym three times a week.  And chose the hamburger over the salad.  Skip the vitamins, skip the fresh air for a strong cigarette.  Drink multiple kinds of liquor in an evening at the bar. Forget showering and brushing your teeth.  Bask in filthy clothes and beer breath. Don’t get out of bed for anything.

3.  Harbor resentment.

Let every little thing that annoys you fester inside until your blood is boiling and you’re imagining great insults to spew at the unlucky roommate who doesn’t rinse their dish.  Dig up old drama with a friend and insist on always being right.  Bitch about everything and everyone who isn’t perfect just like you.  Read old diaries to stir up anger from years ago.  Blame parents, friends, ex-boyfriends for your piss-poor mood.

4.  Look at everyone else’s pictures online and see how much fun they’re having and how happy everyone is but you.

Your ex has a beautiful new girlfriend and they’re getting engaged! Yay!  Your girl friend went to a party without you and obviously had such a great time.  That one friend has lost weight and is so cute in her pretty little dress.  I wanted to buy that dress but it didn’t fit me…

5.  Don’t make any effort whatsoever to cheer up or engage with humanity whatsoever.

Don’t go out. Don’t even go upstairs to fry an egg. Stay right there on the couch or the bed and eat those cheetos. Don’t shower or put on a cute shirt. Whatever you do, do not accept an invitation to grab beers at a once-favorite brewery. Don’t even answer your phone. Don’t look at movie times. Going to the movies is your favorite thing so don’t even consider it.

6.  Do not investigate your sadness or express your sadness in a healthy way.

Don’t write a poem, don’t paint, don’t journal, don’t dance, don’t exercise. Don’t call a friend for comfort.  Don’t express any angst effectively. Complain, whine, and bitch, please.

There you have it. This is a preliminary list of things to do/not do to continue being a bitchy little victim of the evil forces in the universe. Now wipe off that smile and start crying, dammit!

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Dogs and Life

Today at the dog park my pup was injured.  He was slammed against a cement cylinder whilst running full-speed chasing one of his girlfriends.  I rushed him to the vet, who determined he either got a bad sprain or a slight tear in the dog equivalent of the ACL.

I’m ridiculously relieved that my pup didn’t fracture his hip or knee, and as he lays here next to me I’m grateful to have the resources and the heart to rush to him the vet for help.

With the stress and cost of the veterinary medicine I’m taught what a serious responsibility it is caring for another life.  This lesson is a harsh reality check but it’s made me more realistic and responsible in regards to serious matters of health and well being of others.    Without the experiences of caring for the many dogs, cats, rats, and sugar gliders that I’ve fostered at different times, I would not be nearly as conscientious of the emotional, physical, and financial commitments of being a caregiver.

I am a very maternal young woman.  I gain a unique satisfaction and love for the world when caring for animals or even people.  I believe many women get similar maternal urges when they get to their early or mid-twenties, and several women choose to get pregnant and start a family as a result.  I know a handful of women who have done just this, and that’s awesome for them.

Through the many experiences of taking animals to the vet, paying vet bills, dealing with dog-sitting, dealing with troublesome animals, worrying, feeding, loving all these creatures, I’ve learned the serious nature of being wholly responsible for another life.

For this reason, I’m waiting until I have money, education, and time to make human babies.  I want to have a child or two, but I understand how much of a commitment it can be.  If my kid has an attitude problem I can’t take him back to the pound.  If they get sick it’s horribly worrying and expensive, and we can’t just euthanize the poor bastards like many pet owners chose to do today.

I think it’s great that many women have found security enough to start a family, but I am not ready.

My heart pounded and I had to swallow tears because my pup injured his leg, and the vet put me out almost two hundred dollars.  If I didn’t have the money, or if I didn’t have a car or nerves, I would have been totally screwed.

It’s hard for me to imagine having a little darling baby, so fragile and precious, who may need health care right off the bat.  Not too mention clothes, diapers, education, food, housing…

Babies are no picnic!

I’m thankful to understand the seriousness of caring for another life and to have had so many wonderful animals to teach me this lesson.

I’m happy taking care of my doggie and taking him to the vet, and as a result I’m waiting quite a while to have a child.

Bernard, my love

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A little help goes a long way

Today I woke up, groggy and annoyed by that certain I don’t know what.  I had a HUGE list of things to do. Write a resume, read a billion pages, write three papers… fun stuff.  So, naturally, I sat on the couch and watched football.

The anxiety continued and I just felt “ugh”.

I finally plopped down with bad TV on in the background and began typing up a resume I’ll be needing for several endeavors in the coming weeks.

It was being a complete pain in the ass. Do I say this? Do I add this? Do I sound too vague here? Do I sound like an egotistical turd here? I had no idea what I was doing.  On top of that, getting the format just right had me so frustrated and mad I had to open the window to let the Autumn air cool my boiling blood.

Then, like a little answer from the spirits above, somebody came home and with only a smile and a bottle beer, turned my horrible mood around.

We sat on the couch and while he watched some silly action flick, I continued to type away, and as I encountered a roadblock and made disgruntled noises, my friend would say “Lemme see. Try this, or this… that looks good, change that…”

Slowly but surely, a beer, one glass of wine, and a couple slices of pizza later, my resume was complete.  And it wasn’t awful, in fact, it was pretty alright, and I feel fairly confident in applying to a program mentoring troubled youth tomorrow.

I know I could have done this myself, but the truth is that my friend helped me more than they know.

It’s wonderful how kind words of encouragement and couple helpful pointers can truly transform a daunting and unenjoyable task.

Thank you friend, I owe you one.  And if I get accepted to this program, I owe you a dozen.

It’s wild how one person, a couple kind words, a little help, and good company can really brighten someone’s day. How much it brightened mine.

Humans really are social creatures, imperfect creatures.  And sometimes it’s not wrong to ask for a little help sometimes.

My father has always told that people depend on each other, and it’s okay to ask for help.  You’re right Dad, I have to say, you won that one.

Tonight I would’ve ripped my hair out and cursed a bunch and killed a puppy (just kidding) if I hadn’t had a little help.  So many other nights too!

Whether it’s schoolwork I need help with from a professor, man-advice from my best girlfriend, life-advice from my parents, or spiritual advice from a dusty book on my shelf, it’s there to be lovingly used.

A little bit of help goes a long way, and I am so thankful to have these resources.

Thank You.

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Happiness is…

Despite my previous post stating that I can’t search for happiness like I would a lost puppy, I thought I’d end this chilly night on a positive note and think of the things that do make me happy. Seeing as it’s a new day, I might as well try to be less of a grouch and appreciate the little things.  So here goes…

Happiness is…

A dog kiss on a terrible day

Sierra, a pit bull I fostered some time ago. She taught me so much about responsibility and unconditional love

A hot bowl of ramen with sriracha when I’m starving

A light drizzle of rain and a glass of red wine

A chocolate chip cookie from your best girl at midnight on your birthday

Photos of my smiling family

My family and I in New Delhi, India

Phone calls and wise words from the ones I love

A good hug when I need it most

My favorite song first thing in the morning

Sore feet after dancing all night at a concert

I eat so much Ramen it’s kind of gross. But still, I love it.

Getting letters in the mail

Spicy curries

The scratchiness and voluminous of a record

Being proud of my mother

Watching my father play guitar

Having a beer with my brother

and sometimes even,

Finding a hat that fits just right.

I suppose happiness comes in all shapes and sizes, and considering that several of these things happened this horrible Monday, I guess it was not so horrible after all.

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