Time to Pay the Piper

“There’s always stuff to work on.  You’re never there.”
– Tiger Woods

Hey, it’s only two months past the end date – let’s talk about 101 in 1001, shall we?

I completed 46 tasks and started but did not finish 13 more.  That . . . is not so good.  And now I owe $110 to a charity, because I’m a woman of my word (I promised $2 for every uncompleted item). Oh well.

I really enjoyed the experience of putting the list together and trying to figure out how to accomplish the items.  It’s not surprising that I was pretty gung-ho in the beginning and then it, like the rest of the blog and a lot of things in my life, fell by the wayside for long periods of time.

Some of the items were pipe dreams from the beginning – spending a night at the Wigwam hotel in Arizona, for example, or going through the thousands of pictures on my computer to name them ALL.  Some of them turned out not to be right for this time in my life – our apartment is really too small to host a dinner party, and Aimee’s and my 20-year friendship anniversary was the month before my wedding when neither of us had spare time or money to go anywhere to celebrate.  At least one thing I was plain afraid to do – asking my grandmother to write down 5 memories of her mother is one of my favorite items from my list, but actually asking her makes my stomach do flip-flops because it means acknowledging she’s not going to be around forever, which just makes me so, so sad.

Number 95 turned out to be pretty cool – write a letter to myself at futureme.org to be delivered on the last day of 101 in 1001.  I’ll share a bit of my letter with you:

Dear FutureMe,

This letter should have been written on July 31, 2009, when you published your list of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days, but that was kind of a hectic time for you and you never got around to it. So here we are, a week before Christmas 2009, and it’s finally time to write.

. . .

When you wrote this letter, you were happy and looking forward to Christmas – you have suspicions David might propose next week. If not, you know it’s going to happen by your birthday in 2010. You can’t wait to marry him; you’ve known that was the right thing since you first got together, and you’re excited to move on to the next stage of your life with him.

When this letter gets delivered, hopefully you’ll have completed all of the items on your 101 in 1001 list. As of today, you’ve completed 15 and have started on 14 others. That’s a good start in only 5 months. Even if you give up on your blog for a little while (you’re thinking of taking a break), you should do your best to keep up with the list. It’s kind of fun.

So what will your life look like in April 2012? Well, hopefully list item #101 came true approximately 18 months earlier and you and David have been happily married for a year and a half. Also, ideally, you’ll either be pregnant or a very new mom; you can’t wait to have kids with David. He doesn’t have any experience with babies, but you know he’s just going to take to it, and you can’t wait to see him with your children. Those are the two big things. The rest will work itself out. It always does.

I hope you are happy and healthy, doing work that you enjoy and living the kind of life you want for yourself, full of family and friends. I hope you learn to take care of yourself and accept yourself for who and what you are. Don’t kid yourself that you have control over more than you do; relax and let the universe unfold as it should. Practice being kind to others; it will help you be kind to yourself, and you are often too hard on yourself. Keep in touch with your family; you’re the glue. Say the things that need to be said before it’s too late. Remember that this life is all there is, and you have the power to make it be the best it can be. Don’t give up.

See you in a few years,
Mel

As it turned out, it was almost exactly one year later that David proposed, so everything on the hoped-for timeline is off by a year – we’d been married 6 months by the end of April, we’re planning babies for next year, etc.  I loved getting this, though the . . . part was difficult to read; I hate to remember “the hard part.”  That’s the thing about time, though – perspective changes so much.

I would like to do this again, but not yet.  There’s so much on my plate at the moment that I don’t want to put any more pressure on myself, even though it can be a lot of fun.  Any list I made right now would be full of cheating – paint all walls in new house; hang ceiling fan in master bedroom of new house; make wedding photo albums for our parents; run sprint triathlon; live tweet Olympic opening ceremony – stuff I’m already planning to do.

I will, however, finish Anna Karenina, damn it.

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Here’s how the list looked on June 29, 2012:

not started/in progress/completed

Start date: August 1, 2009

End date: April 28, 2012

Creative

1. Find a way to sing again – in public (done – joined a community chorus;  our first concert was 11/18/11)

2. Work my way through one quarter of  “No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog” (1/25) (started 2/26/10 with this post)

3. Start keeping a personal journal again (without the pressure of feeling like I need to “recap” everything that’s happened since I last kept one, which is the reason I haven’t started doing it before now) (I started again on 8/15/09 and have written several times; I haven’t decided how long I have to keep it up before I mark this one as completed.)

4. Make 5 more journals and give them away (3/5)

5. Draw something suitable for framing

6. Blow up and frame a photo I took

7. Blog at least three times a week for 3 months (0/12) (0/3)

Travel

8. Go to 5 states I’ve never been to (5/5) (West Virginia – 3/27/10; Washington – 8/28/10; Oregon – 8/31/10; California – 9/1/10; Maine 10/21/11)

9. Take a train somewhere far away enough that I have to book a sleeper car (done 8/26/10 – 8/28/10; we took the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle the last weekend in August; it was two overnights on the train, so we got a sleeping compartment:

The seats slide together to form the bottom bunk, and the top bunk flips down from the top (you can’t see it in this picture).)

10. Visit a national landmark I’ve never seen before (done 8/28/10 – Space Needle:

And, also, 9/2/10 – the Golden Gate Bridge:

The fog there is no joke!)

11. Visit a tourist trap I’ve never seen before (like the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, or something)

12. Spend a weekend in Amish country at a Bed & Breakfast

13. Visit my friend who lives in LA

14. Spend a night at the Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook, Arizona

15. Ice skate at Rockefeller Center

16. Finally Yelp! Fat Matt’s Rib Shack from our trip to Atlanta (short version: go there) (done 8/3/09)

17. Go back to the Excellent Dumpling House in Chinatown in New York (where they really do serve excellent dumplings)

18. Go to Coney Island (when it’s open this time)

Tourism at Home

19. Take a Duck Boat tour of D.C.

20. Visit the September 11 Pentagon Memorial (done 10/?/10 – this is a beautiful memorial, and I encourage anyone who visits D.C. to make the effort to go there)

21. Take a tour of Old Town with one of the colonial guides

22. Take a Segway tour of D.C. with my mom

23. Go see the dolphin show at the Baltimore Aquarium (done 11/6/10 with David, the Princess, and the Conductor – We spent the whole day at the Aquarium and the Inner Harbor:

it was a wonderful day!)

24. Go to the National Zoo

25. Go to 5 museums in the D.C. area (1/5) (7/31/10 – I visited the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum at the Patent and Trademark Office)

26. Go to Arlington Cemetery (done 6/18/11)

Home

27. Finally finish unpacking the books (done 9/18/09)

28. Try 2 new recipes a month for 6 months 12 new recipes (5/12) (August 2009 – Oven-Fried Pork Chops and Glazed Sesame Pork, both from Cooking Light) (November 2009 – Cinnamon Buns from Pioneer Woman (see #32 below) and Beef Burgundy from Cooks.com) (July 2010 – Butter Chicken, from Tasty Kitchen) (February 2011 – Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce, from The Eating Well Diet cookbook)

29. Put loose recipes into binder (done 8/11/09)

30. Go through boxes of high school and college memorabilia and toss everything that no longer holds meaning (done 9/20/09 – it’s amazing the crap I hold onto)

31. Host a dinner party

32. Bake something that requires yeast (which scares me) (done 11/3/09:

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Cinnamon Buns from Pioneer Woman’s recipe!)

33. Enter a baked good in a contest

34. Hang curtains in bedroom (done 11/14/09, finally)

35. Bake a cheesecake from scratch (done 4/1/10, served for Easter 4/4/10 – YUM)

36. Cook meals for lunches at work two weekends a month for 3 months (0/3)

37. Find out what, exactly, chipotle en adobo is, get some, and then make something with it (7/26/10 – found chipotle in adobo (which are just chiles canned in adobo sauce) in the store and grabbed a can; I’ve got a recipe in mind to use them, just haven’t had a chance yet)

38. Find dulce de leche and re-attempt Death by Caramel Bars

39. Grow mint so I can learn to make my own mojitos (started a little pot of mint on 7/31/10; update 9/18/10: back to square one – the mint didn’t take)

40. Get caught up on putting photos in albums and printing photos from my camera (started 2/10/10 – what else to do with my 4th snow day in a row? 3/13/10 – ordered 500+ prints from Costco to catch up; now I just need to put those in albums; 7/19/10 – When I was putting those 500 prints in albums, I realized I’m missing pictures between January (our trip to Vegas) and April 2009 (our trip to Atlanta) – they got lost when my external hard drive somehow got damaged.  I’m waiting to see if David can recover them before I put the rest of the prints in albums so they won’t be out of order.)

41. Buy a scanner (done 10/16/09 and finally all set up today, 10/25/09 – see #70!)

42. Upload old photos (this is in progress as of 10/25/09, but I’m not sure when I’ll consider it completed)

43. Go through photo files and name all photos

44. Buy an apron, maybe from Etsy from Lydia (I got it on 7/21/10 – see her blog for pictures!)

45. Find a recipe for beef burgundy and try it out; see if it compares to this (done 11/7/09, and it was pretty good – not like that one, but very close to one I had in a French restaurant about a month ago; the link to the recipe is in #28 above)

Health & Fitness

46. Lose 40 50 60 pounds, 5 pounds at a time (0/60) (update 9/13/11 – hahahahahahaha!!)

47. Journal food intake (i.e., get back on track with Weight Watchers) for 30 days (finished 10/8/09)

48. Run another 5k (done 4/25/10 – I completed the GW Parkway Classic 5k.  I’m not allowed to run – doctor’s orders – but I did a little anyway.) (update 6/29/12 – I did 5 more 5ks before the end, all in April.  See this post for details.)

49. Take a kickboxing class

50. Take a dance class

51. Get off my medication (I stopped July 3, 2010, but had to start again August 5.  I hate it, but it’s for the best.) (Update 9/13/11 – I stopped taking my meds on 8/18/11 – so far so good.  Hasn’t been easy the whole time, but I think I’m leveling off finally.) (Update 11/27/11 – that did not go well; started again 11/17/11 and I feel much, much better)

52. Floss every day for 30 days (done – finished 4/20/10 and still (mostly) going strong)

53. Take Pico to the vet three times (more as medically necessary) (3/3)

54. Take my vitamins every day for 30 days (finished 8/30/09 – and still (mostly) going strong)

55. Work out 5 days a week for one month (0/20)

56. Finally upgrade my processor or get my back-up processor fixed (fixed 8/18/10 – yay!) (upgraded to latest technology 5/15/11)

Financial

57. Establish a savings account and deposit money from every paycheck (done in 2011 – David and I deposit money into 2 different savings account each pay period)

58. Create and implement plan to pay off credit card 1 (done – February 2011)

59. Create and implement plan to pay off credit card 2 (done – February 2011)

60. Create and implement plan to pay off car (done – October 2011)

61. Figure out whether and how to roll over old 401(k)

Recreation

62. Attend an NFL game (done 9/19/10, Texans-Redskins at FedEx Field:

We had amazing seats – I got the tickets from a friend on Facebook – and it was so much fun!)

63. Go ice roller skating (I changed this one because David pointed out I already have “ice skate at Rockefeller Center” on the list)

64. See games at 3 Major League ballparks I’ve never been to (Done! Astros-Cubs at Wrigley Field on 8/31/09; Indians-Tigers at Comerica Park on 9/1/09; Yankees-Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre on 9/3/09) (Update 9/18/10: I’ve been to three new parks: Twins-Mariners at SafeCo Field on 8/29/10; Rockies-Giants at AT&T Park on 9/1/10; and Angels-A’s at The Coliseum on 9/4/10)

65. Go horseback riding

66. Fly a kite

67. Go to the drive-in

68. Join a bowling league of some kind (we joined the Potomac Curling Club 2/20/10 and signed up for a beginners curling league; league play ended 4/9/10.  We decided to become full members of the Club this season and have been curling regularly in the TGIF league since October!)

69. Go to a monster truck show

70. Drag David into a photo booth get a photo strip of pictures of us (done at the Henry Ford on 8/30/09:

Scan_Pic0002 (Large)

And I did, in fact, have to drag him, but he was a good sport.)

71. Bowl a perfect game on Wii Bowling (my best game so far is 212)

Enrichment

72. Read Anna Karenina (11/27/11 – I have this on my new Kindle Touch and have started; let’s see how it goes. Update 2/19/12 – 53% done; it’s looooooooong!) (update 6/29/12 – 75% done; I keep getting distracted by other books!)

73. Learn to play Euchre, so I can play with David’s family

74. Learn all the state capitals by heart (completed 9/7/09 – made it through the list 5 times over our ten-day trip without missing any, but David says he’s going to retest me in 6 months!)

75. Take a class at the community college

76. See half of the movies on AFI’s  list of the Top 100 Films of the Last 100 Years that I haven’t seen (5/23) (June 2010 – Goodfellas; October 2010 – Psycho; November 2010 – The Deer Hunter; February 2012 – Rear Window; March 2010 – Vertigo)

77. Finish Heart of Darkness, even if it kills me

78. Learn to use 3 new features on my digital camera (1/3) (on our August/September 2010 West Coast vacation, I learned how to use the shutter speed priority setting to take pictures from a moving train or car – thanks Lydia!)

79. Watch the third Godfather film (done 7/30/10; we watched the first two again (not all at once, of course) to get in the right frame of mind – I didn’t hate it)

80. Re-read all 7 Harry Potter books (done 11/6/10) (7/12/10 – Book 1; 7/21/10 – Book 2; 8/1/10 – Book 3; 8/15/10 – Book 4; 9/9/10 – Book 5; 9/27/10 – Book 6; 10/10/10 – Book 7)

Community

81. Volunteer with the Girl Scouts somewhere (I went through all the rigamarole to get approved for GS in the summer of 2009, and even met with a lady who was supposed to set me up with a troop, but she fell off the face of the earth and I can’t get anyone else to respond to me!)

82. Do 10 nice things for strangers and don’t tell anyone about them (done 12/21/10 – this has been one of my favorite items on the list.  I think I’m going to keep going.)

83. Leave a secret in a Post Secret book at the library or bookstore

84. Write three letters to companies whose products I enjoy or who provided excellent service (0/3)

85. Write three letters to companies when I have a problem with a product or service (2/3) (8/21/09 – wrote to AMC about multiple misspellings and improper punctuation in the captions of the season premiere of Mad Men; 10/26/09 – wrote to Belk to express my displeasure at their statement that they canceled my order because the item wasn’t in stock – despite the website indicating it was – without ever notifying me (I only found out after I inquired because I’d only been charged for one item))

86. Send a care package through Anysoldier.com to a soldier serving overseas (done 12/16/10 – I opted not to go through Anysoldier.com because they had all kinds of restrictions and rules and things that made it less, I don’t know, fun than I thought it would be.  I did mine through work at our annual holiday party last week instead.)

Personal

87. Ask my grandmother to write down five memories of her own mother for me

88. Have the Princess and Conductor spend an overnight with me in D.C. and take them to do fun stuff (done – they came 2/13/10 and we saw Disney on Ice!  They had such a great time!

The next morning, we had a Valentine’s breakfast, complete with heart-shaped pancakes!

I am an awesome aunt!) (See also #23)

89. Write actual letters to 10 people telling them how much they mean to me (0/10)

90. Go one weekend (from 6pm Friday to 7am Monday) without using the internet (including from my cell phone)

91. Do something special with Aimee in 2011 to celebrate 20 years of friendship (Update 9/13/11: Aimee suggested tattoos; I countered with a trip to Napa.  We’re still deciding.) (Update 11/27/11 – I think sky diving – haven’t suggested this to Aimee yet!)

92. Take David on a picnic

93. Continue the Christmas cookie weekend tradition with Karen (3/3) (2009 Cookie Weekend) (2010 Cookie Weekend happened, but I didn’t blog it because apparently I don’t blog anymore) (2011 Cookie Weekend happened too, but I still don’t blog anymore!)

94. Get a haircut and maintain it with regular (every 6 months) trims (8/22/09 – hair cut; 2/28/10 – trim; 8/15/10 – sweet little cut that added bangs; 2/12/11 – trim; 8/19/11 – trim; 2/20/12 – cut with bangs)

95. Write myself a letter at FutureMe.org to be delivered on the end date of this challenge (done 12/17/09)

96. Find a new job (Update 11/27/11 – I have decided to stay on at my current job for the foreseeable future)

97. Finally get my diploma and bar certificates framed (done 12/11/09)

98. Send someone flowers for no reason (done – they were delivered 2/19/10 – I sent my good friend from college some sunflowers (her favorite), and she loved them!)

99. Buy new running shoes (done 1/2/10)

100. Buy new iPod (done 2/4/10 – my parents bought me a Nano for an early birthday present!)

101. Marry David (DONE – 10/15/11!)

Update: 101 in 1001

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
– Leonardo Da Vinci

A year ago yesterday, I posted my list, with a year ago today as the starting date.  One year in, I’ve completed 26 items and have started 21 more.  I think that’s pretty good!  By the end of the year, I anticipate that at least 10 things will change from either not started or in progress to complete.

This has been a good exercise for me.  Even though I haven’t been writing here at all lately, my list is always on my mind.  David often comes up with ideas and says, “Is that on your list?”  I love that he’s as invested in me completing it as I am.  Having goals is important, I think; it helps you to keep moving forward when you feel stuck or overwhelmed, as I have been lately.

I hope you enjoy following along with me; I’m sorry it hasn’t been a more interactive experience (i.e., I’m sorry I’ve been to lazy or apathetic to post about some of the things I’ve done).  Hopefully that can change going forward.  There’s lots of fun stuff on tap!

The Rundown

The silence depressed me.  It wasn’t the silence of silence.  It was my own silence.
— from The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

Yeah, I know: It’s been a while.  It might be a long time again after this, I don’t know.  I’m debating the whole blog thing.

Here’s what’s been up:

This is the closet in the guest room:

Well, that’s one side of the closet.  The other side has luggage and holiday decorations and crap.  Irrelevant to this discussion.  The reason I’m showing you this is because slowly but surely, over the past year or so, I’ve moved clothes from my closet in our room to this closet because I’ve grown out of them and I didn’t want to look at them anymore.  There are still several things in my closet that should go here, but, as you see, I’ve run out of room.  This collection includes: two suits, THE dress, a fitted boy-blue button down down shirt with pearly buttons that looked amazing on me, the pencil skirt I was wearing the day David and I first kissed, this shirt, several awesome pairs of pants, and an untold number of other items of clothing that I would ordinarily wear to work.  Isn’t that terrible?  There’s probably $1000 or more of clothes in there that I can’t wear right now, which is really such a bummer.  The corollary, of course, is that I’ve had to slowly but surely buy bigger clothes, and shopping has become my least favorite activity and hasn’t been cheap.

But hey, let’s look on the bright side, shall we?  I lost two pounds at weigh-in this week, and 1.something last week, and it’s the first time I’ve had two losses in a row in a very long time.  I also tracked everything this week for the first time in forever.  So, maybe things are looking up.  Hopefully, in about 10 pounds or so, I’ll be able to slowly but surely start shopping in the guest room closet!

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I was down in Richmond over Memorial Day weekend, and the Princess (who turned SIX last week and just finished kindergarten) read me a whole book on her own, sounding out the tough words and everything!  I was so proud of her!

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David and I are planning a big vacation for the end of the summer.  We’re flying to Chicago and then taking the train to Seattle – it’s two overnights, so we booked a sleeper compartment (yeah, #9 on the list!).  We’ll spend a couple days in Seattle, then rent a car and drive down the coast, spending one night in Portland and another night somewhere in Oregon.  The we’ll head to San Francisco for several days before flying home.  I cannot wait – I love traveling with David, and this trip is going to be awesome.  Last night, we got baseball tickets – of course – so I get to go to three new stadiums (we’ll see the Twins/Mariners in Seattle, the Rockies/Giants in San Fran, and the Angels/A’s in Oakland)!

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We’re gardening on the balcony again this summer, but I haven’t taken any pictures yet.  Flower-wise, we’ve got petunias, geraniums, and – new this year – snap dragons.  We’ve also got two kinds of tomatoes, spinach, and strawberries.  I can’t wait to see how everything comes out!

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. . . Really?  It’s been almost a month since I posted, and that’s all I can come up with?  I sure am boring, I guess.  Well, there’s one other thing I’ve done that I’m very excited about, but I’m not really supposed to talk about it, so . . . sorry!

The Rest of the Story

I wondered if there were someone just like me on another planet, if they had dry cleaners up there, and the symbol and myth of Jesus Christ.  I wanted to find out what she did when her heart grew so heavy not even lying smack on the ground relieved the terrible ache.
– from Book of Ruth, by Jane Hamilton

So it’s no secret around here that I have a wee, small, barely noticeable – ha – hearing problem.  The story of how it started is here.   But I first wrote that five years after the fact, and it really only tells the story of the day I woke up and couldn’t hear and then takes a hopeful turn at the end.  What most people don’t know is that April 29, 2002, was actually not the worst day of my life, though I certainly thought so at the time.  That day came about 10 months later – February 24, 2003.  That’s what this part of the story is about.  Lucky for me, I was a more diligent journaler back then, so what you’re about to read is the most accurate story I can give you, because it was written about two weeks after the saddest day of my life.

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Well, I couldn’t have imagined what would happen in the month that’s passed since I last wrote.  On February 24, I woke up at 7am and couldn’t hear . . . it was like all the other times, it just felt like pressure in my head and like if I could just yawn big enough it would go away.  I wasn’t all that worried; each of the other “episodes” (maybe 5 or 6 since July [2002]) went away over the course of the day, so I went back to sleep.  What could I do?  I was so tired, and the doctor’s office wasn’t open yet.

Looking back now, I think I should have known better — it always got worse when I slept — and just gotten up.  As it happened, when I woke up again at 9:30, it was much worse than any other time before.  Nathaniel met me at the doctor’s office at 10:15, and by the time I had my hearing test and got in to see the doctor at 11:15, I knew this was not going to turn out like all the other times.

I’ve had two hearing tests since then, each with only marginal improvement, barely enough to cover the margin of error on the test itself.  Basically, without my hearing aid [which I had but hadn't worn up until then because it didn't give me enough benefit to make it worth it in the first 10 months] (which serves me better than it ever did before), I can only hear very loud or very high-pitched noises.  Maybe that’s not really accurate . . . I can hear the coffee grinder and the toilet flushing and the water running, but I can also hear the keyboard clacking as I type and the snapping of fingers and the [tone of the] push buttons on the cordless phone.  What I can’t hear is the TV or music, or people’s voices unless they are right next to me, and even then, that’s a struggle.

I didn’t realize how good I had it the last 10 months . . . I kept lamenting my fate, and now I would give anything to get back to what I could hear on the 23rd.  At least then I could sing along to the radio and watch TV without my hearing aid and hear voices.

I’ve talked about this so many times over the past two weeks that I don’t even want to write it again here, but this is where it should be, so I will.  I mostly feel like I’m drowning, dying, like my heart is physically breaking.  I can’t sleep, I cry all the time, and think about killing myself.  In the daylight, I can see that’s crazy and I know I would never do it, but it sometimes seems preferable to a life without sound.  There are many moments of complete self-pity, which are sometimes followed in short order by moments of clarity in which I know for sure that I will get through this.

There is a deep and terrible ache in my soul when I think about what I have lost and how my life is not going to turn out the way I thought it would.  I feel as though I am being punished for something, not because I really believe in karma, but because there is no other explanation.  I am angry that I spent the last 10 months crawling out of the darkest hole I could imagine, and just when I was at the point when I could see the light and just when I was beginning to know and believe that life could still be good, I got swallowed back up.

I feel like I can’t admit the amount of pain I am in because it is an unfair burden to place on my family and friends.  It hurts them to see me in a pain they can’t take away, so I would rather shield them from that.  They all say that’s unnecessary, but I can see that I could wear down their patience and understanding without meaning to, and then I’d be left with nothing, with no one.

My biggest fear is that I will now never get anyone to fall in love with me, so I might never get the things I dreamed of: a family and a home.*  I feel like I am damaged goods in more ways than one, and I don’t know how to present myself to the world.  I can’t imagine getting to know anyone new — most of my old “friends” can’t even be bothered to deal with the deaf girl anymore, so why should anyone new be any different?

I am conflicted in so many ways:  I want help, but I don’t want to ask for it; I want people to acknowledge this change, but I don’t want people to treat me any differently; I want my family around me, but when they’re here, I push them away; I want my friends to be with me, but I want to be alone; I want to die, but I so want my life back.  I am so close to the edge of crazy, I can feel it calling to me.  I could be an alcoholic if I hadn’t been a Psych major.  What I wouldn’t give to check myself into a hospital for a week and just let go . . . but no, that’s not the way it’s done in my family.  We’re much too strong for that; we don’t need hospitalization or medication, even when you want to drive your car off the nearest cliff (of which, luckily, there aren’t too many around here).

I pray every night for guidance and patience and strength that I might find my way through this.  If I am honest, I also pray to get even just a little bit better, which I know is selfish, but I can’t help it.  I don’t know who I’m praying to, and, of course, I never used to pray at all, but I’m not sure what else to do.  It seems like it can’t hurt, and maybe it’s the only way to find an answer.  I don’t want to be sad or angry all the time; I wish I didn’t have to go through this process all over again.  I want to skip straight to the part where I accept that this is what’s happened to me and now I just have to “straighten up and fly right” and get on with the rest of my life.  But I don’t know what that looks like, and I sure as hell don’t know any shortcuts to get there.

I want to be happy again, I want to weave my parachute out of everything broken, as they say, I want to be ok and not want to hide under the covers afraid of the world.  I feel like so much has been taken from me, and I don’t really feel safe in the world anymore, and I am not the same person I was last month, let alone last March before all this happened.  And that makes me angry.  I was a good person, and I was changing and becoming who I wanted to be and I liked that person and I was happy.  Now I feel like I don’t know anything for sure anymore, and that’s not fair.

I only have 3 friends now, and my family; my world has shrunk smaller than I would have ever imagined, and people that I thought truly cared about me have decided they don’t or can’t and I’ve had to let them go.  The last 10-and-a-half months have been the worst of my life, and the last two weeks have managed to be even worse.  I know it doesn’t help to stew in it, and I try to get up each day and just live it, but it is not easy.  I want to be happy, I want to even believe that I can be happy again.  I try to hold on to what is true for me, but right now it’s not so clear to me what those things are.

I pray, I truly do, for guidance; I know I need help to find my way because I honestly do feel lost.  My mind doesn’t feel connected to the rest of me.  I walk around in a shell of myself, like my soul is missing.  I need to be put back together . . . I just hope I can find all the pieces.

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Even this doesn’t tell the whole story.  That day, February 24th, after my doctor’s appointment, I was inconsolable.  I don’t know if even Nate or Aimee know this, but when I got home from the doctor’s office, I laid on the floor of my room and sobbed for at least an hour.  I cried big, hard tears, and rocked from side to side, because there was so much pain inside me I couldn’t stay still.  I cried so loudly and for so long that I thought my neighbors would call someone, and part of me wanted them to.  I wanted someone – a fireman, an EMT, a police officer – to walk into my apartment and find me wracked with sobs and in such pain that they would immediately take me somewhere where I couldn’t hurt myself and where I could just cry for days without having to worry about scaring anyone with the intensity of my sadness.  No one came.

I don’t remember the aftermath of that – when Aimee came home, or when my parents came back down, or what happened in the two weeks between living those hours of that day and writing about them.  I just remember lying on my bedroom floor and wishing I was dead so I wouldn’t have to hurt anymore.

But I didn’t die, obviously; heartache doesn’t kill you.  It doesn’t make you stronger, either, in my opinion; it just nearly kills you.

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* This night, down on the waterfront with David, I looked up at him and, with complete wonder in my voice, knowing I was in love for good, I said, “I’m going to get everything I want.”  I only just realized the parallel when I typed that line from my journal.  Life is a funny – wonderful, glorious, mysterious – thing.

P.S. This is the first of the 25 posts that will complete #2 on my 101 in 1001 list – this is suggestion #7 (Examine your paperwork) in 100 Ideas for Your Blog

10 Days: Days 1-3

One day, Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Chesire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered.  “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”
– from Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Where to begin?  I can’t even keep track of all the great stuff we did and saw.

We left for Detroit on Friday morning and arrived somewhere around 6pm.  On the way, somewhere in Ohio, we passed the Happy Hooker Bait Shop, which made me giggle for about a mile.  We also stopped at a place we discovered on the way home from Detroit at Christmas: Beef Jerky Unlimited.  And it’s just what it sounds like: barrels and barrels of all types and flavors of jerky, though not just beef – they have pork and turkey jerky (hee) too.  Here’s a picture from Christmas:

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The sign on the door prohibited pictures, so I can’t show you the awesomeness inside.  I did take a picture of the sign, though.IMG_1261

Friday night, we went bowling with David’s best friend from home.  Despite my fancy purple bowling shoes, I only broke 100 once in three games.  But at least there was beer.

On Saturday, we went to The Henry Ford.  We only had enough time to tour the museum, but they have some great stuff.  Unfortunately, the pictures are on David’s computer at the moment, so I can’t show you the museum-worthy Ford Taurus.  Maybe later.  The best part of the whole museum, though, is the Dymaxion House.  I want one of these round, aluminum houses so much.  Sadly, Mr. Fuller’s financing fell through and only one of them was ever actually built.  The Graham family lived in the house, but they built around it so it looked like this.  They eventually donated it to The Henry Ford Museum, and my dreams of living in it are forever dashed.  Boo.

Saturday night we headed to Dave & Busters with David’s friends for some fun games.  I had never played table shuffleboard (or whatever it’s called) before, but it was fun.  Must put that on the list of things to have in the game room of our fantasy house.  David kicked my butt in air hockey, despite my best trash talk.  We amassed somewhere in the neighborhood of 3500 tickets that night, but we opted not to cash any in – they didn’t have anything good in the prize room.

Sunday we had a birthday lunch for David with his dad’s family, which was lovely.  After, we played some games with his brother and step-mom, including Clue, which I haven’t played in ages.  David won 3 out of 4 games.  I won zero. Awesome.

We had always talked about getting out of town, at least overnight, during our stay in Detroit, but we hadn’t decided where to go.  Around dinner time, we started discussing it in earnest, and tossed out Toronto (we knew there was more we wanted to do there than our brief trip from Buffalo would allow), Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and “Up North.”  We had considered Chicago before we left on the trip and dismissed it because David said the Cubs were out of town.  Well, we double checked Sunday evening, and he had been wrong.  We saw that we were able to get tickets, which meant I could fulfill #64 on the list (go to three Major League ballparks I’ve never been to) in this one trip, and that sealed the deal.  We quickly booked a hotel and packed a bag, and left for Chicago at 8pm, and arrived around 1am Monday morning.  That’s the most spontaneous trip I’ve ever been on in my life, and it was so fun!

And I’ll tell you all about it next time!