Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For Myself, and for Scott...

Well, it's been a long time coming, and I've been craving it, I'm back! Writing a little something for you, and for me. :)

I'm on this journey with my brother, Scott. On August 6th, I flew to Oregon to save his life. He was depressed to the point of (almost) no return, was wanting and waiting to die. He had given up. At nearly 700 pounds, who could really blame him?

For two months in Oregon I went crazy on his ass, implemented a new diet and exercise routine, and chatted with him daily about the positivities in life, the potential he has, the reasons he could focus on to get better. It worked.

I brought Scott back to Vegas with me a month ago. And here's where the story really starts. I've been feeling sorry for myself. I've been feeling like I've taken on too much, burdened myself with the ginormous responsibility of Scott's disease. I've been full of anxiety, full of doubt, and full of SHIT. Last night I realized something that brought me back to reality. A family dinner. So simple, so normal, so very honest, and so, so important.

When I first moved to Vegas, I adopted a brilliant little family almost instantly. Through a mutual connection, these people became my home-away-from-home, my link to job sources, my personal GPS in a city I had never driven in before, and my place to share, hug, and laugh. Last night they all came over for dinner, and Scott was introduced, instantly accepted, and loved as though they'd known him forever. We ate like it was Thanksgiving, we talked about nothing and everything, we played poker and ate some more. We bickered, rolled our eyes, debated things, laughed. We hugged, shared, winked, and smiled. A real family dinner.

After our guests left, Scott and I rehashed the night, laughing about everyone's quirks, and feeling generally satisfied. And then Scott said this, "I just LOVE a family dinner, it's what I've enjoyed most in life, and what I crave!" It wasn't until we were done chatting and I retreated to my room that I really thought about that comment, really thought about what that dinner meant.

Scott has not been to a family gathering for several years. We have a large extended family, and everyone gathers for one reason or another several times a year. I have missed some events because I'm far away or because of work. With Scott's inability to travel, he has missed them all. It has been YEARS since he experienced that camaraderie that comes with a family dinner. Years since he's felt the feeling of "family". And it brought me to tears.

There are lots of things in life we all take for granted without even knowing it. Family seems like it rides the top of the list most often. What Scott taught me last night was that I'm stupid, selfish, and forgetful. What I have been able to experience in this life is Mount Everest in comparison to Scott's little sand dune of life experience. And I am truly grateful for that. But, most of all, I am in awe at the beauty of the journey in front of us. The path we are on now, together, is something I cherish, and something I would never, ever want to give back. Who gets to be a part of something like this, really? Who gets to bring someone back from the brink, and live the process so truly? Who gets to give someone hope, and reap the rewards of that on a daily basis? Well, I do. Me. Wow! What a gift!

I regret to say, the reason I haven't written about all of this since a few weeks into my Oregon stay, is because I've been unable to shake my "poor, poor me" attitude. I was ashamed of it, but couldn't get away from it. I didn't want the world to know how utterly selfish I was. All the while, my friends and family have been telling me how strong I am, how wonderful I am to take on this "project", how great of a person I am for it. And all I could think was, "what the hell am I doing, and WHY am I doing this to myself?" Yeah, not the most humanitarian or selfless way to think or feel. But it was there, so much so that I sort of forgot what this is all about. Don't get me wrong, though, because there is not ONE MOMENT that I've regretted the keep my brother alive, and to help him live that life how he wants to, without the restrictions he has now.

I am of a different mind about it all today. I have finally come to a place in my heart and mind that isn't punishing, but happy...isn't doubtful, but proud...isn't sorry, but thankful. It feels much better to be in this place. It feels right, and productive. It feels hopeful, and I needed that...for myself, and for Scott.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Catch 22

My horoscope today, May 16th, 2010: You seem keen to solve a mystery that continually plagues you. This is the kind of problem you enjoy looking into as it involves doing research into an area that holds a powerful fascination for you. You both love the idea of a mystical relationship with the Universe and yet are frightened of losing yourself in the process. This is your personal Catch-22.

How very true. When I left New York a few years ago, I had begun to start a new relationship with the universe. A new religion, so-to-speak. A new faith in myself. The personal journey from questioning myself to believing in myself was extremely difficult. The constant positive thinking was an intense transition. Up until then, I had always considered myself a pretty positive person, and was literally dumbfounded when something went horribly wrong. After beginning this transition, I realized how really negative I was at times. But I had to give it a try, had to change the way I thought, and felt about life. And so I did. The results have been shockingly transparent and life-changing for me.

The book that helped me kick-start this whole life change was "The Secret". I still use it as a reference from time to time, but its teachings are pretty well ingrained in my brain by now. Ask for what you want, believe you have it, be thankful for it. Pretty simple, really. I suppose it's the other, deeper tenets in the book that put me in what my horoscope calls my "catch 22". Constant positivity. Constant gratitude. Constant belief in something unknown, something imagined.

I am a person, still, who believes there must be a down to have an up, a dark to have a light. And I also believe EVERYONE needs to have a few bad days. Days to cry, sleep for 12 hours, curl up and die - if only for a little while. There is always a way to find a positive spin on something. But sometimes I don't think the energy I expend doing that is necessarily worth it. Sometimes just feeling the bad, all the way to my soul, is better for me. And, yes, I'm grateful. Very grateful for my life and all the things in it. But, I tire at times, of thanking the universe when bad shit happens. Honestly, I just want to say, "Fuck you, Universe! What's THIS supposed to do for me?!?!?" when something terrible happens. This is my personal "catch 22" I suppose. Trying to keep positive, all the while keeping my soul original. Keeping my thoughts mine, staying REAL.

What I do know, the thing that hasn't ever changed or waivered, is my hopefulness. I believe in so much possibility, so much good, I'm pretty sure it's unhealthy. :) But that, I will NEVER give up. That is the only constant I can claim. And, hopefully, it's the one thing that will last long after I'm when you can smell the rain coming, and think only of the rainbow that may appear.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

For My Mommy...

This Mother's Day, I haven't sent my Mom a card or flowers or a gift. I have been thinking about it for weeks now, and have come up empty-handed. Truthfully, every time I thought of buying a card, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I've always bought a card, always. But this time I feel so much more in my heart than a cheesy card would do justice to. I don't know what, if anything, has changed this year. I don't know why a card won't be enough. But it isn't. So, the only thing I can really think of is to tell my Mom, on this blog, just exactly how I feel about her.
I am 32 years old, I often call her Mommy, and I don't care what you think of that. She is my everything. She is my favorite. She is my strength. So, without further ado, here's a letter to my Mom...

Hi Mommy!!!

Today is Mother's Day. Silly, though, 'cause I feel the same about you today as every other day. I really love you beyond words, but because we are both "words" people, I'm still going to try and put it in writing.

Every time I think of you, which is pretty darn often, I think about how much we laugh when we're together, and it makes me smile. Every time. We have so many inside jokes that I've lost count. And when something creeps into my head from a long ago joke we shared, sometimes I literally laugh so hard I cry...or pee my pants a little. No matter what has ever happened between us, we've ALWAYS been able to make each other smile.

Every time I miss you, which is pretty darn often, I think about how you still rock me in your chair if I'm having a bad day. How you smooth back my hair, and dry my eyes, and wrap your arms around me. How you've done that since I was born, and even though I'm 32 now, and kind of a big girl, you are still there for me in that most primitive way.

Every time I think of you, which is every day, I hope you know how much I love you. I'm a good person because of you. You have made me compassionate, and smart, and happy. You have made me tolerant, and kind, and helpful. You have made me humble, and strong, and passionate about life. You have fueled my dreams, and encouraged my creativity. You have taught me, celebrated me, loved me.

Every time I miss you, which is every day, I remember things we keep just for us, and my heart is filled. No one else knows the significance of ", Mama". No one knows who Jeff Erson is. No one knows how it feels when you "find your HOOOOME". No one knows what most of our stupid stories are, and I like it that way. We are silly, together. So, when I miss you, I close my eyes (except when I'm driving) and imagine some of these exact moments. I feel you here. And it helps to stay the lonliness.

Every time someone talks about losing their Mother, I have an anxiety attack. The mere thought of living life without you here sends me spinning into the abyss. So, instead I think of all the experiences we still have left together. I think of trips we'll take, things we'll see together, squabbling over crossword puzzles, and who took the last cup of coffee. I think of how I give you a nervous breakdown with my crazy driving, and how you laugh at me when I act like an idiot. I think of how, every time I've wanted to be something, you've told me I can. And every time an oppotunity came up, you sacrificed something of yourself to give me a chance.

I think about your life and all you've wanted to be. And I think I have the most amazing Mother on the planet, because you gave all of it to me instead. I hope that one day soon, you'll recognize that you are amazing, and take some of life for yourself. See the world, write a book, find your cabin in the woods and surround yourself with things to read. I hope someday soon, I can show you that your work is pretty much done with me, and it's time for you now. Not to say that I don't still (and always will) need my Mommy. I just want to give you back at least a little of what you have given me. Because you deserve everything that makes you happy.

I'm a pretty darn amazing person, if I do say so myself. But it's not me who can take most of the credit for that. You have poured so much love into me - all my life - and have created everything I am proud of about myself. I am your Opus, Mr. Holland. I just hope I can show you someday what an impact that will have on the world. What an impact YOUR love will have. What all your sacrifices were for.

So, for all the times we've laughed, or cried, yelled at each other, or hugged. For all the worries, and jokes, and time, and distance. For all the kisses on my boo-boos, and spanks on my butt. For all the pride in your face, and the care in your heart. For all your expectations and dreams of what I might become. For all the faith you've had when you shouldn't have. For all the times you put me first. For all the times you put me in my place. For the intelligence you stressed and the care you demanded of me. For all the Sunday crosswords and dinners you cooked. For every last piece of you that you've given to me. For being that one person I can ALWAYS count on for a real answer. For being my Mom, and all that has meant to you, and all it has meant to me...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love you much more than these words, and much, much more than my luggage. ;)

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