Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sort of ;)
Wordless Wednesday

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." - Carl Jung


Monday, August 30, 2010

"If You Look At Me Like I'm Fat I'm Going To Kick You In The _____"

Any big butted girls out there? Oh, there you are reading this, arm in the air? No, no, put the cream cheese bagel down and let's have a soul to soul.

I was rereading some old blog posts and much to my... kind of horror/shock, there is A LOT of anger about diets, dieting and well, my mother the Olympic champion dieter/denier of food who somehow has always stayed the same teeny-tiny size.

Must be all that dieting advice and mailing jump ropes to her daughters that burns off those unwanted calories! (See ANGER. There is is again!)

I don't know what I gained when I was going through the worst turmoil ever and isn't that when we gain it? TV and movies tell us we hole up with a carton of ice cream and never ending pizza delivery and sit around in our eating pants. (Okay, I did sit around in my eating pants, i.e., I don't think I wore anything but sweat pants for two years).

For me, it was not that reckless. I just ate things that I call "slow down" food, you know, food that slows you down, gives you no energy, goes directly to your buttocks but you can't really tell 'cause you're wearing "eating pants" the great denier of weight gain! Sometimes it was bagels and cream cheese and maybe I'll have pasta for dinner. I just didn't care. A pastry from 7-11 was about as fancy as going to Paris' Café des Deux Magots because hey, I GOT OUT OF BED. It was monumental! But not the right thing to eat...

Not if you are going to lead the sedentary lifestyle of a hibernating bear. Which I was. And very well, by the way. If Kennedy Center Honors had an award for "Excellence While Lying in Bed" then certainly, I would be front and center, flanked by fellow honorees Chita Rivera and James Earl Jones. Though, instead of evening wear, I would be donning a Snuggie as this is already way past my bed time.

I am about to share some deep truth with you now. Thirty pounds, that's all I wanted off. I think I might have lost 10 or 12 or 15 at some point, but after I fell down the hill and busted up my shoulder... I didn't care. It was back to bed for me. Not caring, not eating right, certainly not exercising. And being in a brace, in a hospital gown that I could not get out of because said brace was strapped OVER it for three weeks and just all in all hopped up on happy pills made me not care what I was eating.

I was, in fact, just eating whatever neighbors and friends brought to my door. Someone brought a cake. What??? But kind of brilliant. I had cake for lunch for about ten days. (Yes, I know, I'm ridiculous!)

So what made it all click? What was the turning point? How did I lose thirty pounds? Why am I procrastinating telling you when I turned a corner and "got it" and started eating right and going back to the gym?

Because I wish it came from me. Some inner fire from me to be healthy to want to be strong to love myself more. Or even Oprah, it could have come from Oprah and I would be walking tall instead of feeling ashamed and a bit like a cliche.

It was because I saw my ex. Bumped into him. And he was kind and gracious and sweet and very worried about my fall. He didn't look at me like I was hideous. That might be because, I had a feeling I might see him and emailed him, "Listen, I've gained a lot of weight since I last saw you and if you look at me like I'm fat, I'm going to kick you in the balls."

Really. I sent that email. That's me, using my humor to get out of something I thought would be deeply humiliating. Only I can confess to you guys how I tried to cover up my "fattage" with some kind of voluminous cardigan and a spray tan and maybe if the boobs are up and out, he won't notice so much.

Honestly: I don't want him back, I don't. I broke up with him and all those reasons are never going to change. But seeing him symbolized my deep desire to stay away from people I hadn't seen in a while because of having grown an extra ass. And not only that, but I want to date and makeout with someone and have them find me attractive as I want to find them attractive.

So maybe this all this started four or five months ago. I thought about calling this piece: "Why Diets Suck." Because I truly believe they do. I believe diets are so wrong and so self-punishing and so restrictive that I, me, you, someone we know, only needs to be on one for 3 days before she's hoarding "Ding Dongs" in the bathroom.

What I did... I started making breakfast, that sets off the whole day. If I eat breakfast, I eat less all day. I like eggs. I started adding veggies with everything. The more veggies you eat the fuller you are. So in the morning it wasn't just eggs, it was eggs & spinach or eggs & broccoli. Lunch was just more of the same, trying to make choices that are right and if they are not right, eat half and then have the other half vegetables or fruit (carrots, carrots with hummus, apples, apples with peanut butter, salad, sauteed anything green with garlic).

Dinner - I became a world renowned Michelin 4 star soup maker. Bulked it up with greens. Yum. My sister called my soup, "Life Altering Soup" as in "Can you make some of that "Life Altering Soup?" And this was all just trial and error and having fun with food and could I make lasagna with no pasta and have it be amazing?

Why YES, YES I could.

And the gym, you must move. Though I did not move a lot. Sometimes just 2x a week. I need to start kicking that up a bit. For the jiggly bits.

And it's not like I did not fail sometimes -- fail being a word I hate... let me rephrase, it's not like I was perfect. I had the egg rolls and Mmmm, pizza out with friends and oh my God, how I die for a margarita... or three, and with chips and salsa! Yes! Yes! I don't say no a lot. I just jump back on the next day and say Yes to more of the right things. When you are not beating yourself up, in diets and in life, YOU GET A LOT DONE.

If you have specific questions, ask in the comments section. I want to help if I can. The point is, when I noticed the older posts, I could not believe my anger and I could not believe the amount of blame I was laying or lying at someone else's feet. "You are to blame!"

No, I am to blame. The other thing I want to say is, if you have weight to lose, be kind to yourself. I have never been kind to myself but I am going to start today. If you aren't kind, believe me, you won't be able to let go of things and one of those things is your weight.

So, just know... you can do this, you can do anything you want. I refused to think of it as 30 pounds because it was too overwhelming and probably why I kept putting off starting. I decided to think of it as 5 pounds at a time. That's all. Hmmm, maybe I was kinder to myself than I thought.

There's a lot of, I don't know... shame in talking about weight gain. For me anyway. Because I sort of perceive it as being weak. But I'm just going to see that feeling and let it go. There, it's gone. I am on the right path. The adventures and being happier, I truly believe put me on that path. Yes, seeing an ex, ignited the flame, but being happier is what's kept me on the right path.

How much do you have to lose? What holds you back? And certainly, if you have a success story, I'd love to hear it!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adventure Bowl
Change Somebody's Life

UPDATE 1: I know a lot of people don't read on the weekends but I will update this post tomorrow after the testing. Wish me luck!

UPDATE 2, Sunday: I am still speechless. Yesterday was amazing. Why did I wait so long? Why did I fear so much? I will write this as a full post tonight. THANK YOU everyone for your kind, supportive comments. You were deeply part of this Adventure.

Long but worth it. Money back guarantee.

First, I have to thank everyone who left comments with suggestions about how to change someone's life here, twitter or DMs. Thank you. The biggest theme was: give your time, you can do something small and it will make a difference.

I believe that. I know that. I practice that.

I donate magazines to a dialysis center (inspired by my Dad), clothes to the Downtown Women's shelter, food to the homeless. Save all my cans and bottles for that one guy who says "Hello" to me every night as I walk the dogs. He breaks my heart with his 8 year old son helping him. Care packages to a young girl fighting brain cancer.

I have so much.

But there is more to give.

The point of this Adventure Bowl is to do things that push me past my fears. Okay... what fears do I have? Commitment. Yes. That. It's why I never wanted to sign up to be a "Big Sister," even though I really freakin' wanna be a big sister. What if I'm not good enough? What if the girl is like, "You? But you're a mess?" That would be bad. And the whole commitment thing. Yeah.

Fear of seeing grief and pain up close which is why I have never worked with kids in hospitals. Listen, I don't like admitting this stuff. I have flaws, I am so flawed it's ridiculous. Oh, the things I could admit...

When my Dad was sick and my Dad was going to die if he did not get a kidney transplant and my Mom called his sisters and asked if they would be tested and they never called her back and she had no choice and it broke her heart--

To ask her kids to get tested. See if we would be a match for my Dad. I sat there that day in a Boston hospital and I listened to the doctor as he explained the process and looked over at my younger sister who seemed to be very involved with inspecting her nails. Their growth? Their cuticles?

They seemed of grave importance.

When he left I said to her, "Are you paying attention? Are you listening to what he is saying?" (Him of wanting to saw one of us open, root around and take one of our ORGANS). Yes she said. "I hope so. And God, I hope it's you." That's what I said.

I said it because I didn't want it to be me.

I was young. Younger. I was scared. I had already lived through his heart transplant and I did not want to see this. If I was not a part of it... I would not have to see it. Or feel it. Flawed. Bad daughter. Terrible sister.

Of course it was me. Have I ever mentioned this? Yes, they took that kidney out of me and yes, they sawed me in half and this was no laproscopic thing like they can do now.

If I am with someone new and they are kissing me and perhaps putting their hand on my back, and they can feel it or feel the ribs that are missing and ask, what's that about, "knife fight" I will say.

So here we are or were, yesterday and I pull, "Change Somebody's Life" from the bowl and I am scared by how vast and vague and slightly fantastical this is and "what will I do and what can I do? And I'd like it to also jive with something I have wanted to do but been to afraid to do.

I have always wanted to be a Bone Marrow Donor.

Because every hour, minute, second leading up to the kidney transplant, I was so f'ing scared. All the focus is on the person receiving the organ - AS IT SHOULD BE. But, if anyone had told me many, many weeks later, perhaps longer, that I would feel awesome for doing it... I would be back to my normal routine -- I would have never feared it. I would have gone into that surgery with a pure heart, instead of a fearful heart.

So... the bone marrow thing. It just... seeing my Dad get to be alive and seeing how... just how... what seemed so frightening (the transplant) was ultimately, the thing I am most proud of. It's shaped me as a person in ways, probably ways I don't even know. Because my testing phase was very long and arduous so I met a lot of people waiting for transplants.

Your heart breaks for them but opens too. You feel more compassionate. You vow to live your life differently - you are not hooked up to machines, your activities and abilities to do things are not limited. You are not going to treatment alone, you have love all around you.

I've been circling the bone marrow thing for a while but the fear would come in. Excuses: you have to drop everything if you are a match and do it, how would I do my job? Can I get a leave of absence? They might fire me. I hear it hurts.

All BS. So much BS. Fear buried in excuses.

But I've grown up though I don't know when that happened. I don't know when I changed but somehow I just did.

So I picked, "Change Somebody's Life" and now on Saturday, I go for the testing for the Bone Marrow thing.

Yesterday, someone changed my life because of an email they sent me. So yes, you can do the smallest of things to change someone's life. Do not let this post be an indictment of the little things. For they are awesome.

But this thing... this is the thing, I just had to do.

Of course, it always means so much when you repost this to Facebook or Twitter. Organ donation is a big passion of mine and my family and you never know who it might help. Thanks so much :)


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


UPDATE, PT. 3: Super giggly and excited to write today's post. It will be up in a bit.

UPDATE: Okay, I did it... there's part of it I still have to do Saturday but I will write all about it TOMORROW. I'm really psyched and really tired but this ONE HAS BEEN MY FAVORITE!!!

UPDATE: I cannot believe the amazing, caring, sweet suggestions people have put here, Facebook & Twitter! I am zeroing in on something pretty big... but weighing a lot of things so please Tweet or post on your Facebook and let's get people inspired to help others!

I picked "Change Somebody's Life." The deal is... I'm supposed to do whatever I pick, that day, TODAY, no backing out or excuses BUT this is a crazy tall order.

I WILL DO IT, I just want to do it right.

I'm like freaking out of nervousness but also excited at the same time!

Any suggestions?

I am on a budget so... keep that in mind! I'll check back in later, going to do some research.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Life In Hollywood
Where I Spend A Lot of Time Crawling on the Floor & Jumping Through Glass Windows

First, let me tell you this. Pep talks work. Did you read, "The MOST AWESOME Pep Talk of OUR LIVES?" Yeah, I did. Because I wrote it. And then, I did it. I gave myself the pep talk I wrote as I was driving to a Big Time Hollywood Fancy Type Meeting the other day

It went like this: "Girl, look at you. Your hair is looking fly today. I know your feeling nervous about a big meeting coming up because this is the company you WANT to be in business with but think about it like this: THEY SHOULD BE NERVOUS about you. You're going in there with something really great and if they don't like it, three companies already want to meet with you about it. Your worth is not measured by whether a project sells or not. And PS, pivot when you walk and know your talent is carved by diamonds. Sparkle out!"

And I was in the car, sweating through my outfit because it was so god damn hot and why does this air conditioner NOT work when I paid $700 for it to work and then it only worked for 2 months A YEAR AGO and I want to go back to the mechanic but I'm being pulled in 100 directions and god dammit it's hot and maybe if my hair wasn't like a sweater on my head (it is so, so much hair) I wouldn't be stroking out but it looks really cute when it's down so-- okay, okay, SHUT UP... focus FOCUS PEP TALK!

And I felt a little stupid but I kept thinking about this writer, he had all the success in the world except for dating so he started, ya know, poking around the inter webs for dates. Friends were making fun of him for online dating because he was a Big Time Hollywood Writer and I guess when you're a BTHW, women come to you via shipping containers and you just pick them up in you BTHW car down at the docks.

Sometimes, they are flown in by helicopter. They dangle from grappling hooks from said helicopter and are dispatched into your pool.

But he had grown tired of this or it was not working and so he said, regarding meeting someone online: "Things have gone way wronger when I’ve approached things more sensibly and conventionally."

And my mind was like, yeah, yeah. In my career I've been so nice and practical and sweet and not wanting to bother anyone or ask for a favor or rattle any cages. And when you kind of crawl on your belly with a project you worked really hard on and you look up at THEM, THEM WHO MAKE THE DECISIONS* while you're getting burn marks on your belly from the floor, you do not come from a place of power.

Nor do you instill ANY kind of confidence in them, when you are looking at them with needy, pleading eyes.

They need to know - you can do this. You can rock this out. You can write the shit outta this. Their hands will burn when they are reading the copy of the magnificence that you turn in.

So I worked my ass off on this one particular piece that I was bringing to the meeting. I really, really... it's like you get to a place where, you love it and you hope they love it. I gave myself that pep talk on the way over.

The point was in giving myself THE PEP TALK was, listen, they can not buy it for a host a reasons: they already have an idea like that, they already tried an idea like that, that idea is not exciting them - and that's cool. But you don't want it to be:

Executive to my Agent: "We really loved her idea. I mean... what we could make out of it. She started shaking two minutes in... yeah, then there was crying and she started dabbing her forehead sweat with the pitch and then she couldn't read her pitch because it was smeared with ink so she said she was going to print another copy of it and then I heard a loud noise and my assistant told me she crashed a chair through the window, dove out and hooped into her car and squealed away. So... we're going to pass on the idea. (long beat) And she should really pay for that window."

So, I don't know the answer, but because of my pep talk I don't have to worry that I would be the cause of my own failure. If the project doesn't go, I don't think it will have anything to do with me. I showed passion and preparation and for that, I am proud. I've come a long way.

Not only that. But the executive whom I met with gave me this awesome feedback. I'm going to talk about that in a little bit. Right now, I have to marvel at the me who is the changing me.

*Me being fully aware that THEM is not grammatical and not giving a shizzz

If you love this, please post on your Facebook or Twitter. I am really high on Pep Talks and wish that people would recognize they are as important as flu shots and sensible shoes.


Sunday, August 15, 2010


I'm about to dump some sparkle on you people. With my awesome sparkle gun.

This is something I wanted to write when I was back East. Somehow I was amazed to be between the beginning of life and the end of it. My nephews, God they are gems. I would lay with them at night and tell them stories about 94 foot crabs that emerged from the ocean and were coming to seek vengeance on said nephews for burying them in the sand.

Instead of being afraid of this genius horror story, they expressed doubt. The doubt of a 94 foot crab going unnoticed while it terrorized a neighborhood. "Auntie, I don't get how someone wouldn't see the crab and call the police. Your story does not make sense." And I'm all like, "It's a bedtime story! Dear Lord! Here's the deal, the neighbors have "Lazy American" syndrome, they have all eaten Pasta Alfredo and passed out in front of their TVs....

Okay, let's get back to the part where the killer crab crushes you in his claw."

Man, I love being an aunt. With them, I was feeling like... they're so lucky, they can be ANYTHING they want to be. Your only job in life is to make your kid feel LIKE SHE/HE CAN DO ANYTHING. I never got that in my family but my Mom was kinda busy raising three kids while her husband was dying of congestive heart failure.

So I'll give her a pass. Because while back East, I figured out how to give myself awesome peps talks. (That's coming up, it's down there in BOLD.)

The point is... I will be in my nephews corner and I will be pep talking the shizzzzzz outta these kids. That's the deal. I'm there for them. For life. Assuaging every doubt and fear they could ever have.

I want them to not make the same mistakes as me. 1) Not traveling like I said I would. 2) Taking jobs out of fear - in my case it was financial fear ingrained in me since child hood 3) Working so hard that I missed out on life and reneged on promises - I've missed dates, family vacations, hanging out with friends, vacations with boyfriends, birthday parties, regular parties, going to see bands, JET SKIING. Oh, and when Jeffrey Dean Morgan asked me to lunch at Fed Ex Kinkos, I said no... I was working. (I know, I know!)

I don't want my nephews to miss out on life's joys like I did.

4) Spending too much time getting over relationships. So stupid. How can you (me) like anyone who doesn't like you (me) back? Why miss that person? My friend once said, "Your ex-boyfriend is thinking about you as much as you are thinking about your last boyfriend." "But I'm not thinking about him." "EXACTLY." 5) Mourning my cousin too much. The one who passed away when I was 14. It's like, I've let sadness coarse through me and I will not lie, it's certainly done more harm than good. It makes you not want to get close to people. I can remember a guy friend saying to me at 22, "You make loving you very difficult."

That was not my intention. I just never wanted anything to happen to him and not have pre-protected myself.

When you think of everything you (me) did wrong you (me) feel kind of melancholy like "Man, I kind of suck."

But then I went to visit my Uncle. This was someone at the end of their life. He was in a hospital bed in his home. He said to me, "I would very much like to go home right now." That's when I cried. That's when I felt... not like the self that walked through the door.

The self that thought only little kids have their lives ahead of them and only they CAN DO ANYTHING THEY WANT TO. I can, we all can. I have many, many, many years ahead of me. I mean, this should be very obvious but somehow I felt like it was deeply profound.

This is the sparkle people. Maybe you already know this. Then you are awesome. But now I see, I just have to change the things that I thought I had no time to change. The pep talks I give my nephews... I can give to myself. None of us is in a state they can't get out of. It takes work. It takes being "Queen of the Bounce Back."

That's when you shrug off things that are not worth it. What is your fear, insecurity, grief, disappointments, tendency to beat yourself up, having regrets about men/career - what is that giving you back?

Maybe it's making you so frickin' weighed down, you can't make a move. Maybe that's where you feel safest.

So here's what I believe: You can just quit all the behaviors you dislike, that are not working, that will make you have regrets in the future. First, you have to write them all down. Then a plan on how you can realistically change them. (I'll be doing mine for the list above.)

And that is the awesome pep talk. That you can give yourself your own PEP TALK.

For today, mine would be: "Girl, look at you. Your hair is looking fly today. I know your feeling nervous about a big meeting coming up because this is the company you WANT to be in business with but think about it like this: THEY SHOULD BE NERVOUS about you. You're going in there with something really great and if they don't like it, three companies already want to meet with you about it. Your worth is not measured by whether a project sells or not. And PS, pivot when you walk and know your talent is carved by diamonds. Sparkle out!"

Still having trouble? Okay, think of someone you love and would do anything for - now think of yourself that way. Now give yourself the pep talk like you love yourself like you love that other person.

Is this not mind blowing?

Sorry, I'm HIGH on the sparkle.

Okay, I want to hear, even anonymously, THE PEP TALK you would give yourself RIGHT NOW today. Put it in the comments section, beautifuls.

And if you like this post or think it will help someone, please link it to Twitter or Facebook. xoxoxo


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thank you, Beautiful Ones

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

The quote above really touched me, I need to be wrapped up in a sense of gratitude. And this did it for me. I hope it's meaningful for you too.

Those of you who reached out and were amazingly sweet to express your condolences about my Uncle mean so much to me.

I will return blogging next week and dive right back into that Adventure Bowl. I can't wait! I need it so bad.

But I wanted to at least reach out and say "hi" and love to you all. xoxoxoxox

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If I Had A Super Power...

Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy. ~Author Unknown

My Uncle passed away and I did the thing I do when something sad happens and I feel sad but I can't go there because to go there, to feel what I would have to feel, I just know I can't. I'm don't think I'm strong enough. So I shut down. I push it out of my mind.

He did not die and he is not gone.

My Mom and Dad both got on the phone. FYI, when my Dad calls me, it's bad news. He never calls. He loves me, but I call him. We have a lot of laughs. But the laughs would not be happening unless I called him. Unless I flew home. Unless I said, "Let's go to the bar tonight."

I do not mind. This is how we are.

I answered the phone.
Me: Hello?
Dad: Hey, Kay.
Me: Hey
Dad: What's wrong? You sound upset.
Me: I'm just scared that every time you call that you're going to tell me that Uncle died.
Dad: Oh... (long pause) Well, he did die.

And I am not trying to be flip in recounting this conversation. In fact, it makes me love my Dad more that he hoped to lure me in and distract me with day to day chit chat and how is the weather out there and then, you know, slip that thing in about my Uncle.

I started crying and I would guess my Dad has heard me cry three times in my life... though I can't name them except for the time he called me to tell me my cousin was murdered. And I know he can't take it, to hear me cry, and that comes from only a good place. A place of love. It makes him too sad.

We are family that has had so much sadness. And we have had enough. So now we block it, with a shield. Like Super Heroes.

So I expected him to do one of two things... hand the phone to my Mom which is his most famous move or to intellectualize the situation.

This is a tried and true measure for an emotional avoider and I could call up the Learning Annex and tour the country doing speaking engagements on it. I learned it from the best. The two of them.

So I thought he'd say, "He's in a better place. He was suffering. You don't want him to suffer anymore, do you?"

Then the burden falls on me... I don't want to let someone suffer! That is wrong! That is bad! I want him to unsuffer! So yes! I am now not only unsad, I am joyous! What a marvelous thing to have happened! This death to me is by-gones!

Thank you! And Good night!

But instead my Dad lowered his voice and said, "I know you are sad. But I want you to know I'm really proud of you. How you went to visit your uncle and held his hand for so long last week. How scared you were that you would fall apart but you didn't. And even though he was having those delusions, remember how Auntie said he knew it was you? How he made that joke, "You've told me 6,000 times Kayla is here." You are a good person, you let him know that you loved him and you were so strong. So, I know you are sad. But remember, you are strong, too."

He stunned me. He made me speechless. He took everything that was sad and for that moment, made it okay.

My mom of course got on the phone and said, "Why are you crying? We expected this. You don't want him to suffer anymore, do you?"

I was too proud of my father to be mad at my mother.

Life is funny. I wish there was a button you could push on someone that, as they are relaying a story or information, (say, my Dad calling me to tell me about my Uncle), every bit of back story about their life would spit out like a fortune. For my Dad, I know it's, "I have not been able to protect you enough from sad things... when I hear you cry, it makes me feel like... I'm not a good father. I didn't have a father so... I'm just trying to do the best I can."

If I had one Super Power, it would be just to know. Just what is filed deeply within you as you are telling me what you are telling me? With my mother it's, "I haven't even faced my own mother's death over 40 years ago, how can I possibly handle this?" I think it would help us be more compassionate in the world.

Maybe instead of a button... knowing that science may be years and years and forever ever away from us, we should just have compassion for each other that there is more to the story if someone is upset by something you decided they should not be upset by.

For me, if you pushed my button, yes, I'm crying for myself, but also my aunt who loved him so immeaurably that you could feel a light radiate in the room when she walked in and his eyes would meet hers, I am thinking that to come from a big Italian family, that I will lose so many more people that I love, I am crying because I wish I lived on East Coast and could have been closer to him, a grandfather figure after losing my own at 19, I wish I had my life sorted out, I wish I was ready to move to New York... even part time, so I could be close to every one I love, I wish I didn't miss my cousin so much, I wish I didn't think about my own father's mortality... I wish, I wish, I wish. I wish there was one person that I could talk to about all this... who I would feel like I was not burdening, that I felt like I could trust, that wouldn't just be using their back story to shape my future story.

So I feel a little lost. I miss my Uncle. I do. But all these other things are so profoundly swirling around my head.

Dad: "So, I know you are sad. But remember, you are strong, too."

PS, a lot of you have emailed or left comments of such sweet concern. I am a World Champion Bouncer Backer. Seriously, I think I am in a book or something. So... don't worry, I'll be okay.


Friday, August 6, 2010

What's Your Sign?

First of all, I am deeply, deeply touched by everyone's comments on the post about my uncle. I want to leave a comment for each and every one of you who cared so kindly to do that. But my internet has been down and I have raced over to the library just to write this.

(PS, someone is looking out for me, I have a huge deadline on Wednesday so the lack of the internet may be a good thing as I am easily distracted like a hamster!)

But I didn't want to wait until this internet situation rights itself to thank all of you. So, I'm doing it, here, now with the promise to follow up on your blogs once I have this immeasurably challenging deadline behind me.

But I also wanted to write a small post. I was thinking about how inspired I am by Jamie from "Inspired Mess" who did the art work in the post below (it's from her journal - incredible!) and "Freestyle Sarah" who loved some of the encouraging signs I've post here and on Facebook. So she made one for herself. Seeing it, I was bowled over. One, because something I had written had resonated with her. And two, because UNLIKE me, who just finds these signs and banners on the internet... she made her own.

She made it! Like Jamie made hers. And she hung it where she could see it every day.


Yes! Yes! Yes! She is and Jamie is and I am and you are.

So because I have to get back to work, I leave you with this: What's your sign? What words of encouragement do you need?

Leave it in the comments section. You can leave it anonymously. I will put them all in a hat and pick one. Whomever I pick, I will make the banner for you and send it to you. If anyone is feeling super creative, I challenge you to make the banner or sign of your encouraging words to yourself and photograph it and send it in.

When Sarah did her's it was a lightening rod of change for her. With permission, I will link her post about it here.

Another thing you could do... this would blow my mind: Offer your services to make a banner for one of the readers here. I'll pick that out of a hat too. I like the idea that someone could make an impact on a stranger just by donating their time and creativity. Sometimes, we are so busy, bogged down, we don't make the time for ourselves. By someone else making this banner they are, in Sarah's words, showing you:


Even though this is a short post, I'm really excited by it.

Do you know a friend that needs some words of encouragement, a "rah-rah, you can do it" in their life, maybe someone who needs to remember how strong they are? Post this on your Facebook or Twitter and let's include other people in this powerful and EMPOWERING experiment.

Love you guys. xoxoxoxo


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Am Very Content To Sit Here And Hold Your Hand

Art work by Jamie of http://inspiredmess.blogspot.com

When I was twelve, when I was thirteen, when I was fourteen and when I was fifteen, when I was twenty two and twenty three and twenty four, I thought I might see my father die. He had congestive heart failure. Sometimes he was hidden away in his bedroom. I remember that I would peek through the old fashion keyhole as a little girl to look at him.

We were not suppose to go in. He was resting. He needed his rest.

One day I realized, it has been four days. I have not seen my own father in four days. This did not seem good. It did not seem right.

I snuck in his room. To sneak in, you have to be very, very quiet. Secret operative quiet. There is a latch on the other side of the door that would open with a “Thwack” and then my mother would be on and up the stairs and I would be yanked back from the thereshold I just wanted to cross. To see my Dad.

Now if I can get in and if I did get in, now I must deal with the floors. Squeaky. It is best to get on your hands and knees. If you can get to the latch hook rug a few feet away, you are half way home.

I’m on it… I can do it. It’s been four days. I don’t see how someone can not leave a bedroom for four days.

I’ve crawled the length of the hard wood floors and I am just under him. Where he sleeps. But he is just a bump under the covers. Not even a big bump. Covers will have to be moved to see his face. I just want to see his face. If I see his face, I can see if he is breathing, if I see that he is breathing, I can believe, at least for a while, that when my mother says, everything is going to be fine, that everything might be fine, even if people are coming over with grim expressions on their face and tight smiles for me and my sisters.

And a priest. He came. He came for last rites. I know that because even though I am little, I went to CCD and had my first communion and I know all about what last rites are and all that.

They are not for people that are going to be fine.

That’s why I have to see for myself. I just see scalp and forehead and eye brows and the start of his nose. But I’ve seen some medical shows and I know I need to cup my little hand by his face and check for breathing.

Please be breathing, Dad.

It’s not there. His breath is gone and he is dead and we are left alone and she cannot take care of us and I don’t want to live anywhere else and they are already talking about splitting us up and he is the fun one and he lets me watch TV and doesn’t yell when he finds me sneaking “Late Night With David Letterman” way, way past my bed time and he gives me pep talks even though I have to wear glasses and I get called four eyes but I know he will make it okay.

He is a good Dad.

He’s alive. I can’t feel it on my hand so I put my face down near his. I can’t feel it on my cheek so I put my face right to his face. And I feel it. If I stop myself from breathing and really concentrate, I can feel it. It’s on my eye lashes.

I put my hand under his. It feels like we are holding hands.

And I am content to just hold his hand.

It’s all these years later and I will tell you, I can be an emotional girl. My sister said to me, “Sometimes, you are over emotional.” I don’t care about that. To her, that is a put down. That is like saying, “you are weak.” That would not sit well with her. To be over emotional.

I feel like if love swells your heart when you care for someone deeply, it will also break it when they are suffering.

I worry more when I’m under emotional. I can freeze and close off and you cannot get next to me. I can be in the most emotional situation but shut down and not be touched.

I can see myself at my boyfriend’s father’s funeral and I can see everything. My outfit, how I wore my hair. Planned my pocketbook… have gum, have tissues, have extra money, in case something is needed. Like ice. Someone always needs to go out for ice.

And still I waited there, in the car, by the car, circling the car because I did not want to go into the Church and I did not want to see and I would sooner end this relationship or make up some small, medium or large lie about why I couldn’t go. I do not want to see grief up this close.

I did do it. But I snuck out right after the service. I was a coward.

Two days ago, I had to go see my great uncle. He is very old. He has lived a beautiful life. In death… in death as it is coming to him, has not been kind. I could feel myself, in the knowing that I would have to visit him and that it would be painful, slowly shutting down. Like in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker and Han Solo and Princess Leia are in the trash compactor and the walls are coming in.

I know that this is all from feelings of having just, quite frankly, really have had enough of this. Suffering. I hate it. I hate not being in control. I hate seeing my loved ones cry. I hate from the last time I was there, how my uncle looks at me, a once vital and active man, looking at me, like this will be the last time.

I want to be the little girl who is protected and not allowed in the room.

I made a conscious choice going over to see my great uncle. “This is not about you. Man up. Get it together. Be a grown up. This is harder on him and harder on your aunt and you certainly can grow a spine and sit with a man that you love and be okay. And yes it might be painful but you’ve been through pain. Still here? Yes. Good, then I think you can take it.”

He was not sitting up, as I had last seen him. When he purposely put on a dress shirt and slacks. He did that for me. So I would be protected and not see how sick he was. My father used to do that too. There were so many horrible bruises on his arm from his heart surgeries (I think they take a vein from there and use it in the reconstruction) that he would purposely hide his arm under a towel so we would not see it.

So we would be protected.

I sat by my uncle. He was in a hospital bed though he was at home. He had lost so much weight. “Do not let your eyes show that you are scared, that you are sad. Let only love be here. When he sees you smile you are the little girl he took to the beach. Let him see that. He is remembering you that way and give yourself the gift of remembering him that way.”

And I took his hand. And I held it. And even after an hour and my aunt said I could leave, I just said, “I am very content to sit here and hold his hand.”

I couldn’t understand a lot of what he was saying. And when he stared Heavenward and started to point and then gasped and then stopped breathing, my aunt begged us to all hold hands and say a Hail Mary. And I was sure that he would die.

And I was not scared and I did not want to run and I did not want to not be there.

I just held his hand. And when he took his other hand and put it gently on my face, I did not cry. I smiled. I stayed present. I knew and I know, that was the last time. And if he goes and when he goes, I will be happy that instead of protecting my heart—I walked in there and I sat down and I held his hand.

I know it sounds crazy and I know you would have to know me to know that this is true. But it's the jet skiing that did it. Somehow facing all those fears... feeling boundlessly strong out on that adventure with my sister and dear friend, made this moment with my uncle come together and not break me apart. And now, when he's gone, I will have something to hold and be mine instead of being filled with regret that I walked away.