Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Finding Closure in Opening Up

My whole body keeps urging me to write.  I feel the need to communicate and pour so much onto a "page", but when I sit down to write, nothing solid comes out.  Right now, there are just fragments of what's been swimming around in my noggin' for the past week...

Bday flowers  from my work that perfectly
match my new bag
Since my birthday, I've been dealing with that whole loss thing a bit more, I've been to Maryland to see old friends and family, and I had a really nice week at work last week.  I was recognized for my efforts and the changes that I've had a hand in making since I started here (freelancing) a year ago next month.  That's putting last week very quick and simply.

It wasn't quick or simple, of course, because that's not how my life, my brain or my heart works.

While the good seriously outweighed the bad in the past couple weeks, the bad is still apparent.  I think it fell out of my face on Friday night since I was home talking to my mom and actually could discuss everything with someone who has seen my life from start to finish.  If anyone can sympathize and/or see it from the outside, it would be my mom (she's almost too brutally honest sometimes and will tell me the real deal even when it hurts).  I was hoping for some sort of insight or some hidden nugget of explanation that I somehow overlooked or missed over the last 5 months of reflection, but even she couldn't seem to understand what has happened since I moved.

So--I have really started the wheels in motion to move forward.  Maybe it was the talk with my mom and solidifying that there isn't any explanation, and there is no going anywhere (positive) from here--maybe that was the "closure" I needed, but I have made a few plans to go forth.  I'm making changes and I think they will all eventually be for the better.

With that under my belt, I slept very soundly last night.  The trip home was much needed.  It reenforced how important family, good friends (and cats) can be to a gal's mood and outlook.

Pete and Abbey
Dan and I both got a bit caught up by being surrounded by my parent's cats all weekend, so I've been looking into the best kinds of cats for people who are allergic.  I know it sounds silly to get something you're allergic to, but what a difference they make in your mood!  I think it's worth it...

Friends venturing out to the woods to see me at my parent's house makes me smile.  Big.  It was a wonderful weekend and just what I needed.  Can't wait for my next trip home.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Love, Loss and Birthday Cake.

Birthdays, for me, have always just been an excuse to get all of my favorite people in the same location at the same time.  It's selfishly to make myself happy on the one day a year I give myself credit to be a brat (well, almost one day...).  A lot of my friends were in different cliques and I knew them all from different places.  One group were the kids I grew up with and all hailed from Southern Maryland.  I spent time with them from high school throughout college and beyond.  There's another group from Southern Maryland that even pre-dates high school.  They were my middle through college and beyond crew (with even a few elementary and one pre-school friend included).  These two groups were the easiest to blend since they all at least knew OF each other, if not each other directly, so they all were fast friends, once jumbled together.

Amazing corn soup @ firebox
The other groups included people I met later in life, for instance, strictly through college (which means, they saw me at my very worst times and still continued to be my friends--i.e.:  they deserve a medal) and my work friends.  The work friends are split into another two groups:  Production crew friends and ad agency friends.  The two rarely get a chance to mix, but because I have had the (awesome) position of being full-time at an ad agency, yet in the production department, I get to be a part of each side of the coin when it comes to producing spots for TV, etc.  They are very different kinds of people, but both equally awesome and fun.

Delicious fluke @ firebox
Birthdays to me became the one day a year, I got to have them all get together and mingle.  I was really spoiled last year because I had my birthday outing which was a nice mash-up of friends, but then my going away party a month later which packed in all sorts of people who have come in an out of my life, including family members, bosses, co-workers, and friends from each phase of my life thus far.

I guess that's partly why this birthday was so difficult.  I've never had a birthday in my adult life that I didn't spend with friends.  If you ask friends out for a drink or dinner for no reason, they have every excuse in the book as to why they can't make it, and it's perfectly acceptable.  If it's missing your birthday, they'd better try their best to make it and show they give a shit.  It's the adult version of getting a present for your birthday.  You know you have a friend.

When your friends fail to show up, however, you are reminded that things have changed and you will more than likely start comparing your life's path now with how it was a year ago.  It's tough to swallow, sometimes, but necessary to accept.

Meeting Snoogs for the 1st time on my bday
I've been talking about loss a lot lately and comparing the loss of some friendships to dealing with death.  You go through the same exact grieving process.  I mean- to a tee.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance.  Here's the thing:  If you're anything like me, you're hyper-aware of what is happening either during it or directly after, and you work hard to make that whole "acceptance" stage come as quickly as possible, and/or at least last.  Some people, however, since they aren't actually DEAD (this sounds bad), keep rearing their ugly heads into your life.  They acknowledge their shitty friendship tendencies and swear, for the 11th time, that things will be different moving forward.  So, you, being the doormat that you are (and thirsty for friendship), say "Okay...  I really hope so..."  And you wait.  You send them presents or messages just because (because that's what friends at least USED to do), and you get no response...  slowly, the grieving process begins all over again, and it becomes a never-ending cycle.

I have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone (or anyone) is as aware of their actions as I am.  I'm hyper-sensitive to what vibes I'm putting out, how I'm treating people, how I react to situations and how everyone else reacts to me, etc.  Not everyone is as neurotic, so some people genuinely have no idea that they're affecting you.  That's when you learn that you have to be blunt, honest and open.  If you don't tell someone that their actions are hurting you, then they will forever say, "how was I supposed to know?"  Now there are no excuses.  People know what they're doing and what effect it has had on me.

Flowers from my wonderful cousin
It's been depressing because along with honesty comes the responsibility of having to deal with whatever response you're going to hear in return.  Unfortunately, I didn't really expect the "deal with it" response, so I've been having almost more trouble with that one than the repeat offenders.

My mom used to always say that when I was in middle school I would have hundreds of friends, high school, a good amount, college, I'd have 10-20 close friends, and in my adult life, I could count my good friends on one hand.  She was, of course, right.  I just didn't expect the friends I could count on one hand to be who they've turned out to be.  I am grateful each day for those friends and they all made me feel very special on my birthday, and continue to do so throughout the year... you know, like real friends do.

Bday bracelet from Dan
I must also include that I'm extra lucky for having a best friend that happens to be my other half.  He went above and beyond to make me feel special and loved this birthday (and every single day).  I got my entire extensive summer reading list, some purdy jewelry, a nice big new salad spinner (YES!!), some ice tea accessories (too hard to explain), an amazing dinner at Firebox in Hartford (a YUMMY restaurant I've been dying to try) and most importantly, a NEW MIX CD!

So cheers to you, real friends.  Cheers to keeping in touch, helping each other through the tough times and being there to celebrate the great times for yet another year.  :-D


P.S.  All photos from this post were taken on my birthday.

Friday, July 8, 2011


My attempt at light painting "Love <3"

fireworks - plural of fire·work (Noun)
1. A device containing gunpowder and other combustible chemicals that causes a spectacular explosion when ignited, used typically for display or in celebrations.
2. A display of fireworks.

Let's see.  "Spectacular explosion" pretty much sums up a couple of moments I've had in the past month.  Not all of them were spectacular in the traditional sense, but all of them have had pretty spectacular endings.  I've been working through some tough times while trying my very best to keep a positive outlook.  It's the whole keeping things in and how toxic that can ultimately be.  I'm usually very good about being open and honest with how I'm feeling, and mostly am except for certain topics that I think, as women, we are trained and taught not to discuss.

Dan's "LOVE"
How many times have you heard "the best way to scare off a guy is to bring up the "M" word"?  Or "want a guy to run?  Mention having kids someday."  What's scary is that when we actually reach the point in our lives where kids and marriage become more realistic possibilities, we should not still be sitting and nodding quietly when the topics are brought up.  I got a much deserved slap on the wrist when these topics recently came up with the man I'm planning my future with.  I've always been silent when it comes to those things, no matter what I'm actually thinking or wanting, because I was always told it would it would be something no one would ever want to hear if they were lacking a vagina.  On top of that, I used to surround myself with women who pressured (to put it nicely) their (now) husbands to propose.  After spending a good amount of time with those ladies, I decided it was probably why the divorce rate is as high as it is, and that I wanted to be the complete opposite of them.  I guess instead of talking about it with each breath, I took the complete opposite stand and never let the ideas pass my lips.

As Dan put it, talking about the future is a nice thing like when children talk about their dream jobs or anyone talks about their dream home...  it's okay to dream a little and think about what the future holds (even if it's terrifying like marriage or children).

R+D in a heart...  sorta.  :)
Anyhoo, the lesson learned is that to diminish fireworks in the future, always be open and honest, and even when you slip up and let all those frustrations build up and you combust, at least appreciate when you have someone spectacular to help you put the pieces back together...  I certainly do...

There will be ups and downs, but at long as we are with people we can share both with, I think we'll all be okay.


P.S.  As far as our fourth, it was low-key.  Lovely day full of bbq, swimming, a bonfire and fireworks.  I also took the opportunity to do some light paintings with our sparklers.  Cheers!