The Perfection of Memory

“I always designed Gravity Falls to be a finite series about one epic summer…It’s meant to be an exploration of the experience of summer, and in a larger sense a story about childhood itself. The fact that childhood ends is exactly what makes it so precious- and why you should cherish it while it lasts. “

-Alex Hirsch, on the ending of Gravity Falls

So.

I loved this show.  I fell into it almost to the day my husband was carjacked at gunpoint.  I was having, easily, the darkest part of a dark, dark 2 years.  Sitting under the dining room table, eating a dozen cupcakes and drinking bourbon from the bottle dark.

Nightmares for weeks dark.

But it was everything I remembered about summer and being 12 and thinking you might have the keys to solving mysteries just by reading books like “How to Hunt for Ghosts” and “How to Hunt for UFOs” and going through the paranormal section of the library and trying to sneak books you’re REALLY not old enough to be reading past your parents.

And the librarians who go to your church.

I watched the entire series, to that point, in a week.  Conveniently, it was being shown as a marathon.  Then I caught the newest episode.  Only to find out that the series was ending.

On, what I promise, is the pitch perfect note.

It ended.  The summer ended just as it must and it should.

And a week from today I start my new job.

I can’t help but feel the cyclical nature of life.  2 years…really…3 years ago started with the agonized phone call from my mother that my uncle had collapsed…that he needed to be resuscitated…that it was brain cancer.  Then things were ok for a little while.  Then my husband lost his job the first time…my Nana died…my uncle died…my cousin died…my cousin died…my grandfather died…another cousin died…down and down they go…

Each time I felt that this, this was it, this was the time things would get better.  That it couldn’t possibly get worse.

And it did.

And I fell into a pit I didn’t want to crawl out of.

I wanted someone in the world to just look at me and say “Wow.  You’re really messed up from this, aren’t you?”

But I pride myself on a “Can do!  We’ll make it through this !  Put more stickers on it!  Sparkles!  Sunshine!  I can do this!  Let’s find joy in this moment!”

Until…I lost my job.

And even though it was Christmas.

I didn’t find joy in those moments any more.

I went to events out of habit.

Made presents and went outside because its what I knew I had to do.

But I knew the signs, even if others hadn’t seen.

I went for days without showering.  I mean, I didn’t go out and do anything so why should I bother?

I didn’t want to eat.

I wanted to sleep, but every time I closed my eyes I was confronted with what I thought were my own failures in strength, resilience, and talent.

So I cleaned and unpacked boxes in the house we live in that, we were supposed to buy from my parents, but can’t even do that because I don’t have a job.

I was in a place that should be home, surrounded by chaos and hopelessness, with only the reminders of what I’d lost around me.

So I made things.  I made scarves and hats and painted.

I read the trashiest of trashy romance novels, whatever I could stomach.

I found pictures of puppies.

I came up with a routine for my skin to eat away the time and be productive.  (Might I add, my skin is great right now and I’ve gotten a lot of “Your make-up looks great today” when I am wearing none.  So that was totally worth it.)

But watching the end of this show…at the same time this unemployment is ending…I feel like maybe, this is finally the end.

That I’ve gone through the deep, dark, tunnel and maybe…just maybe…

its finally over.

And I can move forward with whatever my life is supposed to be now.

And think that now, maybe now, is the time to have the best spring ever.  To celebrate new life and new growth.  To plant things and nurture them to bud in the scorched earth that was left behind after it all fell apart.

So I’m going to go out and find the new things I love.  It will be a beautiful spring.  And I will use it to build up to another perfect summer.

I will use this to be kinder and have more patience.  To move past my anger and regret.  Because it will tear me apart if I don’t.

So to new beginnings, my friends.  To new friends and new haircuts, new clothes and new jobs.  To hope springing eternal and maybe, just maybe.

To spring.

-C

 

Answers

Where do we go from here?

What do I do?

What comes next?

Who am I?

Where do I go?

As the cap to a 2015 that seems to have been engineered to kick my ass, I lost my job.  So, for those of you keeping a running tally of the last 2 years we have.

1 Minor Health Crisis

6 deaths

3 job losses

1 house sold

2 cars died

1 car purchased

1 pair of terrible neighbors.

I am paralyzed with indecision now.  I have no idea what to do next.  I’ve always had a plan…and I don’t have plan any more.  I did a job for 4 years.  A job I loved.  But now its gone.  And I don’t know if I should keep it up or do something else.  I don’t know where to go and what to do next.

I went back to bed last night and just laid there, face down in the pillow, mumbling to my husband who said “Look, I could say something faintly comforting right now, but I don’t actually think that would help, so look at how comfy the dog looks.”

The dog, to be fair, DID look really comfy.  I was kind of jealous of him, curled up in the ends and bits of blankets he’d turned around 15 times in so they were smushed just perfectly.

I’ve gone through the motions of what I should do.  I celebrated Christmas.  I threw a New Years Eve party.  There were brief, glittery moments of feeling like “me” in all of those times.

But what do you do when you feel like you’re going up a cliff and the rocks you grip to keep moving and sliding beneath you?  What do you do when the books that comforted you, just don’t any more.  What do you do when you have every streaming service known to man and there’s just no where to hide from yourself any more?

Right now?

Go outside.

Get rid of bags of old clothes.

Organize a kitchen cabinet.

Grab a coffee.

Find a different book and try again.

Snuggle with the dog.

Make a pot roast.

Try again.

Because, even if you don’t know where to go, the earth beneath you still spins and times moves ever forward.  I don’t know where I’m going, but at least I know where I’ve been.  The world never lets you stand still.

-C

Connections

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life)

I’ve talked about how I’ve pulled away from my friends.

I’ve been a crappy friend.

Mostly, because its hard to be a good friend when you’re afraid to leave the house.

But I feel like I want to try again…at least a little…

Typically, once I hit fall, I feel open, like its as new school year, new possibilities, a brand new me.

This fall…I feel much like I want it to be a funeral.  The funeral of an enemy, who did terrible things and had a death much deserved.  I want to delivery a eulogy to the summer that betrayed me.  That instead of fun in the sun, was hidden torment and hidden pain.

Fall.  Fall means that this terrible summer will die.  That I can box up all the terrible parts of it and bury it deep in the ground.

I’m toying with coming up with some kind of ritual to say goodbye to that part of summer.  It may or may not involve fire.  I find fire very cleansing.

Its what I need to say “This is over.”

I think I’ll wait til the sale of our house is finally full.  Then take part of a packing box and packing paper.  Take the newspaper article with the picture of our destroyed, stolen vehicle.  Take photocopies of unemployment checks and print outs of broken hearted emails.  Pour some bourbon on it.  Add a cupcake that I didn’t eat while hiding under the table.  And burn it.  And stomp on the ashes.

I’m so ready for it to be done and over.  So ready to start whatever this next part of my life IS.  Ready to not be afraid any more.

Ready for Thanksgiving and finding reasons to be thankful.  Ready for Christmas and carols and mistletoe.

Ready for New Years and new beginnings.

Ready to be ME again.

Ready to be strong and confident.

But its not time yet, and I am impatient.  I am impatient as the flower waiting for spring.  As impatient as the geese, flying north or south at their appointed time.  I know where I am supposed to be.

But its not time yet.

-C

Would that I could…

With nothing of effort, just a little murmur of sound, Smith lifted his body gently from the ground into the warm air.

He soared up quickly, quietly-and very soon he was lost among the stars as Smith headed for outer space…

Chrysalis – Ray Bradbury

Would that it were that easy.  With the barest thought, no effort, to look heavenward and soar.  Instead, during this time, I feel as though gravity is heavier, just for me.  That the earth has decided to pull me down harder, and that there is no escape.

4 deaths.  I have lost 4 loved ones, one every 6 months.  I am fatigued of grieving.  Of every sight causing pain (and love, such strong and amazing love.)  I am tired of loss, of change, of uncertainty.  Nothing feels safe or permanent.

I’ve retreated into creature comforts.  Crayons and coloring books, soft blankets, clean sheets, perfumes heavy with summer flowers, and hot cups of tea.  Searching for peace is hard to find, when there is no peace inside.

For I know the plans I have for you…

It’d be nice if I knew them.  It’d be nice to feel more confident in

…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

But that is faith.  Faith in anything.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in him and he will do this

 And I will wait for the still, small, voice to help guide me onward, outward…and upward.

-C

2014, we hardly knew ye

I was going to do a big long thing about 2014, its devastation rolling over the land like landslide full of plague rat zombies coming for your face.

But no.

I’m not going to let 2014 end like this.

2014 started with my breaking my thumb and ended 2 deaths, several hospital visits, and countless setbacks later.

You know what 2014?

Screw you.  I’m gonna party you out like its your fricken wake.

So, instead, 2014, a eulogy.

Dear friends,

We are gathered together to bid farewell to 2014.  As we usually do at the close of someone’s life, we try to look back on the things that were wonderful about them.  Sure, they were a jerk at parties and ruined your time.

Sure 2014 overstayed their welcome.

But lets remember that great things about 2014.  Because nothing, in a set of 365 days, can be all bad.

So 2014, you were a jerk.  You brought despair and sadness, setbacks and difficulties, pain and sorrow.

But you also brought the most amazing Standing Rib Roast I’ve ever made.  You brought me Guardians of the Galaxy, the best(most fun) space movie since Star Wars.  You showed me that I still have great photography skills, creativity, and can sew a mean River Song cosplay dress.

You brought changes I wasn’t ready for and didn’t give me change I desperately wanted.

But you were still there.  Which, I guess is what friends are for.  So 2014, instead of mourning you, with sorrow and gnashing of teeth…I raise my glass to you.

You were one hell of a year.

2015, my friend?  Learn from your siblings’ mistakes.  Let’s make tomorrow something we’ll be proud of next time this year.

-C