Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Summer's Gone

"You gave away the things you loved, and one of them was me" -Carly Simon

It's not that I mind getting older. Truly. I'm not one of those crazy people who's afraid of aging


I do have to say that

the birthday blog I planned to write two weeks ago never happened on account of my crying uncontrollably in my dark bedroom for a good portion of the night.

The day went something like this:

1. Woke up at 5:50 for work.
2. Worked.
3. Stayed after work to be present while COTA officers watched auditions for the Valentine's Day show. Several students showed up. No COTA officers did.
4. Skipped Friday coffee with the kids since birthday cake was forthcoming.
5. Got headphones from Glenn, which I'd been saying I needed for weeks. Wanted to cry. (Honestly, he could have given me Tom DeLonge, and I'd still have felt the urge to burst into tears.)
6. Kind of lost it when Griffin asked me 47 times when we were going for dinner so he'd know when he could go to band practice.
7. Lost it.
8. Pizza at John the Baker
9. Left John the Baker immediately after ordering because I was in a bitchy mood (or maybe I'm just a bitch) and my beer came in a hot plastic mug. Plus, they didn't have cheesy garlic rolls.
10. Pizza at Luv'N Oven. Peroni in a glass. Garlic rolls with cheese. Lots of it.
11. Dropped Griffin off at band practice.
12. Got a locket from Heather, which I picked out. Wanted to cry. (See #5)
13. Cake
14. Put the lemon cake with whipped cream frosting back in the box that was supposed to contain white cake with buttercream.
15. Willed the day to just fucking end.
16. Bed.

It looks bad, I know, and it was--but it didn't have to be. Despite taking precautions to not be--running 3 miles the night before, listening to happy music, thinking of the good things--I felt depressed for days, if not weeks, leading up to January 17. And like I said in the beginning, it's not the getting old that I mind (except that's not true, not at all, not one little bit, I look at the dark spot on my hand and the thin purplish purple veins on my anklescalvesthigh and the trenches that run horizontal in my forehead and the skin that looks like crumpled up paper under my eyes and the gray hairs on the left side of my head that stand erect like they've just been struck by lighting and the stomach that suddenly sticks out like I'm seven months pregnant and the thighs that have the consistency of a rubber band that's been stretched snapped stretched snapped stretched snapped until it's lost any semblance of tautness it ever had and I want to cry and I want to scream and I want to yell to the world that this isn't me, I don't look like this, this shape this face this skin these hands aren't mine, they're a mistake and if I just try a little harder and run a little farther and read a few more magazines and eat a few less meals, I'll be me one day again I swear I swear I swear that after thirty-nine years, this isn't what I've turned out to be), it's the changes in my life that have come along with it.


A couple years ago, in the blog post And Then Your Mom Goes Around the Corner and She Licks It Up, I wrote about the very close friends I've had throughout my life; friends who were more family than family; friends who witnessed the birth of my children; who I spent every holiday with; who I celebrated, and mourned, milestones with; who I shared my life with; who shaped my life the way it is.


If it weren't for Glenn, Griffin, and Keifer, I would've stormed out of John the Baker and drank Peroni out of a cold, frosty glass at Luv'N Oven alone.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy Holiday, You Bastard! Take Two.

I've never really been one to make New Year's resolutions.The way I see it, if I want to do something badly enough, waiting for January 1 to get it done is just silly. I understand the symbolism of endings and beginnings, but I also understand--and value--the importance of doing what has to be done when it's time to do it. That being said, understanding something and valuing it doesn't always translate into getting something done. So this year, I'm going to do what I've rarely done before. I'm going to resolve.*

*A note. While it's true that New Year's resolutions aren't really my thing, I'm no stranger to extreme behavior changes, key word being extreme (forget behavior changes. Extreme and me, we just go hand in hand. Extremely). For me, life has always pretty much been all or nothing. No dairy products. No white flour. X amount of running. 20 points a day and no more. And guess how successful I've been with those.


**This year, extreme won't be a problem. You are now reading the word of a kinder, gentler Kel.***

***This kinder gentler Kel is, not coincidentally, partially a product of my New Year's resolutions. It's also a part product of getting old. But we won't talk about that.

And so, without further ado, my kind, gentle New Year's resolutions.

1. Be happy. It's vague, I know. In the past, I'd have written something akin to, In an effort to be happy, do THIS. This year, I'll do no such thing. What I'll do is appreciate the things I have. A husband I really love who would, and does, do absolutely everything for me despite my not always being so deserving. Two sons who are super cute and pretty smart (though they're no me) and healthy and who, for the most part, I have unnaturally good mother-son relationships with.

2. Be beautiful. And soft. For this one, I must refer back to number 1. The people I know who are the most beautiful, at least to me, are happy. Or maybe not happy so much as...accepting? Content? At peace? I can't pinpoint the absolute cause, but I know it when I see it. When I think of the people I find most beautiful--Erin, Mary, Jessica, Fabiola, Dawn, North Star--the thing they have in common is a certain softness, a softness that I chalk up to the inner them rather than the outer. This beauty has nothing to do with convention or even with affection (in fact, I can think of a specific woman who I don't like AT ALL, a woman who I don't think is a good person AT ALL, but even she, despite being about 50 pounds overweight and having pockmarked skin like sandpaper and a host of other superficial atrocities, has that beautiful softness about her, and there's nothing I can attribute that to despite her being happy in her life, in her position, in her own skin); lots of other women I know may be more show-stoppingly beautiful, but they, in their beauty, don't have what I'm talking about...or what I'm looking for.

3. Understand change and accept it. Things don't stay the same. They can't. They shouldn't, even when we want them to. This has always been one of the most difficult things for me to accept, but it's time. It's time for me to let go of dying friendships and old ideals. Sitting home, looking at Facebook, and lamenting, yet again, my not being invited to someone's house or someone's "outing" is no longer for me.

4. Accept that some things are just the way they are. Yes, there are certain relationships in my life I wish were different, but as much as I hate the saying it is what it is, they are what they are. I know I'll never have the storybook relationships with certain people that I'd like to have. Now that I know it, it's time to accept it; to make the best of it; to be happy with what they are, not with what I want them to be.

5. Be healthy, and don't get fat(ter). Notice, for the first time in my life, I'm not saying, Be skinny. And, no, I haven't given up, and I'm not sour-graping it; I've just realized my goals were wrong, at least for me. I want to run more, walk more, eat less. Ride Pepper. Be more flexible. Take time, every single day, to move, and not just from the couch to the kitchen or doorway to the car. I tend to be such a lazy person, but there's absolutely no denying that the the more I move, the better I feel.

6. Be nervy. No more staying places that suck the life out of me (and everyone else) just because I feel comfortable. I need to understand that even if I make a mistake, which I surely will, I have the ability to fix it. If I move to Chicago and fail miserably, I can always move back. If I change schools and don't like the new one more than the old, well, you live and you learn. The important thing is, if I don't try, I'll never know.

7. Be nice(r). Let's face it. Nice isn't who I am, nor is it something I'm willing to fake. But I care about people. And animals. I'm compassionate. I'm empathetic. I believe life is better when people are good. And this year, I'm going to work on being even more of all the above.

And with that, I'll leave you to enjoy your New Year's Day. To you, and you, and you, and you--but no, not to you--I wish you a year filled with happiness and good fortune.

May all of your resolutions come true.