Thursday, July 4, 2013

If It's The Fourth of July, It Must Be Time For Flashback Fireworks. It. Must. Be.

Four years ago, in 2009, Mr. J was in the midst of a hellacious chemotherapy protocol and I wrote one of my favorite posts. It captured the essence of pre-cancer TeamWedding and, better yet, how Samuel L. Chemo not only couldn't ruin TW's spirits but also how they were strengthened.

Three years ago, I reposted it, full of post-chemo TW joy and all of the things that were right in 2010 Halfglassistan, particularly in TWHQ. Jamie with no signs of cancer, officially in observation. I was happily and productively working full-time in my chosen field. 

And I also stated I'd post it again the next year, and the year after that. And I'm quite certain I thought at the time, I'd post it the year after that.

Which brings us to now. I've looked back in the archives.

I didn't repost it in 2011. I didn't repost it in 2012. Because as right as every thing was in my world in July 2010, it ended on November 1 of that same year. Mr J died. And the biggest part of me did, too.

Two years ago I was still in such a state of denial I pretended to everyone else that I was okay. I was anything but okay. 

One year ago, I was so far from okay, I had to look up to see rock bottom.

After espousing hope, gratitude, living in the moment, embracing how short life might be and after being praised for so much strength and positivity, it was hard as hell -- no it was impossible -- to put out here what I was really feeling.  

Because there is another half of the glass, and I've been living there an awful lot of the time. Out of control. Lost. Failing. 

Yeah. A self-admitted, overachieving, control freak. Failing. And falling, deeper and deeper.

Yet, in a single moment, exactly 379 days ago, I realized I didn't want to drown there. I wanted to fight. I needed to fight. And I had no idea where the woman I once was--the woman MrJ fell in love with--had gone.

The past year has been a lot of hard work climbing out of the bottom of that glass. A lot of hard work. Glass is slippery. And just because I decided I was ready to re-enter the real world, the real world wasn't exactly waiting with for me with open arms. So I've had to work that much harder.

Right now the hardest thing is actually accepting that Mr J is dead. Never coming back. Life will never be the same as it was. Crazy, huh? He's been gone two and a half years -- of course he's not coming back. 

Cray. Zee. Maybe. But I'm fixing it. And one way I'm doing it is replacing the scary, obsessive, I'm-never-going-to-feel-normal-again feelings with memories. Joyful memories. 

Which brings us (if you're still with me, and I hope you are) to the flashback fireworks.

FROM JULY 4, 2009: 
Saturday. In The Yard. Think It Was The Fourth of July.

I am an Army brat. A proud one. And I love the Fourth of July.  
This year, it will be a relatively quiet celebration, except for any neighbors in good-old-fireworks-legal-South Carolina who may be putting on a show. We can usually count on a few teens nearby to pop off more than a few sizzlers, and Jamie and I will venture into the backyard, beers or sodas (or bourbon) in hand, to watch the show. 
Remembering our first July in this house, I think that the kids thought we were coming out to complain about the playing-with-matches-and-what-not already in progress: 
A round goes off, we take our swigs and holler a hearty "WOO-HOO!" their way. They think (or so I like to think)"OK, those old farts are gonna be cool." Then a real old fart (who, surprisingly, is younger than we are) comes outside and throws off a few passive-aggressive huffs and puffs, only to be ignored. She (it's always a she) even walks over and says something to the teenagers, and then arms crossed, head down, still huffing and puffing, she radiates bitch-energy as she skulks back to her house.  
There's a pause in the show and we think that maybe the kids have bowed to young-old-fartista's will. Now I know they're thinking,"Crabby old fart," because we're saying, um, thinking, it, too.  
But, no. They're just stockpiling whatever mini-munitions they have left in a pile in the center of the cul-de-sac. One by one, their cars fill up and drive away. We notice, however, they've only barely driven outside the neighborhood gate and pulled over to the side of the main thoroughfare, still a good vantage point.  
When just one vehicle and two kids are left, our suspicions are confirmed. Ready ... driver starts the engine. Set ... passenger is poised at the end of a fuseline of sparklers. GO! Match is lit, dropped to the sparklers, and passenger hops in car, which pulls up even with our yard (I told you they knew we were cool) to watch the fuseline burn toward the pile'o'pops.  
And ... BOOM! HISS! CRACKLE! SNAP! POPOPOPOPOPOP! SSSHHHHCCCCOWWWW-OW-OW-0W! (that's what it sounds like to me; feel free to suggest alternate spellings below ...)  
The finale!  
We cheer! The kids beside us cheer! The kids on the road cheer! 
Just as it ends, a chorus of car horns starts up and they speedily retreat ... probably to buy more fireworks (it's only 10 p.m.) and go to someone else's neighborhood (the night is young) and piss off some other old fart (they're everywhere, you know). 
Our one-time "new" neighborhood is filled with homes now, with no more open cul-de-sacs in which to host impromptu sky shows. Not sure where Ms. Young Old-Fart is. She didn't venture out and complain much anymore after that night. She still may be huffing and puffing, peeking out her window every time someone's music is too loud, someone's dog barks, or someone laughs just a little too heartily. I feel sorry for her, and she doesn't even know why. 
Those same kids have grown up and have better things to do than hang around someone's yard on a hot summer night, drink beer or soda (or bourbon) and shoot off fireworks. They won't ask, but if they did, I'd tell them that one day they'll learn. 
I'd tell them:
"Twenty, 30 — hell, if you're lucky enough to keep a laugh in your heart, 40 or 50 — years from now, you'll learn that walking into your backyard, holding hands, sipping on beer or soda (or bourbon); watching fearless teenage boys impress breathless teenage girls; oohing, ahhing, and woo-hooing while the grumpy neighbors harrumph wa-a-a-a-a-y before their time; telling each other stories of summers long ago, stories you've heard already, but love to hear again and again because of the twinkle in the eyes and dimples in the cheek of your storyteller; kissing in the moonlight before going back in the house  ... You'll learn. You'll learn there is nothing better to do than just that."
But they won't ask. And they wouldn't listen. I wouldn't have.

And I was right. There really was nothing better than just that. And as short as it was, I wouldn't trade a moment of it.

If anyone is still with me (and I really, really, really hope someone is), I hope you stick around. I have asked that before and have said before that I was ready to write again. The thing is, the things I truly needed to write, I couldn't. The things I thought I needed to write just weren't true--at least not much of the time.

I launched this blog when I was going through a significant life experience. By sharing it here, I was told, more than once, that it gave people hope. Even if just a few people. If I can share this subsequent experience, perhaps it can help someone else. Even if just one person.

Even if just one person is me.

Friday, June 7, 2013

When In Doubt, Listen To REM. On Repeat.

"I am, I am, I am 
Superman and I know what's happening.
I am, I am, I am 
Superman and I can do anything. 
I am, I am, I am 
Superman and I know what's happening. 
I am, I am, I am 
Superman and I can do anything." 

Say it enough and you'll believe it. 

"I am, I am, I am 
Superman and I know what's happening.
I am, I am, I am 
Superman and I can do anything. 
I am, I am, I am 
Superman and I know what's happening. 
I am, I am, I am 
Superman and I can do anything."*

*Thank you, Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe. 
For everything.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Yeah. So. I Do Like Gravy...

I do have some semblance of a life happening, 
though you wouldn't know it from looking around here.
And my fingers are not broken.

And my brain is, well, pretty impressive when it wants to be.
And it wants to be.

My heart? Still broken. 
But it's my brain that's working on spackling those cracks.

Let's get to impressing. Ourselves, at least.

You? Well. 
That's gravy.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You Call It Hero Worship. I Say, "And...So?"

Today, 74 years ago, the first man to hold my heart and never let go came into this world. 

He taught me to read as easily as I breathe, to seek and question knowledge, to see wonder in the ordinary and made it absolutely impossible to not share his love for all things Disney and "Muffets." 

I thank him for stepping in and hearing my daily download and ending it with "I love you, honey" for more than two years now; for giving the best, safest, loving, tightest(!) hugs a girl could ask for; and for always being my hero, in uniform or not. 

I love you, Daddy. 

Happy birthday.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

One Heart Boston

Great idea. Great design.
Awesome cause.
Find this great merch & more at One Heart Boston

All proceeds benefit One Fund Boston,
set up to help families most affected.

For more information on One Fund Boston, or to donate directly, go here. Like, now. (Really)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Decisions. Decisions.

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, asks Tilly, "Who ya gonna be, Mom?"

And I say... "Hm. I'm working on it. I really am."

And CatCon chimes in with: "Normally, I like to mock you in the midst of your navel-gazing ... What?! You didn't KNOW that?"

(Well. Yes. Yes, I did. I just never heard her actually admit it.)

"But," she continued. (Of course she continued.) "You've had your share of shit to wade through."

Uh, what?

"Seriously. You seriously think I ONLY think about ME?"

(It has been a lifelong desire of mine to be able to pull off a well timed one-eyebrow raise. Moments like these are why. A practically audible eye roll sufficed.)

"OK. Point taken. But I only exist in your imagination, so by default, thinking about me IS thinking about you."

Damn her and her logic.

Tilly concurred. Damn her and HER logic. (And damn if I'm not jealous of HER ability to raise a derisive eyebrow.)

"So?" In unison, no less.

"You're stronger than you think. And you're smarter than you know. And I think I stole that quote from Pooh, but he and I are tight. He'd be cool with it."

"Anyway," CatCon continued. "Life sure as hell may have shown you that it's not fair and it can be cut way too short way too quickly. And you sure as hell have done a damn good job of hiding from living these past two years. A damn good job. But — odds are pretty damn good that you're gonna be here for a while. So who are you going to be? And how are you going to live? Because. You. Are. Going. To. Live. And — what if you don't? What if life once again proves to be cut way too short way too fast? How do you want to be remembered? As you lived? Or that you chose not to? To just exist?"

At this point, we're past eyebrow raising. I'm in awe. Mouth agape. Ah-gape.

"Stop it," she said. "Stop being so shocked that serious thoughts actually roll around in my pretty little head."

That sounded more like the CatCon I knew.

"And stop being so hard on yourself. Yeah. I know what you think. You think you've already failed because it's still so hard. Guess what? It's always going to be hard. It will get easier. But it may never get EASY. But guess what else? You're still here. And you're moving forward. And shut your damn mouth before a bug flies in it."

I did.

And then I asked her what inspired this rare foray into adult thought.

She replied: "Because I'm stronger than you think. And I'm smarter than you know."

And Tilly nodded as CatCon slipped back into the persona with which I'm far more familiar and said, "Duh. I'm you."

Damn them and their logic.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

And Repeat. And Repeat Again.

We promise.
(Really, really, really promise?)
We really, really, really promise.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Of Faith And Friendliness. Still. And Always.

Every year since the founding of Halfglassistan, we've run this post on this day. Today is no different. The sentiments (still and always) are the same. The words, because I can't improve upon them, are (still and always) the same.
From Friday, April 2, 2010:

Here in Halfglassistan, we welcome all.

Love whomever you want to love. Believe in whatever you'd like to believe.

We do. Love and believe, that is. We love to acknowledge it. We don't debate it. That would kinda-sorta go against the whole "love-and-believe-who-and-what-you-want" thing we've got going here. Don't you think?

In fact, we don't talk much about what we believe. It's not that we don't care. It's just that it's ours. Just like your beliefs are yours. And if we go throwing them around and putting them up for discussion, that kinda-sorta negates the whole "no-debate" thing. Don't you think?

And I'm not looking to change that today. But, for all of the arbitrary and capricious days of observance I've declared here in Halfglassistan, today is one that transcends all of my varied and overlapping worlds.

Today is Good Friday. And, as I've acknowledged before, there are times when the best construction of words to express what is in my heart already exists.

This is one of those times:
I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.
I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

That's just me.

Love whomever you want to love. Believe in whatever you'd like to believe.

Here in Halfglassistan, we welcome all.


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