Weekend Reflections

It’s Sunday evening and we returned from Savannah this afternoon.  We had a great weekend.  We were blessed with an easy drive to and from, despite the holiday travelers.  It seemed to be the perfect time to be there because the weather was just right.  It was only a  little brisk but even without my jacket (which I forgot) I never got that cold.  Thanksgiving dinner was fabulous.  At 5:30 in the evening we pretty much had Casbah restaurant to ourselves.  I was worried this meant the belly dancer wouldn’t make an appearance but she did.  The girls ran up, tipped her and got a lesson.  They looked adorable.  After they pranced back to the table she pulled me up for  a lesson.  There was no getting out of it, so I danced.  After dinner we walked along the river front and stopped at The Savannah Candy Company and The Warehouse.  The girls played on a boat-shaped “playground” while Mark and I sipped on Yuengling. We ended the evening with the girls telling us all they were thankful for.

Friday morning we headed out for a day of sight-seeing.  We decided to buy a touring package deal.  We took the green and orange bus to the Savannah History Museum.  We watched a movie on Savannah’s history.  I realized there are certain periods of history I am very fascinated by and so much of what took place in Savannah throughout the years intrigued me.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Olglethorpe (the founder of Savannah) had originally prohibited slavery there.  His reasons were less about the inhumanity of it and more about work ethic in general, but it was nice to know it at least began with these kinds of standards.  (Eventually the citizens demanded the use of slaves and the ban was lifted at least until slavery was prohibited nationwide.)  I was also very inspired by Juliette Gordon Low’s story and may even consider putting the girls into Girl Scouts (which is something I was terrified of as a child).  After the tour of that museum (which houses the famous bench that Tom Hanks sat on in Forest Gump) we went back to the river front and had a delicious lunch at Huey’s.  After lunch we went to the Telfair museum and completed the tour of the entire city on the green and orange bus.  It was in the evening we discovered we had arrived in Savannah on the weekend of Holly Days.  Holly Days included an outdoor ice-skating rink and “snow” among many other interesting activities.

On Saturday morning we bought passes for the girls to play in the “snow” and did that for a short while.  Callee got hit with a snow ball immediately upon entering and ran back to me crying.  It was their first time ever seeing “snow” (the “snow” was actually shaved ice blown off of a truck).  After about twenty minutes of getting hit with snowballs we headed to the Owens Thomas house.  It was the first house in Savannah with indoor plumbing.  The architecture was amazing and the entry way made me feel pretty good about the color choice in our master bedroom.  After that tour we ate lunch at Clary’s.  Clary’s was one of the restaurants seen in the movie Goodnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  It was delicious and I’m sure way more fattening then any omelet should be.  We ended Saturday with a Ghost Tour, which wasn’t quite the same without entering the Sorrel-Weed house (a haunted house featured on Ghost Hunters that used to be included in the tour).

I thought about Amy a lot while on the trip.  There were many times when I had to force back tears, but Mark I think knew and asked several times if I was OK.  One of my facebook friends had commented that I would see a frog while on the trip.  I saw a lot of frogs, though not real ones.  I saw so many decorative frogs that I felt there was no way Amy would send signs in that abundance.  Simply put, I realized frogs are cute and a lot of people like them.  So Saturday afternoon (after having come to this conclusion) we stopped one more time for the girls to play in the snow on the way back to our hotel.  I was leaning on the fence and looked down.  There was some sort of toy there and I asked Bella to pick it up.  When she did I realized it was a toy frog.  She handed it to me and I knew IT was from Amy.  I could almost feel Amy’s giddyness at watching my girls play in snow for the very first time.

So this post is way past my personal word count limit, so I will sum it up for now.  I am thankful for a wonderful weekend with my family!  I learn a little something new each time I go to Savannah and definitely make new and special memories with each visit.

*I will add some pictures when Mark moves them from the camera…

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Losing Love Poem

This is another poem that describes sensing the end of a relationship. It was written some time between 93-95.

Holding on for the moment

Staring in fear

Wondering how to let go

time is near

Dreaming of the moment

when souls meet

Only a short while

must retreat

Keeping back the tears

can not fall

Turn my lips cold

A stone wall

Slipping into this fantasy

drift away

There is just one word

can not say

Look into deep eyes

can not see

Past this mystery or

boundary

Hold on with all we have

till it’s free

Turn and say goodbye

let it be

Christmas Shopping

So today marks the official time of year that I start getting anxious.  When I was younger I loved Christmas time and especially loved buying and giving gifts.  I would be thrilled to watch people open the gifts I’d purchased on Christmas morning.  I think back to that time and observe I was either better at picking out presents or was just oblivious to whether or not people actually liked them.  Whichever it was, giving brought me lots of joy.

Somewhere a long the way though I have realized that I don’t really know what to get the people in my life.  The first Christmas Mark and I were dating I had so much fun buying his gifts.  I got several things I just knew he’d love.  Only problem was…he didn’t.  He’s not a very good actor either, so he failed at convincing me and from then on buying gifts for my husband has been nearly impossible.  His only true wish list is made up of items that are way too expensive and specific for me to try to buy (guitars and music equipment).  So I end up getting him gifts like rubics cubes and DVD’s he never watches.

My parents are equally as tough.  For the first 20 years of my life I bought my father golf balls and then one day I figured out as much as he loves golf, he just doesn’t play it that much.  For at least 5 years I have gotten stuck on Home Depot gift certificates.  Giving that gift always leaves me with an empty feeling though.  I wish there was something I could get him that was personal and appreciated.  But I got nothing…  And Mom, well she’s very particular.  Some years I do OK, but those are the years when either she or my sisters tell me specifically what to get.  If I try to come up with something on my own, I miss the mark.  I like to get her something she’ll use, like K-Cups for her Keurig machine, but I’ve sensed her disappointment on receiving something that is practical and not sentimental.  Then there is my mother-in-law who has extremely expensive taste and loves jewelry.  We have had great success in giving gifts to her, but only when we spend way more than my frugal side can handle.  Our last gift to her was a plane ticket here to see the girls.  As FABULOUS of a gift that was I could still tell she longed for an actual present.

My nieces are pretty easy.  I generally give them gift certificates and don’t feel bad about it.  I remember as a kid LOVING to get certificates and money so I could buy whatever I wanted.  I feel sure they have the same reaction.

What I have acknowledged the last few years is that what I love most about Christmas is giving.  Unfortunately I have made this realization because I’ve found myself feeling disappointed when Christmas comes and goes.  I am not disappointed at what I did or didn’t receive, but that I wasn’t able to make others as happy with gift-giving as it seems I once did.  So today, on Black Friday, the pressure is turned on.  WHAT AM I GOING TO GET EVERYONE FOR CHRISTMAS?!?!?

Giving Thanks for Rebirth

I am writing this on Sunday night, November 22.  It will post on Thanksgiving day.  My intention was to write a post of gratitude on this day named just for that.  It’s been a difficult past couple of months though.  There’s a lot in my life to be grateful for, but it’s hard to write about on a day when I’ve found myself in tears three times, missing my friend.  So instead I’m chosing to express thanks, not for what I have, but for what is happening to me now.

In October I had two life-changing events.  The first was a reality check in the form of some tough criticism.  It should have shaken my foundation, but for some reason it didn’t.  It was a truth I always suspected, that had hidden itself under a pretty package and lots of sugar coating.  The second event was, of course, losing one of my best friends, Amy.  The person I was died the day she did.  I’ve tried, in moments, to venture back to the thoughts, desires, and ideas I had before that day and they’re gone.  I’ve tried to have the same conversations I had before that day and I can’t.  I know this is all meant to be.  It is a huge wake up call.  I’m hitting the snooze button right now though.  I’ve always been one of those people who sets the alarm an hour before they really need to get up, just so they can snooze for an hour.  Right now, I’m trapped in the hour.

I haven’t started “doing” anything yet, but my internal guidance system is hard at work.  When I sit mindlessly lurking on the internet, I get that uncomfortable feeling in my gut.  Today I finally listened.  I closed the laptop and I picked up “Class Lessons” by Joel S. Goldsmith.  Reading it, I was reminded of my nature, of the reality of who I am, who we all are.  I thought more about how I’ve lost my way somewhat.  I don’t study and meditate the way I once did.  To some extent, I’ve let my ego take the wheel.  Losing Amy shined a light on that (which is funny b/c during a conversation she once said to me…”this is all about ego, nothing else”), but in the aftermath I’ve been too numb to make the necessary changes.

I read Joel S. Goldsmith’s teachings and I am reminded not to judge the situation.  Today I received an email that made me very happy.  I was torn between dancing or crying(happy tears).  Later on I thought more about it and realized it was also kind of scary and intimidating.  It was only then that I had to stop myself from judging.  I want to let go of the duality.  I want to let go of the concern for myself.  Before Amy died, I had a g-chat conversation with my cyber-friend Biswajit (who has become a sort of spiritual teacher for me) and he asked me what I was looking for (on my spiritual journey).  My response was something like  “to have a true realization that I am taken care of.”  No sooner had I typed that into the chat box, did he come back with a big NO! He then said “your purpose here is not to be taken care of.  It is to take care of others.”  I knew he was right.

Now I am in the midst of a rebirth.  I am discovering a new life.  I am working my way through the grief and fear.  I am hoping to initiate the changes I am being pulled to make.  I know that it takes silence and clarity to hear my inner voice, but it is that voice that will guide me to my rightful place.

 

Georgia On My Mind

Last year was our first Thanksgiving as a (more or less) vegetarian family.  I made spaghetti squash and cheese ravioli.  It sucked!  Besides waking up to the parade on TV and being off from school/work, it felt like just another day.  Holidays are tricky every year because we live so far away from our families.  In the past, the girls have not made for good traveling companions so we would avoid it (traveling) at all costs.  Now we have added an extra obstacle to the holiday season…not eating meat.  This year, after the option of my mother-in-law visiting was taken off the table, we decided to take a Thanksgiving vacation.  Tomorrow we leave for Savannah where we intend to make Thanksgiving less about turkey and more about experience, culture, history, and ghosts!

The last time I was in Savannah was in April of 2009, with my three best friends…Amy, Kristin, and Heather.  I am so thankful to be returning to a place where I now have great memories of mi amigas!  Here we are seven months ago:

sav1

Above: Heather, Amy and me at The Chart House restaurant.

sav2

Above: Kristin and me (getting the first glass of wine).

sav3 Left: Me, Kristin and Heather in the garden of The Davenport House … Amy was in the room busy napping and growing babies!

sav4Right: Me, Amy and Kristin getting our belly dancing lesson at The Kasbah Morroccan restaurant.

Above: Amy tipping the belly dancer at Kasbah.

Natalye’s Click

I discovered Natalye’s story while reading Jarrett’s blog (Jarrett’s click will post tomorrow).  Her strength and bravery touched me so much that I immediately contacted her on Twitter (@IamPhoReal) and expressed to her how grateful I was that she had shared her powerful story.  After a few days of tweeting back and forth, I asked her if I could post the story, “Damaged,” here on “Waiting for the Click.”  She agreed. Here is her story just as it appeared on Jarrett’s blog.

When asked by my best friend to write something for his blog, I thought to myself, I really don’t have anything of importance that I can write about. I haven’t written anything in so long, I forgot how to even put a paragraph together, much less a piece. I have never written anything that hasn’t been inspired (besides status updates and comments on various subjects, but to me that’s just me vocalizing whatever I feel or like; and I talk TOO much. I feel I’m doing that now! lol). But while I was searching for music to put on my blip.fm account, I came across a song that got me through a very crucial time in my life. One song. One horrible moment in my life. And that one song healed me when not one person in life at the time could. (I know Jarrett that you said it didn’t have to be earthshattering, but I didn’t plan for it to be lol). I don’t want sympathy or pity. I’ve kept something in for a LONG time, and not only because it’s not what you call proper “dinner conversation”, but because I didn’t want anyone thinking I wanted someone to feel sorry for me. I’m a strong person in my eyes, but I also have some emotional damage that I didn’t know, up until a month ago, I still had. And I feel, if I can help just one person with my story, I can help myself with that problem.

In 1995, I was just starting my 2nd year in junior high (8th grade to be exact). I met a guy through one of my friends. Little did I know, that he was 23 years old. I “dated” him for a month before I thought I was ready to lose my virginity. When the chance came, I recoiled. Even though I thought I “loved” him, I just wasn’t ready yet. He was livid. He started yelling that he spent all this time & all this money on me to not get what he wanted. I was beaten.. and then, I was raped. I was left on the couch bleeding; and strong little me didn’t cry. I held myself together, called a friend, and left.

I deserved it, that’s what I believed. I shouldn’t have put myself in that situation, I told myself repeatedly. Months passed by. I was always angry. I got suspended for fighting. I bullied random people. I was arrested for shoplifting. I was lost. It was a classmate’s comment that broke me: “Nan (that was my nickname in jr high), you always made straight A’s. You’re making straight D’s & F’s now. What the hell would make you want to have people look at you like a stupid ass?” After that, I locked myself in a bathroom stall and cried. I hadn’t cried since before the incident. I went home that day and told my parents. I saw and felt a deluge of pain I thought didn’t exist outside of movies. What the hell do we do?

We decided to report him. To summarize the conversation, they said: It has been months Nan. If you had come forward when it happened, we would’ve had proof. It looks like it’s gonna be your word against his since you say there were no witnesses & you didn’t tell anyone of the incident. But hey, they did offer to have a counselor help me with my “problem” (insert brutal sarcasm here). I died inside after we left. I could even say that I didn’t just lose faith, I had faith in nothing & no one. It was while I was watching a movie that something cracked. It was a song. Not just the song, the lyrics caught my attention:

Healing comes so painfully & it chills to the bone
Will anyone get close to me?
I’m damaged, as I’m sure you know
..
I can’t go back, I must go on…

I listened to that song over, and over for the next month. And each time I listened, I felt more & more like I could feel. I can honestly say, music saved me from suicide. I laughed more easily. I attended a Christian school after. I had a REAL best friend (who is still my bestest friend til this day). Music saved me from a situation that has psychologically damaged TOO many women that it has happened to. I wouldn’t let that happen to me. Over the years, I’ve kept the fact that I was violated to myself. Situations would arise & I would bring it up so that people would understand why I react certain ways in certain situations. Some never understood why I didn’t see a psychiatrist. But to me, singers were my psychiatrists, songs were my prescriptions & lyrics were my painkillers. When I tell people this, they’re just whatever about it. But it’s true. And I’m blessed to have something so common, yet unbelievable, help me through a horrible time.

I know there are more common situations where women that have been raped never heal. I always believed I fully healed, but I’m still pushing people away who get too close to me. And yes, I do see I always do this, even to Brooke & Joni. Hearing that song again made me realize that in some ways I am bruised; but not damaged. I can’t go back, I must go on, I must remember that; Especially when it comes to all my great friends who want to be there for me & want to help me.

And indirectly, Jarrett, you asking me to write something was a blessing in disguise. I always thought telling people that I was raped would leave me raw & vulnerable. But it was a good thing. A great thing if I can help & inspire someone else. I hope whoever reads this sees that just because something bad has happened to them, does not mean in any way, shape, or form that they deserved it! And that with the help of those who love them and those who understand, & some beautiful music, they can heal & fully embrace themselves and bask in it. More easily said than done you may say, but as you can see, it can & has been done.

My life motto: Show Love With No Remorse (RHCP).. I don’t plan to stop now…