Tag Archives: Family

Generosity. #reverb14

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Look back at the last year and consider: how did generosity open your heart? How can you cultivate generosity in the coming year?

My mother was generous. She laughed a lot, gave what she could and when we needed help, help was given to our family. I made it to the age of 13 knowing that people were warm and kind. That when you suffered, that was the best time to help others.

We were one of those families that have their names, ages and a small wish list put upon some random office or school Christmas tree. People fulfilled those wishes for us. It was nice. I remember sitting on the twin size bed that shared a room with my brother’s at my dad’s apartment, playing with the slime lab that I was given. We got some clothes, some toys. People always gave us food.

After my mom died, I learned that not everyone was generous. I remember being 15 and asking my dad for lunch money, $20. Enough for $1 a day, which was the bare minimum to have a lunch, a cup of noodle soup. He gave me $5. My friends fed me and then I got a job when I was 16. This is not new information. I’ve mentioned this many times.  But I learned from him that sometimes when you ask for what you need, the bare minimum, you don’t even get that. I learned the feeling of shame and guilt in asking for anything.

My goal is that whoever comes to me for help, I don’t want anyone to feel ashamed. So, I give. Love, joy, time, concern, sometimes I can even afford gifts. I want Josh to always feel cozy and loved at home. Home should be a safe space. I give big hugs, because people forget how wonderful they can be. I’ve had someone cry in my arms because of how loving my hug was. FOR REALZ. She just burst into tears. She was, incidentally, a big crier. But still. My hug made someone cry in joy.  I want to be that safe space for people.

I’ve been lucky in that my life is full of generous people. I always feel like I take more than I give. It is a perpetual guilt that I feel. My car, my home, even my bed are mine because of my friends’ generosity. There are beautiful things in my life because people have given them to me. I’ve gone to wonderful places and had great times because of my friends’ generosity. I feel grateful to them but also awkward,  because I’ll never be able to give them the things they give me. How can I ever match the joy and love they provide me with?

I try to make the world better in little ways that mean so much to other people. I don’t like talking about it because it’s not about getting a pat on the back. It’s about making a conscious choice to make a difference. When I’m having a hard time in life, I try to give, because making someone else happy makes my day better too.

With all that said, I’m still a dick. I’m still judgmental and abrupt. Making people uncomfortable with my honesty will always be an unfortunate side effect of being me. Awkwardness is embraced and accepted. I just know that I can do small things to make others happy, so I do those things.  Cultivating my generosity is something that I try to do daily. Sometimes I fail, but most days, I can get one or two things done to make someone’s day brighter.

So, thank you. Thank you for helping me through my life.

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Lift your voice. #reverb14

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what is the sound of your own voice?

Strong.

My voice is strong.

It is in literal terms, odd. It can be light and feminine. It can be a bit nasally, and in singing, off key and awkward. When I am unsure, it tends to get vulnerable and childlike. My laugh is a cackle. My sneeze is a tiny achoo.

But in a metaphorical sense, it is strong. It does not waver from me. I speak up, for me and others. Since I was young, I’ve had a driving sense of fairness and equality about life.

Life isn’t fair. But we should do our BEST to tilt the axis in that direction. Our lives are for each other as much as our selves. Its our duty to make the world better for each other. That’s what our voices are for.

In writing this, I did not take time to think over my answer, so I’m not sure what else to say that won’t lead into a feminist rant or one that fights for the rights of this nations black citizens. Our world needs help. Needs love. Life is feeling bleak and hopeless and its time to lift our voices to speak up for each other.

To revel in love. #reverb14

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It’s all too easy to put off loving where we are until everything is perfect. What can you love about where you are now?

My typical day is nothing special to most people. I wake far too early, go to work, come home, go to the gym, do laundry, etc.

I wake next to a man who is my partner. Sometimes partners make mistakes and then we work through them as a team. I wake surrounded by warmth and love, a pile made of blankets, a dog, a couple kitties and Josh. Sometimes the cats throw up and we step in it. Sometimes the dog wakes us by dropping her toy on our faces.

Getting ready for work, I get to have quiet moments to myself. Doing my makeup makes me think of the people I love as most of my really awesome stuff was given to me by friends and family. Because of them, I have more eye shadow in my life than I know what to do with and I adore it. I can attribute my use of my skincare line to my friends who work in salons. A picture of my mother hangs so that I can see her over my shoulder as I get ready. I get dressed and then go back to turn on the light and kiss Josh goodbye. He rolls over and smiles at me in his sleep, then wakes and smiles more.

When I come out of my house, I say good morning to the three chickens outside our door and then head to work. I drive a beautiful 40 minutes to work, passing water and mountains and the glorious views that the Pacific Northwest offers. My work is a lovely place, full of its problems, sure, but all in all wonderful. It’s hard, but challenging work and I’m lucky to do what I do.

When I drive home, I’m tired. I come home and my dog greets me as if I’ve been gone for years. My cats come running to the door. I change into my gym clothes and pull out whatever I need to make dinner. Sometimes I’m too tired, or forget. I gather Josh’s clothes and meet him at work. We grumble and go to the gym. Our experience at the gym is one of work, laughter, and people watching. Sometimes we fight when he demands lunges and I don’t want to do them. Most times we grumble and then are happy with our workout afterward. We part ways and meet at home.

Josh winds down with video games and I cook dinner. We laugh about our days. We watch the Daily show together as we eat. He holds me to put me to sleep some nights. Some nights we fall apart in a tangle of limbs and sweat and high five our approval of each other.

I see my friends, I laugh with them, I commiserate. They know I love them. I love my family, though I am not as good at being a family member as I am a friend. But I love them, and will fight tooth and nail for the best for them. I am loved. I am rich in the joy of life. I am warm of heart. It is not a grand life, full of money and fame, but it is mine and I love it, for better or worse.

My life is good.

My life is love.

I cannot find fault in the joy of it, in the humanity of it.

 

Different types of awesome #reverb11

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Friendship – What kind of a friend were you in 2011? What kind of a friend do you want to be in 2012? (Author: @amanda_hirsch )

Oh now, there you go getting all in sync with what I have been writing. In my mind, being a friend is tough. Part of being a friend is being honest, and sometimes honesty hurts. There have been many a times that I’ve upset a friend because of my honesty. My biggest issue is when someone I like insults themselves. I have a very low tolerance for it. When I worked with a group of women, I instituted the 3 Nice Things rule. If you insulted yourself to the degree that I was offended on your behalf, I would demand you say 3 honestly nice things about yourself.

I find it astonishing how people can say things to themselves about themselves that they would NEVER say about or to another person. I can tell you 4 friends off the top of my head that do this. It is infuriating to me. Up to a point, I counteract the insults with nice truths. Then I lose patience. I have gotten into arguments with my friends about it. I refuse to listen to ANYONE insult my own. Even my own. I’ve stopped my friends in the midst of their self-abuse with something to the effect of “If you’re so terrible, why am I your friend? I like you more than you like you and that’s a problem.” I don’t have patience for envy or comparisons. I am my type of awesome, you are your type of awesome. This is why we are friends.

I am the type of friend that is pushy and demanding with the expectation that you understand you are awesome. There is a reason I admire you for your strengths and weaknesses. There is a reason that I feel the need for you in my life. My goal as a friend is to provide buoyancy. I want to help keep you afloat, because as life is tough for you I will be there, and as life is tough for me, I want you there.

In the past, I’ve been a terrible friend. Hiding under a rock, ashamed of who and what I was, there was a distinct lack of ability to open up. No one wishes to be friends with someone who doesn’t trust themselves. Isolation helped me stay in my own little bubble and no one had to see what a mess my life had become. It wasn’t until someone helped me open up, looked at my mess and said “so? I like you no matter what.” that I found myself learning to be a friend. Friendship is give and take and I am learning to give more.

Next year, I want to be a go to friend. I want to go see people who I love that live elsewhere. Soon, both my very good friends will be on the other side of the US. That’s not okay with me. I don’t want to lose them because distance is too much. The loss would be more distressing than distance.

Bittersweet desserts, perhaps. #reverb11

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Lets do lunch! – If you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be and what would you like to discuss?

If I could have lunch with anyone, at all, it would be my mother. Our lunch would so be full of tears and love and tragedy, Shakespeare would be proud. If I could sit across the table and look into eyes that are blue versions of my own, smile with a smile that is the same sort of crooked, maybe I would find some peace. She would have none for the period of lunch that we share. I would bombard her with questions, seeking the answers to all the things I only half know.

I would ask about the cancer, how it hurt, how she felt and what kept her fighting for so long. I would tell her that I didn’t mind having to bathe her. I would tell her that playing with her tray of perfumes, jewelry and makeup made me feel closer to her after she passed. I’d tell her about the bottle of perfume I keep because it smells like her, even though it smells horrid on me.

I would ask her about her youth and solidify those stories from the wanderings and imaginations of a young girls mind. I would ask her about Robin and Sweetycomes and Joe and my dad. I would ask her about her mother and her father, her aunt. I would ask her about her dreams and why she didn’t chase them. I’d thank her for showing me love and passion and silliness can all exist throughout the pain in one’s life. That those little things were what made life worth living.

I would ask her about when she was raped for the second or third time, this time by a police officer. I’d tell her that I learned about it in a terrifying journal entry I read when I was 15. I’d shed more tears for her than I did that night. I would ask why she felt she had no power, no recourse. I would thank her for teaching me to be vigilant about my safety.

I would ask her about her art. I’d show her my own.

I would ask her what she thought of me and my brother and what we have done with ourselves. I would ask her if she was proud.

I would ask her to hold me. Just for a little while, like she used to. To run her fingers through my hair and trail her nails down my arms. I would give anything to have her arms around me again.

I’d make her laugh, ask her to dance, let her listen to CeLoGreen and Adele and see her light up when she heard the fun and soul in the music.

We’d order wine and crab with pasta and dessert. I’d tell her how I miss her. I’d thank her for giving me a moment. I’d tell her how even as I miss her, my life wouldn’t be what it was if she was alive. That it was okay, because the woman I am now is someone I think she’d like.

I’d ask her to stay, knowing she couldn’t.

The grace of others #reverb11

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Gratitude – What five (5) things are you most grateful for from 2011?

I don’t think anyone really has things they are grateful for unless it’s in the abstract. I am grateful for my home, etc, of course. The things in life that I am grateful for are provided by people in my life. I am most grateful that I have managed to garner friendships that I don’t understand. These people love me, and for that I am lucky.

Lori is my best friend. She moved recently, but I’m amazed at how this woman opens her heart. She’s funny, devastatingly generous and just plain wonderful. Because of her, I was able to get to work everyday. I didn’t have a vehicle that worked and she loaned me hers on a daily basis. We grew to love each other to an unexpected level. She is my family. I played with her daughter and call her niece. We held each other and cried until we laughed. She moved to the bumfuck south and I miss her with an ache every day. I sobbed the day she left. I still visit her family and talk to her on the phone, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to go much longer without flying over to see her. She is an amazing woman who convinced me that I am too.

I met Dixie in the coffee shop that she worked at. We hit it off like we had known each other forever. Her dark hair, glasses, tattoos and overwhelming nerd goth chick vibe made me HAVE TO KNOW her. We made plans to hang out and did. Its been fun since. Because of her, I found out the kitchen I work for was hiring. We worked together for a few months until she became super awesome newspaper editor! My home is hers. I get to see her wonderful face everyday. She makes me laugh, and surprises me with ice cream in my freezer and silly notes. She carries me when I am low. I would not have gotten through my divorce without her. Her Tom isn’t half bad either.

For three and a half years, I worked at The Bakery. Small and charming, the place and people work their way into your heart. My family consisted of Monica, Mark, Sharon, Betuel, Erin, Ivy, Rheycel, Renee, Victoria, Lori and Elizabeth. I learned so much there. I owe my career in the food industry to them, and I owe my sanity as well. They watched fall, helped me up, watched me grow, held my hand. We laughed, cried, yelled and commiserated as families are wont to do. I left The Bakery at the end of August and miss them. I’m happy for my career change, but I miss my everyday bakery babes. They were my port in the storm for a long time.

I found an unexpected gem in Jesse. He’s given me the ability to slow down and enjoy another person in a way I haven’t before. He gets my nerdy jokes and eggs them on. We share a love of cat pictures and it brings a special feeling of joy when I can shock him into laughter. He is non-demanding and kinder than he gives himself credit for. I learned about napping, gaming and feeding kitties cake. Also, he rekindled in me a love for myself that I haven’t had in a very long time. I go to the gym and the doctor and stuff now.  He helps me feel at peace.

Rebecca is a woman I met when I was 15. She took me into her family and called me her own. I tagged along to Renaissance Fairs to escape The Craziness and she helped me feel the joy of being a kid. I’ve fallen in and out of touch with her, and she has helped me along my path whenever she could. I always felt as if I was taking advantage of her because of how much of a difference she made in my life. She introduced me to belly dancing, encouraged my art, fed me, clothed me and generally took care of me in any way she could. I will never be able to truly thank her for the love she gave me and still does, to this day.

I’m blessed in ways that I can’t even express to you. I know I’m not worthy of the love and kindness others give me, so I work hard to be worthy. I still fall short of the goal, but I’ll keep trying. To the people who fill my life, I am grateful. Every person, whether I named them above or not, has made some sort of huge lasting mark on me. It wasn’t until I learned to trust others and accept help, that I gained true friends.