31 December 2014

A New Language for the New Year

“For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice.” ~ T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
This year has been the language of loss.  I lost everything this year.  I lost my faith, my hope, my dreams, my love, and to top it all off, I even lost my job last month.  With everything that I lost this year, I had to learn acceptance.  I had to learn to accept that there are things that happen that are beyond our control. Acceptance can be a bitter pill to swallow.  But swallow you must, no matter how vile or nauseating or painful.



And after you swallow, you have to digest.  You have to let it sit inside of you, marinate your insides with its acid, and once processed, only then can you purge.  And after you purge, you can move on.

This year's lessons were difficult for me.  I hope next year can teach me different lessons -- ones that will go down much more easily.

12 August 2014

Un-Ringed Finger

“For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.” ~ Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
I had a habit of rubbing my thumb against it and adjusting it to sit perfectly around my finger.  It was always a little big on me, but I didn't mind it because its looseness was a reminder to me that it was on my finger.  I looked at it frequently, and was proud of what it symbolized: I belonged to him, and he belonged to me.

I took it off last week, and have not put it back on.  I rub my thumb against the empty finger, and I feel the ridge of my finger where the ring once was.  The emptiness of that finger reminds me of what I have lost, and of what was never mine.

He dropped the bomb on me on a sunny Saturday summer morning:  He and she are expecting a baby, and it is a boy - a baby, a boy that I had prayed to conceive during all these months that I had been undergoing fertility treatments.  I was unable to conceive, and now my dream was going to become another woman's reality.

All I feel now is betrayed.  By him, by God, by everyone.  I put my trust out there, only to have it explode in my face and shatter my heart.

I am not sure that I will be able to recover.

09 June 2014

Year Forty-Three

“All I know is that I've wasted all these years looking for something, a sort of trophy I'd get only if I really, really did enough to deserve it. But I don't want it anymore, I want something else now, something warm and sheltering, something I can turn to, regardless of what I do, regardless of who I become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow's sky. That's what I want now…" ~ Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans

photo by N o v a

I turned forty-three this year.  As is customary on my birthday, there was not a lot of fanfare.  I didn't even have cake.  Instead, the days preceding my birthday, I spent at the clinic listening to the words of my fertility doctor telling me that no matter how young I still looked, and no matter how healthy my lifestyle is, the woman's reproductive system has no aesthetic look, and at my age, its function, is quite dramatically reduced.

Although there is nothing "wrong" with me, the fact is, I am forty-three, and to naturally conceive at my age is nearly a miracle, and even with the assistance of modern technology, the chances are still lower than twenty percent.  Quite grim odds.

I have never felt older.

And I have never felt more angry.  I am angry at having spent forty-three years of my life doing what I was told, trying to do the right thing, and putting others before myself.  Even in the farce of a marriage with the alcoholic loser, everything inside me told me to leave, but I stayed because it was the "right thing to do" -- I had to stay and "help" him with his issues, and in the meanwhile, I was losing pieces of myself in the process.  Always, I had put others before myself.  I always lived with the mantra that if I was good to the universe and to all people, the universe and the people would be good to me in return.

That has not yet been the case.

I am still waiting for a miracle and some sort of sign that the future will bring me all the happiness that I did not witness in my earlier years.  May year forty-three be my year.

19 May 2014

Forsaken

"Or you might shout at the top of your lungs or whisper into your sleeve, "I hate you, God." That is a prayer too, because it is real, it is truth, and maybe it is the first sincere thought you've had in months." ~ Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers
I grew up believing in God, in His power, His grace, and His mercy.  I grew up believing that through Him, anything was possible.  "Ask and you shall receive." 

I prayed to Him nightly.  I always counted on Him to be there for me when I was at the end of my rope.  And when things were good in my life, I thanked Him for all my blessings.

But tragedy struck my family.  My baby sister was diagnosed with cancer and in front of my eyes, she was dying.  I prayed fervently and vehemently for Him to cure her.  I figured that since I very rarely asked Him for anything, He could at least grant me my one wish to save my only sister's life.

Despite my prayers, and those of all who loved her, she died anyway, a painful and cruel death at the tender age of twenty-two.

I thought surely that after suffering the devastating loss of my sister, He would let me live a peaceful, happy life filled with love and stability.  Instead, it was His will that I should meet and marry the alcoholic loser to whom I would lose the prime years of my life, even though I prayed for the opposite.

Everything that I asked Him to grant me, He gave me the opposite.

Eventually, I simply stopped asking.  Why ask?  For surely He would give me the exact opposite of what I wanted.  But "God doesn't give you want you want, but He gives you what you need", right?  Really?  Did I need to have my sister die?  Did I need to endure the hell that I was living during the years after her death?

And now I am at another crossroads in my life.  I need Him --- the Him that I loved and believed in when I was a kid, the one who I knew was on my side and the one who would never forsake me.  But I don't trust Him anymore. How can I come to Him when I no longer trust that He will grant me the wishes of my heart?  How can I trust Him when deep down I fear that not only will He not give me what I want, but might instead give me the exact opposite?

Where do the forsaken go?

18 May 2014

Face the Sun

“The Earth would die if the Sun stopped kissing her.” ~ Hafiz, The Gift
I have a little potted rose plant which I keep on my kitchen counter below the windowsill. I, a known former owner of a black thumb, have lovingly kept this rose plant alive and healthy. While I have killed no less than twenty plants in my life, I have become in recent years quite capable of growing and managing to keep alive several plants in my apartment.

While my little rose plant has managed to stay alive, I did notice that none of the leaves were growing and the rosebuds were not blooming. I decided to move the rose plant from below the windowsill to the ledge of the window to allow the sun to hit it more directly. Within a week, my plant grew four leaves, and the rosebuds started to bloom.

All it needed was to be kissed by the sun.

I started to think about our lives, we humans, and the ways we need to grow. How do we expand our wings and grow — into a better person, a better parent, a better friend, a better version of ourselves? 

Like my rose plant, we can manage to stay alive, but in what way do we face the sun so that not only are we alive, but we are actually living? We all need to get out from under the windowsill, stand on top of the ledge, lift our faces to the sky, and let the sun warm our lives with its kiss. Only then can our lives truly bloom.

19 February 2014

Restless

“I search for the words. Restless. As if you haven't really met yourself yet. As if you'd passed yourself once in the fog, and your heart leapt - 'Ah! There I Am! I've been missing that piece!' But it happens too fast, and then that part of you disappears into the fog again. And you spend the rest of your days looking for it.” ~ Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing
February 2014.  When I sit down and think of what year it is now, I get anxious.  Where has all the time gone?  There is so much to do, and too little time to do them.  I am unsure of where to begin and what I should do next.

I miss traveling.  I miss going to foreign places and immersing myself in the culture of whatever country I am visiting.  I miss the feeling of stepping foot in a place where I have never been and anticipating what adventure awaits me next.  I want to make plans with friends to visit somewhere new and spend some time in the summer drinking cocktails under the stars in a quaint little sidewalk bar.

I miss the smell of newborn babies.  I want to have more children and watch them grow right before my eyes.  I want to experience youth again by living through my future kids.  GP and I have been trying for six months, and as yet, have had no luck with conceiving.  Although I am not yet technically "too old", I am on the "later" spectrum of the breeding years and I have been advised by a fertility specialist that "time is of the essence."

Travel?  Or try to have more kids?  Realistically, I cannot do both at the moment.  I have to stay focused on one thing, and my mind is racing a million miles a minute.  I am tired, but yet I feel restless and unsettled and I ache to do something.  Anything.  

What plans should I make for the rest of year?  Should I make travel plans for the summer, or should I buckle down and start fertility treatments?  I don't know.  I have to decide first what I want to do.  But I want to do it all.

13 February 2014

Cracked Open

"The only obsession everyone wants: 'love.' People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you're whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You're whole, and then you're cracked open." ~ Philip Roth, The Dying Animal
Whenever I was single and alone, I felt empty.  I felt a gaping void inside myself that I thought could only be filled by being with somebody.  So to fill that emptiness until I found someone, I would travel, or write, or read, or take archery classes.  I listened to music and sang to myself as I experimented new recipes in the kitchen.  I went to church and talked to God.

After some time, I would not feel so vacant anymore.  In fact, I would feel fulfilled.  Whole.  I would feel content and happy with my own company, and the mere thought of inviting someone, a relationship, into my life, felt like a violation.  But I would, eventually, because I would remember how being with someone could feel so good.  My life would then become wrapped up with his life, and the hollowness in my life would then be filled by him and everything that surrounds "us."

So when that "us" falls apart, and when I am left with just myself, I start to miss all the things that being with him filled in my life.  I would then realize that I would not have a "plus 1" to bring to social events, and that I would not need to even make so many meals as it would only be just for me, just for one.

That is when I would feel sorry for myself.  I would feel the loneliness and I would suffocate in the empty space left by him.  I might even miss him, miss the warmth of his body next to mine, and forget about the way he used to blame me for everything that went wrong in his life.  I would forget the 262 ways he irritated me with his immaturity, and I would only think about how I am now supposed to look forward to lonely nights by myself.

I have to remember that I was complete without him.  Being with him, with anybody, you lose pieces of yourself to make their pieces fit in with yours.

I have to regain my pieces, while I am still with him.  I will vow never to let myself feel incomplete ever again.

09 February 2014

Vestiges

Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.” ~ Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
I always thought that I had a good memory.  I can remember minute little details from my childhood, like the flowery bedspread my mother gave me when I was in elementary school, and the yellow flowery pillow sheet that I used to cover my favorite pillow, and on which I laid my head for several years and cried on for many nights during my teen years.  I remember portions of events from when I was young, and I even remember how I felt during those moments.

G is six now and she is often curious about how I was when I was her age.  She lost her front tooth recently, and she asked me how long it took for mine to grow back when I had lost my front tooth.  I was surprised when I realized that I did not remember.  I have a very vague recollection of losing my teeth, but yet I can remember the exact layout of my bedroom in our house on Greenport Avenue in California.

I remember the time my sister came back from school one day when she was in first grade and she told me that she felt lonely because no one in school liked her.  I told her that she could sleep with me that night and I sang to her until she fell asleep.

I remember the day my brother went off to the military, and how I cried when he left.

I remember when my mother turned thirty-eight and how I was afraid that she was getting old.

I remember the time I wasted being angry with my dad and how we did not speak for much too long for a reason that no one can even remember anymore.

I am trying to piece back the vestiges of my childhood and early adult years and while I may not remember losing my first tooth, or the first time I fell or got hurt, the memories and events that I hold close to my heart, I will remember those for the rest of my life.