Monthly Archives: October 2016

WTFWJD?

I wish I had more to say today, but I just don’t. I’m going to try and pull out feelings, but mostly today I’ve been asleep. I am not ignoring the fact that I don’t have a job, but I am also not ignoring that it’s nice not to have one in the midst of recovering from the worst thing that has ever happened in my world… and my world was broken before. My mother dying is just the latest thing that’s happened. In fact, my landlady and my adopted family speak of it, and not in hushed tones (blessedly), but straight to my face. They believe I have endured so much, and this is just the shitty icing on the burnt cake.

Let’s review, shall we?

Dana and I broke up in Feb. 2015, after having broken up in 2013 for approximately an hour and a half… not knowing why I couldn’t make it stick, but I couldn’t, so that the denouement was painful and slow until it was traumatic. It seems cruel to have asked her to pick up her life and move with me to Houston and then break up with her, but she had enough of her own money that she could have done whatever she wanted. I did not feel like I was making her stay anywhere, or that I would have left her out in the cold had she had none of her own resources. In fact, if I’d been the one with the large sum of money, I would have given it to her, because my heart was broken but my brain wasn’t… Just because I couldn’t continue to be married to her didn’t mean that all my friendship neurons disappeared. To me, being friends and being married were just different commitments, and I did not want to break both… at first.

I broke up with her because she had once again, broken my confidentiality with something I specifically told her to keep quiet… a repeating pattern in my own life with Argo, because Argo thought I couldn’t keep my trap shut and simultaneously said to make sure Dana read everything so she’d know that Argo wasn’t at fault for anything… that those “in love with her mind” feelings were mine to deal with and were not reciprocated, which was how I felt about the matter. I was never deluded into thinking that they were until Dana called my attention to it (repeatedly), and because she was someone I trusted implicitly, I later thought she might be right (she was, in fact, not). Those “in love with her mind” feelings WERE my shit to deal with and I did, quite successfully, once I was out of the tug-of-war Dana thought they were having (and were, in fact, not).

The fact that Argo told me to tell Dana everything didn’t stick in my mind. The notion that I’d hurt Argo on purpose because she told me I did stuck like glue. The fact that she did not put any constraints on “tell her everything” was lost on me, and if I’d put more thought into it than I did, I would have realized that saying “tell her everything” did not render past confirmation of confidentiality null and void… nor did I realize that when she said “this goes no further than here,” that meant Dana, too. Because, as I have learned since, it’s ok to have friends apart from your partner, to share secrets that deserve honesty, but always respect. I didn’t know that then, because I’d never had a friend like that before.

It wasn’t about isolating me from Dana, it was about our relationship being separate from my marriage, and that wasn’t a bad thing. Dana and I didn’t always have to come as a package deal, and the fact that I thought we did was in itself inherently in my worst interest… not with Argo… with all my friends.

It stripped me of my ability to see myself as a complete entity unto myself, lost without my other half. That’s probably the biggest reason I haven’t dated anyone since. I don’t want to give up my independence, and want to make sure that I have healthy coping mechanisms for continuing to be self-sufficient in a relationship as well as I do without one. Because there are no more package deals. The two-for-one special isn’t always going…

So it was a nasty breakup and World War Me with Argo as we’ve gone through so many extreme highs and lows, both willing to forgive an enormous amount of shit right up until we couldn’t anymore. Neither of us should be willing to stay no matter how bad it gets, hoping against hope that it will get better when we’ve seen no evidence of it. The things she’s said to me run through my mind constantly in a good way, memories as opposed to creating a future, because the future does not render past laughs invalid.

I keep a small flame of hope alive that one day there will be this great redemption story, because to not is to think contrary to who I am. There is always redemption, even in the middle of disaster. I don’t think that way because of how she feels, but because I am a Christian, and I would be really bad at my faith if I didn’t see resurrection in all things, and I refuse to walk around in Good Friday. I want to be one of the Easter people in what is seemingly a Good Friday world.

In my own mind, it is Holy Saturday, a constant vigil for everything I’ve lost because I don’t know that the resurrection is even a thing, as the Disciples didn’t, either. I have one advantage over them knowing that resurrections do indeed happen all the time, but in this case, I cannot search for what it might be because I am not through crying and tearing my clothes over the many Good Fridays that have happened in a relatively short amount of time.

I just have to remember that they didn’t happen to me. I participated in the end of my relationships with both Dana and Argo, and my mother didn’t die because I didn’t love her enough. It happened of its own accord. In this case, it isn’t about me, and to think so is to encourage ego to get in the way. I am not the center of the universe.

However, I am responsible for my tiny part.

Speaking of which, on Sunday I am singing “ballsetto,” because we’re doing an anthem that requires tenors we don’t have. I think I’m going to go up to the church and work on the part, because I was doing ok with a strong tenor next to me at choir and when he wasn’t singing with me, I couldn’t immediately find where I was supposed to be (we do have tenors, they’re just not going to be there on Sunday). When you’re used to reading the top line, reading the third one down gets tricky at page turns, and in this particular piece, the accompaniment is no help. I’m hoping that by doing the work on Saturday, I might even be able to look up at the conductor once in a while.

I just wish I had a horrible cold, because it makes my low Fs come out so nicely.

Maybe I should go to a cigar bar tomorrow night. Nothing turns a soprano into a tenor faster than a Macanudo.

It’s also casual Sunday, which means we’re not wearing robes. I wish I still had my WTFWJD? T-shirt.

Because at this point, that’s really all I have to say.

How Can I Keep from Singing?

I went to choir tonight because I needed music and friends, in that order. Ingrid and Leslie #1 are closest to me, and we cracked each other up the entire time…. Well, not the entire time. I made it all the way to 8:50 before I cried so hard that I was shaking uncontrollably, and Leslie (who lost her mother when her mother was only 52) and Ingrid just wrapped their arms around me and held me close until the piece was over.

Everything just collapsed inside me, because I’d sung that piece before at Epiphany with Joseph Painter, and between losing him as a voice teacher and losing my mother as my accompanist (a truly special relationship in addition to just being my mom), I was a total mess. There were about ten full seconds that I thought I was going to go into a full-blown panic attack and I didn’t have any Klonopin in my backpack and I hadn’t taken it earlier… but at the same time, I do not regret it in the slightest. If I had, it would not have been the same choir practice, one in which I needed to sob uncontrollably at God working through music, #prayingontherests (See what I did there? I thought it was clever, too). Sam, the interim choir director now that Nae has left, just lost her mother last year, and we talked for about 30 minutes afterward. I told her about the intense feelings I had about my grief not being for the past, but for the lost future. We all think we have more time, but again, “here today, gone tomorrow” is a thing- in Toby Ziegler’s voice every time.

Sam and Leslie #1 were both Leo McGarry- “I’ve been in this hole before, and I know the way out.”

I needed to go to choir because I found this blog entry from 2003:

I know I am not alone when I say that at 13, I mentally, physically, and spiritually lost touch with my mother. Though I would like to say that it was all due to normal teenage angst, it was actually a mutual blessing and releasing process. She had made it clear through thought, word, and deed that she did not want to raise a lesbian daughter. I made it clear that should she treat me as if lesbian were my only adjective, I was going to need more than she could give.

It was not without incident. I could see the pain behind my mother’s eyes as she watched my clean, pure mother-love transfer away to the woman who would guide me through adolescence. I could sense that she felt powerless to stop it- and at times, wanted to reach across the divide. It was in those moments that I felt equally impotent, unable in my 13-year-old mind to divide loyalties and regain ground that had been lost.

It was a time of deep, impenetrable fog, and the piano was our only lighthouse. Hearing her fingers fly over the keys would rescue me, if only for a moment, from the dark weather moving across my mind. Occasionally, I would sit next to her, turning the pages in her music when she was involved in a difficult passage. It was the closest that we could come to being in communion with each other.

Last year, after living in Washington, DC for several months, I went back to Houston and visited with my mother. Though the conversation was light and easy, it was as if we were two friends… simply “ladies who lunch.” Then she suggested she show me the music she had planned for her church choir on Sunday. I sat down next to her, intent on doing “my job.”

As she started to play, I could feel a lump starting to invade my throat, and my eyes welled in a familiar stinging sensation. The connection that we had felt all those years ago had returned, bringing with it a different kind of peace, one that transcended both of our past transgressions.

No, our relationship would not, could not be the same as it was… but new emotions were starting to wash over me. We were now free to make a new covenant, mindful of the road on which we had walked… but diverging sharply into unfamiliar territory.

From 2003 to 2016, we had a very different relationship than the one we had when I was a teen, because as a teen, you just don’t get the concept that your mother is irreplaceable and to try as hard as you can to love her despite your differences. I also have a different perspective on what I have done, what I have left undone, and what wasn’t my fault. The only thing that’s left is regretting that our relationship didn’t continue to move past my teenage years and all the processing power it took out of me, because I allowed myself to spend so much more time thinking about her, because as a kid I didn’t want to be close to anyone who didn’t want to be close to me. I am probably wrong that she didn’t want to be close to me, and it is more accurate that she didn’t know how. When you are so conflicted about the ideas of sin and nature, how is it possible to bridge that gap?

Time.

And it ran out.

To Infinity and Beyond…

In this scene, one of the main characters, Amos, is attending one of his seminary classes after he’s just finished reading Paul Tillich’s Dynamics of Faith. I bought it immediately after reading this scene.

And on around the table it went, one student after another disagreeing with Tillich’s proposition.

[Editor’s Note: The theory that there is only one ultimate, unconditional concern, and that is for the unconditional itself. Tillich called it “our passion for the infinite.” Rob Bell discusses this at length on his podcast, called The RobCast, starting with episode 111, Pete Rollins on God, Part 1, and there are four altogether.]

The professor asked, “what about when the middle managers at IBM look in the mirror first thing in the morning, or last thing at night? What do they see there?”

“They see profit and loss,” Mike answered, “and I don’t mean metaphorically. They see the company they work for.”

Amos said nothing; his tongue seemed to have failed him. But he thought one thing over and over, the way he used to think a single thought in church on Sunday until he nearly choked on it: You are all wrong. You are all completely wrong about this. We live lives that are hopelessly broken, and we know it.

Haven Kimmel, The Solace of Leaving Early

I don’t shave my legs that often when it’s not shorts weather, but today I did. I have this habit of reading my Kindle for 15-20 minutes in the bathtub to let the aloe strip on the razor get soft so that I A) won’t get razor burn and II) won’t cut the shit out of my knees and ankles.

I love this book from beginning to end, having first read it in 2003, picking it up over and over as the years roll by. Every time, it’s a different story dependent upon where I am in my own life, and today was no exception. I’m reading along and I hit that last line in the quote, and I start shaking and crying with grief in the water- rocking myself and saying, “help me.” Of course I was talking to God. As Anne Lamott famously said, and I’m paraphrasing, “there’s really only three prayers… help, thanks, and wow.” “Help me” became my mantra, self-soothing until I could breathe.

My mother didn’t have to die for me to know that my life was hopelessly broken way before that… and yet, it was her death that broke the dam, because if there has been anyone in my life that truly contained “passion for the infinite,” it was her… and even then, it wasn’t for her own infinite possibilities. It was for mine.

She saw greatness in me long before I did, and I’m not sure she ever really grasped how my homosexuality, emotional abuse, and chemical imbalance combined to render me incapable of it in my own mind. I knew I wanted to be a pastor at 16, and back then (mid-90s), who would have ordained a lesbian? When those rules changed, I didn’t necessarily change with them, because the church that raised me still wouldn’t ordain me, even if I was the greatest theological mind in a hundred years (I’m not.).

I have long known that I am my biggest obstacle, and when I graduate with a BA and an MDiv, it will be because I have finally learned to shove myself out of the way. The external rocks have been moved- I jumped denominations, twice. At first, I wanted to be an Episcopal priest, but a stranger on the steps of the Supreme Court changed my mind. He was a UCC pastor, wearing a black shirt and a clerical collar. He told me that the reason he switched from Episcopal Church USA to UCC was that he wanted more out of liturgy than “turn to page 355.” I was literally stunned into silence.

Why did I want someone else controlling every aspect of my service except the sermon? I’m a writer. The UCC has no polity; if I wanted to introduce Anglican elements into my service, I had every “rite” to do so. When Dr. Susan Leo handed her pulpit to me, on every occasion I wrote the entire service, front to back. If I’d been any kind of smart, I would have saved some of those calls to worship……..

I found Christ Congregational Church because it was an eight minute walk from my house, but I had no intention of remaining there. The Episcopal church was an hour bus ride away, and that was all there was to it. My reasoning was that I could probably show up on Sunday mornings, but any kind of community like youth group or choir that required me to show up more than a couple of hours a week was out.

I had no idea until I happened upon the stranger that it was literally God stepping in to say, “ummmmm… I think this is where you really belong.” Let’s just say that I have internalized “retroactive continuity…” as if learning that one of my favorite pastor bloggers was now my pastor in real life wasn’t a big enough (rainbow?) flag. How did I not know? I never read his “About Me” page, and nearly jumped out of my skin when he mentioned his blog in church one day.

I am not naive about the gargantuan amount of work I need to do on myself to be ready for this task. If all I had to do was prepare the bulletin and get up every Sunday to preach, I could start tomorrow. But I have made so many mistakes in not taking care of people that the years I’m in school will be all about learning healthy coping mechanisms, clinical separation, and just generally trying not to fuck people up. Being a preacher is easy. Being a pastor is ridiculously hard… and I hate to say it, but there are thousands of people in pulpits already that have no idea those things are different… simply their ordination renders them capable of counseling people whether they know how or not, often to disastrous results.

I am leaning on the words of Nadia Bolz-Weber in Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People.

Those most qualified to speak the gospel are those who truly know how unqualified they are to speak the gospel.

God, please help me not be an asshole, is about as common a prayer as I pray in my life.

And finally,

The movement in our relationship to God is always from God to us. Always. We can’t, through our piety or goodness, move closer to God. God is always coming near to us. Most especially in the Eucharist and in the stranger.

These are the thoughts that stop me from shaking in grief and insecurity. If my mother could believe in my infinite possibilities, I owe it to her to at least try to believe them myself…………….

Amen.
#prayingonthespaces

Apologizing in Person

Apparently, God knew I needed a break from being distraught, because yesterday was one of the greatest days of my life…. the only distraction from it is that I couldn’t tell my mom…. or more accurately, she wouldn’t read it here and exclaim how happy she was for me into my voice mail. The day was beautiful from start to finish, but there’s definitely a high point.

I met Dan and crew at Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch out in Middletown, MD at about 3:00. It was an excellent road trip, because I was singing the entire way. When I got there, I made tons of pictures and walked through all the arts and crap…. the only thing I saw that really caught my attention was a kitchen towel that said, “Bless This Hot Mess.” I would have used it as a washrag.

I’d forgotten that Dan had lost her mother until it was time for lunch, and Dan asked me about mine…. and remembered seeing the pictures on Facebook of Dan in her Army uniform, standing next to a radiantly beautiful woman, and my voice cracked when I told her that. We stood in the food line, hugging it out, gratitude pouring out of me that not only did I have a good friend, but one who’d been swimming in the same waters I’d just been pushed.

We had all kinds of fair food- I had a hot dog and fries, and even though I normally don’t like hot dogs, this one was excellent- perhaps because of the package that went WITH the hot dog as opposed to the food itself. I was at a full table of friends, people that I’d met at Dan’s house before, so I just felt comfortable in my own skin.

After lunch, we went for a hay ride deep into the pumpkin patch, where, we joked, we learned that pumpkins do not grow on trees. I didn’t buy a pumpkin because I didn’t know where I’d put it, but again, I did take beautiful pictures of the vines and their exceedingly large fruit.

One vine was withered to shit and I thought, “Jesus was here.” Obscure joke. Talk to your parents (if you get both of those references, clearly we need to be best friends).

We got on the last hay ride back to the parking lot, where we we proceeded to a little town called Frederick for dinner. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but we got there an hour early, so we decided to go to a coffee bar called NOLA to wait.

I walked in, and Lindsay leaned over to me, and said, “don’t look now, but that guy over there is David Sedaris.” I immediately knew what I had to say to him, and I waited for my chance. I walked up and said, “David, I owe you an apology.”

He said, “okay.” And just waited.

I said, “years and years ago, I saw you in Portland, where you had a Q&A. I was getting frustrated that you couldn’t see my hand go up and I yelled, ‘DAVID! UP HERE!’ You said, ‘ohhhh, we do not yell….’ and the lights went down. I’m sorry I was such a spazzbasket.”

He said that the only reason he said that is usually the people who yell are drunk and don’t ask good questions, anyway. I agreed with this. They probably are.

But I was just lost in my own need to tell him something, and I got my chance.

“David, I just wanted to tell you how much Jesus Shaves meant to me, particularly the line about how if we had the right words to explain what was going on with religion, would it really have gone any better?” He smiled genuinely, thanked me, and walked into the night.

Not many people get to write about meeting their writing heroes.

But I just did.

The rest of the night, I chatted amicably with all of my friends, my insides bursting with “I JUST MET DAVID SEDARIS” glow.

Who would have thought that by getting out of my comfort zone a little bit, a lotta bit would happen?

I certainly did not, but I need to remember this life lesson. Faith as small as a grain of mustard seed is all it takes to make great things grow. I could have easily stayed in bed, and thought about it. But that small hope of seeing Dan and her friends lifting my spirits turned my world on its ear in a good way.

All writers are introverts, which is why I didn’t dare ask for a photo…. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in one, either. In a way, though, that’s fine. That memory is only for me. You’ll have to live with the description that he is even more handsome in person, and that with keyhole bridge glasses and a tweed coat, he looked like the perfect picture of a writer… whether it was taken or not.

 

 

Room

Leslie: Are you making room for grief?
Aaron: I don’t have to. Grief makes its own room.

I’ve published this conversation before, but it seems especially apt now. For reasons I promised to keep confidential, I have left Decision Software. But what I will say is that they are an amazing company and it was a very amicable parting. They were kinder than any company I’ve ever worked for, going above and beyond what they needed to do to make my separation easier. Of course, if you are close to me and want the real story, I will tell it. But there’s not really much more to it than that. I think the reason they went above and beyond is that I was good for them and vice versa.

It was actually very nice that I could leave for Houston at a moment’s notice because I actually left the week before my mother died, so I could have stayed a lot longer than I actually did. I just didn’t tell anyone until now because telling people that my mother died was hard enough without being unemployed on top of it. The difference is that I made so much money while I was at DSI that I don’t have to worry about finding a job right away. I have four months’ worth of living expenses saved up, which will give me plenty of time to find a new job, because my rent and bills total $795 flat.

I didn’t buy a car, I didn’t move out into my own place, I didn’t blow any money on anything, which has totally worked in my favor. Even though he is a conservative Christian, I listen to the Dave Ramsey podcast like a fiend, and his words about an emergency fund stuck in my head. I felt that because I was single, there was no better time in my life to get my financial house in order… because now, my main goal in life is just to be happy, and any job will keep me from losing that four months of savings. If I wanted to reduce it to three months for another professional certification, I just might. We shall see what we shall see.

Alternatively, I can’t afford to go without a job altogether, but I have enough money and my bills are low enough to work part-time so that when school starts in January, I can be there…. and that may be the best response to grief I could have…. to stop doing what I need to do to make money and start doing the things I need to do to make money later on. There would be no better tribute to my mother than to walk across the stage and get my diploma after playing catch-up all these years.

I am so lucky that I have so much work experience not to need a degree for most computer jobs, because many, many people have taken the same route I have… using the phrase on the job description that says “degree or equivalent work experience.” I have 20 years’ worth of helping people solve their computer problems, and it truly works in my favor. Right now I am signed up with two different freelancing services, one called Thumbtack and one called Outsource. Thumbtack is for computer support. Outsource is for writing- all kinds, even blog entries. It’s a shame I’m not good at either one of those things…….

The best thing about freelancing is making my own schedule, and being able to work from home. The worst thing about freelancing is working from home. Anyone who works from home will tell you that it’s a blessing and a curse.

I also have a head hunter that’s been sending me possible jobs every day, and that part is nice, too. My resume is all over the place, except for positions that require relocation. It’s just not going to happen. I don’t want to move again, and DC is my favorite place on earth. I will never move if I can help it, for a multitude of reasons.

The only thing that really bugged the shit out of me the other night was that I parked for about two or two and a half hours in Adams Morgan and it was $20.00. Note to self: TAKE THE METRO. I have $20.00, but not for that. Perhaps I should go back to the parking garage and see if I was overcharged, or whether it was the time of night I was asking to park. I don’t mind paying the money if it was truly owed, but if their automatic system was wonky, that’s different.

I’m not worried, though, because my entire bill at Madam’s Organ was only $9.00, and that was including the tip. Apparently, they do not give free refills. 😛

When I got home, I slept through the night and all day Thursday. It’s my reaction to grief, to get away from it and dwell in my dreams. My mother and my friends visit me and we talk a lot. It’s not about being sleepy. It is escaping the weight of the world, and I feel much better today. I was up by 0600, as per my usual. I just didn’t start writing right away as I normally do. I just had no idea what to say. What is there to say except “my mother just died and that fact is with me every day, all day, and there’s really not another story to write?” Probably why I decided to reveal I don’t have a job. I wanted to write about something else besides death.

Although losing this job was a kind of death, twofold in its loss. The first is that I really miss the people. The second is that I don’t have a place to go every day. Well, actually, I do. Coffeehouses are my office outside my office. I use Starbucks the most often because I save the most money that way. In using Starbucks, I get free refills on coffee and tea, and I gather stars quickly for free drinks, especially if I order beforehand on the app.

The gift card my mother gave me still has over $12.00 on it, and I still haven’t spent it… ditto for the IHOP gift certificate. It’s like once they’re gone, so is she. I did take her out of my phone, because I couldn’t bear to look at her picture and her phone number every day. However, I haven’t erased her Netflix profile. I kind of want to know what she was watching when she died, which was a lot due to her broken foot.

The interesting thing is that I know she’d WANT me to have coffee and double blueberry pancakes…. just another thing where I cannot even. The key card for my hotel room where we stayed the night before her funeral is still in my wallet, and I doubt I’ll ever take it out.

And here I am, writing about death again, when all I really wanted to do was write about life.

 

When I Got the Call

This is what I was writing when I got the call that my mother had been rushed to the hospital. I was still writing when my sister called back to say she was dead.


I actually got up early enough for choir today, and despite my better judgment, went. I decided to ride the line between being anxious about the possible music choices and my need to interact. I walked into a service that was all music, all the time, because the choir had toured Europe over the summer and they were doing all their “greatest hits.” I sight-read everything, and thanked the conductor for choosing pieces that were easy enough for me to do so… and she gave me an INCREDIBLE compliment… “they weren’t… you’re just that talented.” It’s true, I was on my game today, but normally sight-reading is my biggest musical downfall because I am too dumb to math.

Everyone was *overjoyed* I was back, and Ingrid said, “man… you sound really good.” It’s because I felt good, and, as I half-kidded, “I have bad back problems and I couldn’t take one more Sunday in the pews.” They are seriously made of hardwoods and hatred. I am sure they are more comfortable without a corkscrew scoliosis, but for me, they make the nerves from my back to my legs go numb and the part of my spine that sticks out a bit rough and painful. I haven’t seen a massage therapist in years, and I’ve never seen a chiropractor. Need to remedy that……

I thought of my mom the whole time, because she would have wanted to buy every piece for her own choir, especially one in the style of Andre Crouch/Mark Hayes. I just need to rewire my brain to think of my mother during church services, because thinking of how much fun we’d have together if she was there makes my day. In fact, I told her that if I did any solo stuff at CCC, I’d love for her to come up and accompany me. One Sunday she came and played a solo during the offertory when I was preaching at Bridgeport in Portland, and my sister and I cried all the way through it…. and then she cried all the way through my sermon. Turnabout is fair play.

During the service, there was also a slideshow of the youth on their mission trip in Atlanta, which I really wanted to attend as well but couldn’t take the time off from work. Off course the work was really meaningful, but my jealousy started eating my lunch when I saw the photos from “World of Coca-Cola.” #bucketlist

The things they were doing in Atlanta also need to be done here in Silver Spring, so really must advocate for that. Some parts of SS are tony and look a little Portland, a little Alexandria. Some parts are just flat poor and torn up. If we’re really going to be the church instead of attending one, it needs to be a priority to get out into those neighborhoods and beautify. That can take on many forms, from feeding people to rebuilding porches and cleaning out yards.

Maybe I’ll bring it up when I get to youth group tonight. Action creates inertia.

After youth group, I am meeting a woman I met on OK Cupid (hopefully)- no solid plans yet but we are overjoyed to have found each other, because we are both Houston born and raised, both sopranos (has done Italian opera, I have eaten spaghetti). Where we differ is that she is a lawyer and I just like to argue a lot…. although I do have a paralegal certificate, so………..

She got into HSPVA, but moved the summer before 9th grade and didn’t get to go. So her exact words to me about it were “jealous as hell.” Forging new friendships is so exciting, free dopamine for someone who could really use it.

Speaking of free dopamine, still looking forward to meeting up with my precious Pri Diddy. Tuesday can’t come fast enough. I would seriously have to be dead before I missed that meeting. I say this because I am a bit sniffly today, taking Zyrtec and Sudafed PE and probably going to stop on the way home tonight for some real Sudafed and some Afrin.

In other news, my douchebag roommate moved out. He was nice enough, but he had two flaws. The first is that he was a raging homophobe behind my back and nice to my face… and he never cleaned anything. Anything. If it was a “shared” responsibility, it was my responsibility. Hoping that male or female, the next roommate is both eye candy and OCD.

Letting it Out

I watched this video that my dad posted of someone playing Reverie by Claude Debussy (because my mother played it at her senior recital in college) and I broke inside. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing as I rocked myself and said, “no, Mommy… no….” I haven’t called her Mommy since before Lindsay was born, but I did today. At the time, I thought an almost-six-year-old who helped take care of a baby was too big to call her mother “Mommy.” Having a baby sister when I was old enough to really help was a big deal. I walked taller immediately. There were times I was jealous of my mother because Lindsay had to be fed and therefore, she was “taking her away from me.” I mean, logically, I couldn’t let Lindsay starve, but my life got better when we switched her to bottles… and worse when she learned to hold it herself. 😉

Actually, when Lindsay started doing things by herself, she never wanted to stop. Pretty much her first words were “by MYSELF!”

Incidentally, given how much I hate to drive now, it is ironic that my first words were “car keys.”

We were so much different as children (more alike now)- about as opposite as they come. I was physically delayed and didn’t walk properly until I was almost two, given an EXTRAORDINARY amount of physical therapy that my mother cried all the way through because even though she knew it would help me in the long-term, she hated watching me in pain as she bent my legs. Being so physically delayed, I had a lot of time to sit around and think about things. While Lindsay is the one with all the cute mispronounced words and malapropisms (my favorite being “stunk” for “skunk,” because accuracy), I could speak in full sentences at about a year- which caused a woman in the grocery store to accuse my mother of throwing her voice, because as a preemie, I looked like I was about six months old.

Lindsay was much more physically active, and constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know why she didn’t want to sit quietly and do things, so she was a constant pain in my ass when she was a toddler, whereas I was an old lady even then. My mother was much more protective of me than she was of Lindsay, because Lindsay didn’t have the physical ailments that I did. In some ways, it backfired, because it made me overly afraid that I couldn’t do things, and wouldn’t even try…. which is why it is even more funny that my first girlfriend was an athlete. Talk about opposite children…. At the time, I really didn’t understand why my mother felt so overprotective. Looking back, I see it perfectly. She treated Lindsay and me differently because her experiences of us were so disparate.

My mother was so glad she was having a second girl, though, because she wanted to give me the relationship she’d had with her own sister growing up. However, we did not have brothers to bind us together against them as they did, so while I have lots of fond childhood memories of Lindsay, we weren’t as close as children as we are now. Lindsay didn’t even start school until I was in sixth grade, so we didn’t have the same friends, the same interests, the same anything until college, when I went back to University of Houston and we ended up in Con Law together…. where everyone just called us “the girls.” In study groups and in going out after class, no one wanted to invite one of us and not the other, so it was easy shorthand. “Did you invite the girls?”

We’re even closer now, because I view Lindsay as my mother’s biggest gift to me now that she’s gone… because, of course, it’s not that she wanted another child. It’s that she wanted to give me a present…. and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I feel that perhaps taking the Klonopin allowed me to keep all of this bottled up, because I have not taken it today, and finally, all the darkness I’ve been feeling spilled onto the floor in a heap, and in writing about Lindsay, I feel better… a lightness of being.

There’s just one more thing.

I’ve always taken care of Lindsay when my mom wasn’t around, and now I know there’s money on the table for pizza…. but she’s not coming home.

Amen.
#prayingonthespaces