Recently we had a ‘take your breathe away’ loss in our family that brought us to our knees with a sobering reality. We have been in this spot before, of eye opening clarity, but strangely allowed our self to get back to the blind leading the blind.
One moment we lived a few states away, keeping up with each other via texting and other social media platforms. The next a family member knocking on my door to make sure I didn’t find out any other way that he had passed away.
I am one of those people who have spent a lifetime being friends with “calamity janes” that seem to always have the crazy things happen to them. These things never happen to me but they always happen around me. I should be used to the crazy flux of emotions to happen. That’s not me trying to throw my own pity party by any means. That’s just me wondering why I have not come up with a better way to handle myself.
Then again these types of things are too sudden.
I can’t wrap my head around it. My heart aches. I miss my friend. I want to go back to the simple talk about awesome new tattoo’s and the best cover bands. I wanna laugh about family reunions and the weird stages our cousins go through. I wanna share my children with you and take more vacations with you.
The endless struggle between what type of person I want to be versus what type of person will I be happy to see looking back at me in pictures and through the mirror is not something I have conquered yet.
I hear a lot of people say that they never get passed that however I believe that this has become my number one goal. The way I grew up was very nonplussed about the way I looked. I owned mirrors of course, and I always attempted to keep some sort of style to my cloths. Most the time that style was a tshirt and jeans with some sort of tennis shoe. Not very classy. I didn’t wear a lot of make up nor do much with my hair. To be honest I was probably in high school before what I did with my hair really became an issue.
You see, I was the tomboy. The sports girl. If it wasn’t one sport it was another. Basketball, volleyball, soccer you name it. I love riding my bike skateboarding and rollerblading too. I jammed to too loud of music, mainly some sort of r&b concept, mixed with rap when I could get away with it. I watched the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox every chance that I could get. I fell into a relationship with a kid that was in a school play with me one year when I was convinced to try something new since girls basketball was over and the only active sport at my school was cheerleading. (Don’t get me wrong, I was drug into that too since I was the loudest person in my school. Trust me you don’t want those details.)
I stayed dating that guy for a couple of years off and on (like almost all relationships at that age) but to this day I can’t figure out if he knew and liked me just because I was just like one of the guys. He died, so I can’t ask.
So instead I find myself in my old age of 30something going through and learning things that me peers learned as a teenager. Acne? Never learned how to handle that so these constant shifts wearing masks has me looking like I’m pubescent again. Multiple layers on makeup to guarantee all day wear? Wow, here I was still hoarding pressed powder I bough five years ago. ( Yes I now know there are expiration dates.) Silly problems to be having I know.
So as I edit pictures from my last family function I find myself having weird feelings about seeing myself in these pictures. I have lost some weight recently, not that you can tell in any one of these pictures. I thought it would be more obvious I guess. I find beauty in the natural state of my hair and face. I knew I would be in the pictures so it wasn’t like I didn’t have time to do myself up. I just fought with that tomboy side of me that said it didn’t matter.
More so however, I find me. The me that I try to not see in the mirror when I walk by. The me that welcomes me every time I see a picture, mirror or reflective glass. The one that never minded sweat therapy, never worried about guys opinions and was exponentially happier than the me of late.
One day when I was in my teenage years and my father said something that stuck with me. He told me that in a conversation with HIS mother at some point they had started saying phrase when they would get overwhelmed. There must have been multiple things that they came up with over the years but this one stuck with me.
Maybe it was just because he said it to me as often as he did. It could be that because I looked up to her so much that it stuck with me stronger. Whatever the reason was it is now my daily mantra.
Live Life Lightly.
In times like what we are facing with this novel virus we rely back onto the things that give us comfort. I am still scared, nothing will change that. However I have regained my footing and am forging ahead. I am a pretty lucky front line person, working in a room off to the side of the patients rooms more often then not. This change is usually something that I hate actually but during this process I appreciate it. Sometimes that makes me feel guilty when I know that they are having a hard day. That is something that I will continue to deal with because guilt doesn’t understand common sense.
So I remind myself of that small phrase as often as possible. The memories of one of the strongest willed women I have ever known keep things in perspective for me. When that doesn’t work I let the lifestyle and words of my father persuade me.
With the unprecedented time going on around us right now, many people find themselves with too much time on their hands. I find myself crazed. Between the home schooling that we all are having to learn to handle and the extra hours at work that they are pushing for me to pick up. Some weeks I have picked up but mostly its the amount of craziness surrounding work.
Don’t get me wrong I am in a constant state of unrest in my mind. I have never found something that works on a consistent basis to calm my brain. For a long time I thought that was normal. To some people it is for sure.
There are others though that talk about that being a sometimes thing. I read books from other humans who talk about calming the mind and being able to think clearly. I have done yoga, meditation, medication, exercise and so many other options. Nothing changes it.
However this last few weeks, months for some depending where they live, have been a bit scrambled, for everyone. We don’t really have a good outlook either because so much is unknown. I guess some people can play along and stay positive with everything but I am struggling.
I can take the e-learning in stride honestly. I love these kids and love them being home. I would honestly get a kick out of keeping them home one year and taking them around on field trips and enjoying time while learning. That isn’t something that they are interested in of course because their friends would not be in their class which I honestly understand.
So instead I find ways to help however I can. I focus on gift baskets for coworkers, scrub caps with buttons, and extra unhealthy snacks and meals for the family. I find myself buying them more things and playing with more to make up for the things I think they are missing from school. Or may it is to make up for innocence I feel like they are losing at a young age to this novel virus. I am not sure what it is. It results in smiles from coworkers in the middle of a jungle scene of a hospital and ICU. Smiles on the kids faces when I come home and more loves and hugs when I need them. Laughter from the huge trampoline while they make up game after game while they jump.