I’m a big believer in happily ever after. I subscribed to Disney movies with a fervor that conservatives would envy, and I stand by my arguments of meant to be. Even with a broken heart and a jaded view of life, I am a vehement defender of all things mushy, and none of that makes me sad.
Yesterday, I had one of those days that reminds you to believe in God. I woke up early to great weather and the sun shining through my big window. Sitting outside of the patio of Panera, I read my book by myself and ate a sandwich while (unintentionally) eavesdropping on two people nearby. They weren’t a couple, maybe a brother/sister combo, or long-time male/female friends. When she got up to go to her car, she yelled over at him, “You’re loved.” He looked back and said, “You are too!”
Hearing that exchange made me inexplicably happy. There I was, by myself in the middle of the day, anxiousy awaiting a brazilian wax that was sure to be inexplicably painful and I couldn’t help but feel myself light up behind my massive sunglasses. How awesome was that, I thought to myself. That’s all we ever want to hear… That we’re loved, by anyone in this big, crazy world. And the way they did it, like it was so obvious that the other was loved, adored by another was absolutely refreshing and in a way that I so desperately needed to hear. Whoever they are, wherever they went after their lunch, I owe them both a debt of gratitude… I felt loved by simply being nearby such a nonchalant good-bye. And I ask anyone who reads this to just remind someone they love them today, right now. You never know how much someone you adore needs to hear it, and you never know what sort of blessing you’ll inflict by spreading your message to those fortunate enough to be near to listen in.
I fell in love. I stumbled into what I was certain was meant to be, and I was mistaken. The same man who wondered at my stubborn dedication to fairy-tale futures was the same one to prove himself right. My father was unfaithful. The boss that I swore would change the world couldn’t salvage his own marriage because of his lack of integrity. And the man I prayed for every night turned out to be one of the same crowd. I don’t give up on my hope for love though, or my belief that everyone has a someone out there meant to love them for the absolute wreck we all are. I give up on him. I give up on the person I so sincerely believed him to be… the person he didn’t believe in himself enough to become.
That’s okay. though. We live, we learn, and we go on. I’m no exception to this rule.
I spent the day on the patio of a bar with my best friend. Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and I will no doubt spend it working, I have come to term with this. But as we left the bar, I came across an interesting sign…
My roommate and I died laughing… For different reasons. Her Valentine’s Day is going to be Santa Barbara with a guy who would give both legs to see her smile. My valentine’s day will be something more along the lines of the people who will hang out with their pets. Frankly, I’d rather just be alone than hang out with Charlie the Miracle Dog.
But regardless, I found myself smiling. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the people you love, not just the people you love who have the opposite genatalia. And yes, I find it a silly holiday, but the purpose is something inherently endearing to me. It’s a day when the majority of the American population get on my level and succumb to the idea that you can love someone enough to change the world, or at least, your own world.
People leave. They’ll disappoint you, or hurt you, or make you feel like you deserve to be unhappy (which is never true). The trick is to never let them trick you into believing that they are the whole representation of love, because they aren’t- especially if they make you doubt it. I’m a cynic with a seriously soft-heart, and that heart is filled with people I don’t remind often enough that they are more than I could dare to think I deserve.
So, do me a favor: don’t wait until Valentine’s Day or some other cheesy Hallmark-induced holiday to remind the people close to you that they make you smile. Also, please don’t bring your dog to the bar on Valentine’s Day. Softie as I may be, I will ridicule you.
But hold on to what you believe in the light
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight
So hold on to what you believed in the light
The holidays always seem to ambush me… Some sort of unexpected gust of wind that takes me from the mundane life I have come to shape for myself. And as quickly as they come- they vacate, leaving me with the debris of wrapping paper, the sweet memories of family and good food and joking banter with my sweet but absolutely irritating younger brother. This year proved to be no exception. I sat on Christmas eve wondering where the eff Christmas spirit was hiding, why I had yet to embrace it when all of a sudden it was Christmas day and then, before I had time to register it, it was the day after Christmas. The holiday hangover.
My best friend’s dad is sick. From needing a transplant to life support to up and staring down hospice care…. it’s a frightening thing to deal with. This is D’s dad… the fellow blogger, fellow cynic, fellow over-analytic woman who is my soul mate who mentions me in her blog which may or may not qualify me as famous (www.youkitschme.wordpress.com). During one of the visits I made to his hospial bed, Baba Gut (a nickname he ordained himself with… which is, in all honesty, quite fitting), imparted words of wisdom on us. Words that made me cry, words that hit home, words that had impeccable timing, and words that I’ll let D explain if she ever decides to do that… because they aren’t mine to say.
But this was the first holiday season that was coupled with reality of growing up. Looking around the table on Christmas night, I realized that the people gathered around my heart each year will change. I will gather new souls to mine, while mourning the loss of others, and each year the numbers will more likely than not dwindle. Life is, like someone said in Esquire recently (don’t judge my less-than-profound reference, ass), a generally sad thing- with bright spots that are moments of happiness. So this year taught me another lesson I never asked for. (Isn’t that always the way? Lessons, flying like knives from the back, never the front where we can prepare and ready ourselves… becuase we would duck them and the wisdom that they painfully force upon us). What was the lesson?
Years ending in even numbers will always be worse than years ending in odd numbers.
I don’t care if I sound crazy- I say/write this with a very solemn face and brown eyes that remain unblinking. Crazy works for me, and I have long since shed that accompanying shame. Screw you.
That’s mostly a joke. Key word being mostly. But 2010 wasn’t my year… I’ve explained this as both an excuse, a scapegoat and a target repeatedly on this very screen. Normally, I obligingly write a yearly wrap-up sort of thing… As if my life is a non-profit that owes an explanation for how it spent its time to a board of old, mostly white directors. Only it’s not. And if there were a board of directors in my life, it would be the few people I’ve decided I’d give a flying fuck about… which don’t want to read any more of my whining. The lesson being, then, that I can’t keep perpetuating the same shit that I say makes me miserable. People hurt you. Life has moments that make you curse at innocent plants and then at yourself for being such a loon that you could possibly mutter evil words at inanimate objects. At the worst moment, you’ll stub your toe and traffic will suck. You should have known better and
if you didn’t- now you do. In sum: growing up sucks.
Which is why I am letting 2010 pass without a fight. I’ve sort of gone into hiding, reading the books I’ve long stared at but always said I never had the time for and actually going to the movies (while smuggling diet coke in my purse because fountain soda is fucking gross). During the remaining days of this year- I won’t put up a fight, I won’t argue my case and I won’t continue the bleating drone of how I was a victim of the economy, my family, life, and people I should have known better about. The only thing I was sincerely a victim of was myself. And maybe credit card people. They’re like vultures. All roads of blame trace back to me, and I finally have come to terms with this.
So. I won’t be writing about how much I hated 2010. Doesn’t mean I didn’t. But once upon a time, I had a conversation with an aunt who used to journal- used to jot down her memories and repeated the words of others and her own into notebooks stashed away in some anonymous box. When she was sick with cancer, I sat with her a few mornings and while sitting, wrote feverishly my own memories. I asked why she stopped writing. Her response burns me, years later: I like to think I stopped recording life and starting living my own.
Like Baba Gut, Aunt Betsy found wisdom in dark hours. I am still trying to find the balance between recording and living but swing violently from one end to the other in the mean time. And although I don’t know if I do a good job of putting the wisdom thrown at me to good use, I file it away. And like the other ones, those lessons will come to reveal themselves when I am a student deserving of learning whatever they have to teach.
Good Riddance, 2010. Kiss my ass. (okay. I’m a slow learner).