Tag Archives: life

A new beginning.

Two weeks after the beginning of a new year, and everything is already very different… and yet completely the same. I’m sitting in the bedroom, watching mosquitoes hover in front of my cat-eye frames, and blaming myself for not remembering to close the window screen after Riley opened it to make sure I heard him yell, “Mama! Mama! Mamaaaaa!!”

That was his greeting when I got home from school. 

I’d come home early because of a headache and my body’s need to relax, and there he was, happy to see me, positively radiant and beaming in his I-LOVE-my-mommy!-ness. Micah was in the bath, and when he saw me, he lit up like a firecracker and I swore I saw heaven. 

And then I remembered that Rob’s mom had passed away from lung cancer and that she’d never see my babies’ smiles, and I wanted to smoke and eat and shop and act out every other vice I have. 

It’s been a hard year so far.

I miss Rob’s mom. There are money issues plaguing me. My extended family is showing itself to be more and more bat-shit crazy. Rob and I are having a hard time being Rob and I. And in the midst of all this, I’m tentatively putting one foot in front of the other, making my way towards something better than what I’ve got, and mindful that everything could blow up in my face at any moment.

 

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The end of my first official semester as a nursing student.

For those of you keeping track, today marks the one-year anniversary that I’ve been living in the Philippines. Two weeks after I moved here, I started school. Technically then, the semester that ended yesterday was my second semester as a nursing student – only it isn’t.

In the States, each school has its own curriculum, so that you may be an English major in School A and take a slew of classes not offered at School B. Also, States-side, undergraduates are given a list of classes to take, and, except for those requiring prerequisites, they may take the classes in any desired order.

Over here? Not so much. Undergraduate courses are regulated by the federal government, so that an English major in School A will take the same classes as an English major at School B. Also, some of the classes are exclusively offered during specific semesters, so if you missed out on the prerequisite to Nursing 101, guess what? You’re officially a year behind on graduating. [NOTE: I’m not sure if this is a national thing, or it’s something that my only school does.]

I happened to start school during the 2nd semester (aka Spring semester, for Americans), and thus I kind of started off-beat. This highlights the fact that no matter how many classes I take per semester, I’ll never graduate early. And that? Pisses me off on so. Many. Levels.

No matter how pissed off I get, though, I have to admit: Being a nursing student in the Philippines has been the most challenging academic experience of my life.

Not only do I have to adjust to a completely new way of studying/teaching/learning, but I also have to work out the science and math hemisphere of my brain, as opposed to the writing side. And those two things, combined? They’re hella hard. Believe it.

So maybe I beat myself up over the decision to become a nurse. Maybe I worry sometimes that it’s the wrong choice. Maybe I miss conducting meetings all day with clients, and doing dom sessions all the time. But this turn in the road? It makes me feel like I can do anything and do it well. For that, I’ll never regret it.

On dark foreshadowings.

I turned 26 years old on October 1st. As I wished, it was like any other day – though I did receive presents, eat lots of yummy food, and go to the wake of a dear friend’s brother.

It was there, at the wake, that life unfolded in front of me. Schoolmates laughed and cracked jokes. A mother and sister valiantly held themselves together in the face of severe grief. Friends attempted to shoulder some of the burden of loss. And in the pit of my stomach was the nagging pang that the world had lost someone beautiful.

This man, whose life had been cherished by many people, was someone I never had the privilege of meeting. And yet, somehow, embedded in the gray, misty sky and minute droplets of rain, were fragments of his smile. I was sure of it. We sat under tents and ate sopas as love passed through us and soaked our spirits in warmth, and a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation overtook me.

May he rest in peace.

*****

You make life worth living. Yes, you. Thank you.

*****

I used to play a game. I’d talk out loud, as if I was being filmed for a TV special. As I was talking, I’d pretend to be someone I know. A friend. An acquaintance. A teacher. A lover. A family member. I’d be anyone and everyone, and always, I’d describe myself in the third person and go on and on about my life and what I had been like when I was alive. I was, in essence, playing the parts in a cinematic biography of my life.

Or maybe cinematic obituary is more accurate.

The point is, this game helped me to figure out how I wanted to be remembered, and in that way, it was responsible for the creation of my personality and behavior. It helped me figure out how to live, and because of that, I’ve been able to live by my own rules, following my own desires, and always on my own terms. That right there is what I’m most proud of.

*****

Every year, on my birthday, as I blow out a new candle on my cake, I make a wish for something that I really need. Every year, there is a lesson that I must learn, or a characteristic I must develop. Every year, it comes true. This year, I couldn’t think of anything to wish for. I was all out of wishes.

*****

As far as I can remember, I’ve had friends with extraordinarily clairvoyant insights. In the last few months, many of them have been haunted by premonitions about me. They don’t know what’s in store, but they’re plagued by an unsettling suspicion that something will happen.

I’m rattled by the onslaught of concern. But I don’t know what to do except for what I’m already doing. I just have to keep on living. To the best of my ability. Like no one’s watching. And as if I’ve only got today.

Ready? Set. Go.

For better or for worse, I’ve reached a point in my life where I only have an hour each week to use as recreational internet time. This fact is boggling my mind.

Sure, I have one of those fancy-schmancy cell phones, so I’m connected to the internet. Also, there are four computers in this house. And, yeah, I have an incredibly capable and supportive partner who is currently between jobs and out of school. But really, my plate is full with the making and executing of plans, and I don’t like talking about what I’m doing while I’m doing it.

Still, I really want to share what’s going on with me. I just feel like, with all that’s going on and my newfound apprehension about giving a detailed and direct play-by-play, I’ll end up becoming one of those boring-ass people who want so badly to be perceived as important that they only ever whine about how busy their life is. And I really really really don’t want that to happen.

So. (And this part was a long time coming, I think.)

The solution? I’ve been waiting for the time to talk about the good stuff. The life stuff. The art stuff. It’s all the same, really. I’ve been waiting for the right time to write about the moments each day that enlighten me, inspire me, teach me, and fulfill me. I want to talk about the passions that drive me, the fears that plague me, and the discomforts and delights of daily living. (And I want to do it all more succinctly, and with more of an eye to storytelling, since I’ve realized lately that I’m all about life being art being life being art, et al.) That time is now.

I want to share with you what my life is really like.:The mess of the house and the ongoing furniture-moving and decorating; the craziness of having six dogs and two cats living on our property;  the awesomeness that are my might-as-well-be-in-laws, and the awesomeness that are my parents (both sets of ‘rents are living in the States); the things I see outside my office window; the adventure that is mine and Rob’s decision-making process about adopting children. Everything. I realize that I’ve been hitting the big points, aka the topics that create great change within me. But I haven’t really been sharing the small things that move me, inch-by-inch making me who I’ll be tomorrow. That’s what’s been missing from our conversation, and you are too important to not know that stuff.

I want you to know me. I mean, really know me.

So I’m changing the way I communicate, the things I communicate about, and the reason for communicating. I’m giving you not only the backstage pass to all things Me, but also a super-up-close-and-personal tour of my mistakes and foibles. I’m letting you follow me as I fall – let’s face it,  I’m making huge leaps and bounds, so I’m sure to fall flat on my face very often – and  that’s a HUGE deal for me. I’m facing the fact that my life may very well not end up as I want it to be… and yet, regardless of how it turns out, it will have been perfect.

And I’m doing all this because of what I’ve learned since my last post: Life is too short to do anything half-assed, and blogging is the only sure-fire way to keep in touch with people I care about. I’m saying “Fuck you!” to all my fears of overexposure, and I’m sticking by my belief that I am beautiful and so are you. We can do no wrong by being ourselves, and living our lives loud and proud.

Hopefully, I’m right, and my weekly hour of internet will be enough to prove it. Or, ya know, I might just scrounge up some more time in front of the keyboard.

Proof that I’m an awful person.

I wonder sometimes if I’m too greedy, like maybe I want too much or am too ambitious. I reread all of my happy posts – the ones where I’m on top of the world and in love with life – and they remind me that I very frequently am indeed happy. But then I reach a state of general malaise, and when I wonder where it came from and how to combat it, all I can think of is Relax a bit, then keep on keepin’ on. I give myself time to unwind and feel every part of the yuck, but I don’t dwell on it.

This non-dwelling is a new development for me. It used to be, I’d sit and ponder and generally over-analyze myself into depression, then I’d act out in any number of physically- and emotionally-unhealthy ways. The yuck would have eaten away at me until I had more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese, at which point I’d find redemption in the kind arms of some hottie with as many equally-complicated problems as myself, bury my issues in a cave of philosophy, and tell myself that everything was okay. That this sort of strangeness only added to my creative persona. That none of the true literary geniuses were happy and uncomplicated anyway. That normal is overrated and healthy is subjective.

It was all such convenient bullshit.

The thing is, I kind of believe it.

I’m not proud to admit it, and I see where there are holes in my logic, but I can’t help but think it’s true: The greatest minds are always attached to tortured souls – not your regular tortured soul, but a truly demented, ridiculously complicated, amazingly dark tortured soul. And on days like today, when I’m stuck in a room, sleeping off my terrible flu-like symptoms, writing out lists whenever I have enough strength to hold a pen, and being wracked by uncontrollable coughing fits, I can’t help but sink back into my old way of thinking and wonder if I’ve wasted all of my potential for artistic genius. Could it be that I traded in The Life for Motherhood?

I look at my terribly boring existence – with a guy who drives me crazy and loves me unconditionally; a beautiful son who is a pleasure to raise; friends and family who are loyal, supportive, and wonderful; writing that’s going smoothly and providing money in the bank  – and I can’t help but long for all of the complications. Not complications like Where is the next paycheck coming from? and Why don’t my parents love me? but complications like… well, now that I think of it, I’m not sure what kind of complications I want. I just know that this doesn’t feel like enough. I just know that something is missing. I just know that I crave some big change. Because obviously moving to the other side of the world wasn’t enough of a change.

Times like this, I think about trading Rob in for another model; quitting nursing school and going back to domming, full time; emptying the accounts, slinging Riley onto my back and starting over again. But then, I think of what I’d do, and I draw a blank until I crash back into my old self. What would I do? All the stuff I used to do, I guess.

Only, I could never really be that girl again. I’ve seen too much, grown too much, been too much to too many people. I can’t just squander this opportunity to be something bigger and better than just some artistic genius. I guess I just have to believe it first, that there is something bigger and better than being an awesome writer. That this life that I’ve made for myself is what I really want, what I really crave. That it’s not just a Plan B. That it’s not just me, working with what I’ve got.

Because sometimes, when I think of how easy it all is – about how I hardly have to lift a finger to achieve some kind of coveted awesome – I can’t help but think I must be missing something. Am I unwittingly making some awful mistake? Am I tragically doing something really, really wrong? Surely, life isn’t supposed to be this grand. Surely, I’m not made for this kind of Happy.

I’m Done “Growing Up”

Up until I got pregnant, my favorite pasttime was pontificating about the great unknowns. Love, death, religion, the existence of God, the value of life – all of these issues mattered significantly to my curious and pretentious mind. I swore up and down that I was in the process of “figuring out all of the important issues”, and that I was thisclose to actually succeeding at my task.

Every time I came across a seemingly pivotal realization, I chalked it up to “growing up.” Well of course I just figured this out; I’m growing up. And I guess, in that way, “growing up” was almost linear, like some race to a finish line of fulfillment. Every time I noticed something new, I was only adding to my momentum, getting that much closer to being a full-fledged adult. I was buying my way into a seemingly sanctified stage of life, wherein I was master and controller of My Self. I was getting closer to being my own person, a person who was untouchable by anyone’s needs and wants, a person who did as she pleased and was pleased by what she did. A person who didn’t need to justify her actions.

But then I made the decision to become a mom, and I realized that whatever weight the term growing up had ever carried was now shifted and downgraded into practical non-existence. I’m going to be a mom; this is My Self. In one fell swoop, without even trying, I’d become the person I’d been attempting to become for so long. The woman who didn’t want or need agreement or justification to live her life the way she wanted. The woman who just knows.

Maybe I’m looking too deeply into that term, growing up. Maybe I’m finding insult where it doesn’t exist. Maybe I’m making it out to be worse than it really is. Maybe. Or maybe growing up is something I’ve outgrown, and therefore find no use for. Maybe growing up is what happens when you’re still unsure about who you are and what you’re about (things that don’t apply to me). Maybe growing up is a race whose finish line I’ve finally crossed. Maybe.

I can say with certainty that I still have those A-ha! moments that put the world into focus. I still have those discussions that tweak my perspectives and make me analyze. I still pontificate pretentiously, ad nauseum. But doing so only seems to reaffirm an already hard-won scrap of knowledge. When these A-ha! moments happen, I am not enlightened, but instead reminded of an enlightenment that I’ve experienced. Instead of learning who I am, I’m merely acknowledging what’s there. It’s no longer called growing up. It’s simply called being me.