I hate the saying ‘The universe only ever gives you what you can handle.’ Like, hate. it. If someone ever says those words to me in my time of need or sorrow, I will have to refrain from punching that person in the throat (not really, but AHHHH!). I think that quote is absolute crap and makes no sense at all. The universe dishes out whatever the hell it wants, to whoever the hell it wants, and when it does, each of us is responsible for how we respond to it.
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There is nothing more Meryl Streep needs to do to cement her legacy as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, or any for that matter – she is a goddess. But last night she catapulted herself into the stratosphere and will be immortalized not only as the brightest star ever to shine but as a hero. Standing in front of her peers, and millions of people watching at home, with conviction, grace, and courage gave a speech for the ages about inclusion and protection of freedoms. The strength she must have had to muster, I can only imagine.
*names, destinations, and occupations have been changed in this post…for obvious reasons.
I don’t like to refer to myself as a paranoid person (I totally am), I prefer to say that I possess a vivid imagination. When I was 15, I was often at home alone, which was great – my dad trusted me. It was not unusual, though, for me to ask my friends to walk through every inch of my house when they dropped me off at night to make sure no creep was lurking in a corner waiting to kill me. When I was too embarrassed to ask them to do it, I walked every inch myself, steel bar in hand. It was the only way I could close my eyes and fall asleep alone in my house, with the knowledge I was, in fact, alone. One morning, convinced someone had broken into my dad’s bedroom and was rifling through his dresser drawers, I jumped out my bedroom window, with my dog tucked under my arm, and fled three doors down to my friend Ronda’s house and called the fuzz. After a thorough walk-through of the house, they concluded that there was no evidence anyone had been there, and my dad’s underwear and socks were intact – still meticulously folded in his drawers, just as he had left them. Oopsie daisy. I told you, a very vivid imagination.
Well, that’s a wrap…2016 came, and in the blink of an eye, went. But unlike so many years before, I am looking back on this one with a big smile on my face. Usually, on New Year’s Eve, I promise myself, that this year I will do something, I won’t sit around, I WILL MAKE SOMETHING OF MYSELF AND MY LIFE – annnd, then I totally don’t, and before I know it, another wasted year is over. 2016, though, was entirely different. It wasn’t at all like the previous ones. This one was full of magic, growth, happiness and a steadfast commitment to fulfilling my dreams. I began chasing the absolute hell out of my dreams, and for the first time in my life believe they are going to come true.
It is Christmas Eve.
The snow is falling. He is sitting in his favourite chair, with his legs up, reading and watching TV. He periodically peers out the big bay window for a glimpse – wondering perhaps who is driving by and where they might be going.
He is not alone, but he is alone with his thoughts. ‘How bad is it?’ ‘Will the results confirm there is a cure for the cancer growing inside my chest?’ ‘Will I be able to fight it?’ ‘Am I going to be ok?’ ‘Why is this happening?’ ‘What if…?’ These are only a few of the thoughts racing through his mind, and what he is asking himself over and over again. He is thinking about his life, going over everything. Remembering. Hoping.
He is scared.
He looks over at his wife. He feels comfort, relief that she is here, and is thankful that this Christmas Eve she is beside him. She is the love of his life. As he watches her, his thoughts are of his Christmas wish, the one he has had to wish for all too often on Christmas Eve – a wish for her – that the cancer in her bones remains lazy, that it keeps taking it’s time, in turn, giving her more. Tonight, he once again wishes, for her, only much harder than ever before. Her cancer has changed course and found a warm place to nestle in her lungs – but, again, it is resting. ‘Keep resting’ he wishes. ‘Please. She is the love of my life.’
This is not how it is supposed to be. She needs him. Her cancer, for the moment, is sleepy, but, he knows it will eventually awaken, seeking refuge elsewhere. He needs to be here. So, he sits, gazing at his beautiful wife and continues wishing, with all his might, for himself, and for her. ‘Please. Let me win this fight. Let me stay. Please, give her more time.’
It is Christmas Eve.
There is no snow falling and, I am not alone. At my side is family and best friends. The bustle of music and joyful celebration fills my ears, but, I am alone in my thoughts. ‘Is he going to be ok?’ ‘How long before her cancer spreads even more?’ ‘When will we know his results?’ ‘How can this be happening?’ ‘Why them…again?’ ‘What if…?’ I am thinking about my life, going over everything. Remembering. Hoping.
I am scared.
The people with whom I share this night are all around me. I watch smiles grow on their faces as they talk and laugh with one another, and I too, smile because I can see them, hear them, touch them. I look at these faces, these people and I am overwhelmed at the sight of them. Thankful that for now, they are safe – Time has not put them on notice, not yet. My heart pounds and aches as I watch them. I catch my breath. They are here. I too am here.
The Christmas tree is in my view, and the twinkle of the lights ignites the colours draped all around. It is beautiful. Presents carefully wrapped with love and generosity are tucked underneath, waiting to reveal themselves, and to bring joy Christmas morning. I think of the many people who tonight are alone in their thoughts, wishing for the gift of just one more day, or many days. A gift they won’t find under the tree, but in the eyes of the one who still stands or sits beside them. I wish them many days.
And I think of the ones, who are looking around the room tonight and see only space where someone once was. I wish them a distant relationship with regret and abundant peace in their hearts – that a memory or a story provides them the strength to smile, to remember and to hold on. I wish them courage.
I think of all my family and friends, who tomorrow will gather around a tree, open gifts and watch joyfully as their children experience the magic of Christmas. I hope they put down their phones, that they are present, and store each moment deep in their minds – so that if one day, memories are all they have, vivid recollections will flood in. I wish them all joy, laughter, health, happiness, and infinite love. I wish them this Christmas and many, many more.
I walk to the window, and I look outside. I close my eyes and think of him sitting in his chair, and her at his side.
My wish this night is always for her, but tonight it is also for him.
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish, I wish tonight.
It is Christmas Eve.
The snow is falling. He looks over at his wife. He feels comfort, relief that she is here, and is thankful that this Christmas Eve, once again, she is beside him.
For you, both.
I love you.
Recently I found out that someone let me down, like big time. It was a bit of a shocker. But the revelation didn’t make me question why that person made the choice they did; it made me question myself. How could I have gotten it so wrong? Is anything I believe real? Are my instincts that out of whack? Should I just go fishing with that guy I see every morning at Starbucks, instead of continually declining invitations to board his boat? I mean, he seems nice – surely he isn’t going to slice open my brain with a fish hook, right? Well, what the fuck do I know anymore?
Because I never make anything easy for myself, I, of course, started questioning everything. What is the point trusting people, if they are kind, give you a reason to believe in them, invite you fishing, only to turn around and gouge your unsuspecting eyes out? What in the actual hell is the point? AHHHHHH. My brain is such a bastard sometimes.
What was evident to me was that I was in need of some clarity.
So, I did what I so often do – I locked in my headphones and opened my mind to my music. Lyrics raced through my head, and I just listened, patiently waiting, song after song, for one word, one thought that would bring it all back into focus.
And then…JOSH GROBAN HAPPENED!
‘BELIEVE’ – simple as that. Just fucking believe. YES, JOSH!!! Once again it all made perfect sense.
I am chasing a dream, one that for years I didn’t think or believe was possible. But, when belief finally started to creep into my mindset, that is when everything began to change, when my goals suddenly seemed attainable. I now know that they are within my reach. I would still be sitting on the couch moaning and longing for something more while making no attempt to get the words out or the led out of my ass if I hadn’t started to believe.
My belief, though, didn’t just appear like the slip of a fart, ‘poof there it is’…NO, it came from people – people I opened myself to because I loved them, believed in them and trusted them. It came from the friend who knew the moment she met me that I wanted to be a writer, and who ever since has provided constant encouragement. Her belief in me helped establish the belief I now have in myself. She puts me in my place when I dare to speak negatively about myself and when my confidence waivers her encouragement reminds me that, I can. It came from the friend who looked at me and said, ‘you seem like the kind of person who will do exactly what you say you will.’ Her words have played a key role in pushing me and encouraging me to keep going because when doubt controls my thoughts, I remember that someone believes I can, and will. It comes from the friend who when I get frustrated says, ‘remember, progress, is still progress, even if it is slow.’ These words remind me that I need to be proud of even the smallest accomplishments because any amount of effort keeps me moving in the direction I want to go, forward.
These are the types of people I am blessed to have in my life – my family and friends – and with whom I want to share laughter, love, and the very worst and best parts of life. We wholeheartedly believe in one another, have each other’s ears anytime of the day or night and love the absolute shit out of each other. Even when distance separates us, love fills the space between us and keeps us close.
So, I ask myself once again – why take a chance, open your heart and put your faith in people and risk feeling disappointment or pain? The answer is a simple one.
Because when the universe is a nasty son of a bitch and rains down death, despair, and one fireball after another filled with pain – it is the people we hold in our hearts who lift us, who keep us moving forward when our legs become too heavy. And, who help us see that there is light, there is hope.
And, when that son of a bitch blesses us with a reprieve, it is these same people we celebrate and enjoy the beautiful moments with – the moments we treasure deep in our hearts. The ones that cause us to smile big and feel so incredibly blessed to be alive, and a part of this beautiful fucking crazy world.
THAT is the point. THAT is the reason.
Josh Groban pieced it back together for me. I understand that when one person lets me down, inside my heart is love for so many others and that I am so much more than just one. He says that when the magic has slipped away, believe in what your heart is saying and believe in what you feel inside. What I feel inside is love, unrelenting love. And to me, that is the magic.
So, when I lose my way, all I have to do is listen. I know exactly what my heart is saying.
Just keep believing because it is so very worth it.
I am a fiercely independent person, and my freedom is essential to my well-being. So, the thought of being in a relationship makes me want to stab myself repeatedly in the face with a dull knife. For real. At this point in my life, the only way I would relinquish my status of ‘single and happy as hell about it’ is if the fate of the human race depended on it, like, if I don’t accept the mission and immediately ‘couple up’ we will all perish. Well, fuck, of course, I would sacrifice myself to prevent that, and take one for the team. But, after grudgingly accepting my fate and unwanted title of ‘Hero’ the countdown would be on until the day I could make a run for the hills screaming ‘CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, ASSHOLES’ never once looking back. I need and want to be alone.
Admittedly, for the past couple of weeks, I have been lost in a fog of ‘WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON?’. I have been going through the motions of life, completing my daily goals and tasks, but something has been missing. I have been disconnected. Instead, consumed with fear and uncertainty. I am, however, going to give myself a bit of a pass on this one. I care deeply about the world (which is now in peril or fucked, you pick) and my response to something this catastrophic was a natural one, but still, enough already (and, I trust Jill Stein has this covered), I need to keep living. The world hasn’t ended, yet. Right? I also know that if the characters in my book came to life, they would slap me upside the head and tell me to get my shit together then take turns screaming ‘YOU CAN DO BETTER – WE DESERVE BETTER!’ And, ‘I KNOW, I KNOW’ is what I would scream back, because I can do better, and they do deserve better. Ahh, I KNOW!
When I was 6, I wanted to give all my Halloween candy to my babysitter. I liked her…a lot. When I was 8, my boyfriend carved me a dog out of soap, and I was convinced we were going to get married. The like I had in my heart for him, though, quickly faded the first time he took me home for lunch, and I met his mom. She had me at grilled cheese. She was a gentle soul, and I was immediately smitten. Thinking about those Grade 3 lunch hour meals makes me smile, even to this day.
These are my first memories of having a crush on a girl. And yes, I am a girl.
I just took my fourth 400mg Advil of the day – to the detriment of my liver and kidneys – in an attempt to kill the non-alcoholic hangover I have been nursing all day. My body feels like it endured a bender of cold pints and irresponsibility, but the only thing I had too much of last night was Wolf Blitzer and leftover Halloween candy, which I stress ate to keep my panic and anxiety in check.
When it became evident, my worst fear was coming to fruition, I attempted to sleep, but disbelief and full-on panic allowed only short intervals of restless unconsciousness. I woke this morning feeling nauseous, fatigued and utterly disheartened by the improbable success of a candidate who has been incapable of showing any evidence of human decency. The newly elected President of the United States of America proudly boasted about his full-access pass to any pussy he wants, simply because he is famous and can grab whichever one he wants. Of course, his disdain for women without big tits or a face worthy of his attention significantly narrows the pool of pussies he will grab (he is very particular about the women he sexually assaults, apparently). Trump standard women, though, beware – soon this predator will hold the most powerful office in the world – protect yourselves accordingly. The discovery of his demeaning treatment of women, however, was merely a newly added course to the meal of bigotry, intolerance, and hate he has been dishing out for months.
Surely, I was not alone today in wondering what the fuck is going on.
As the day went on, I sought to understand and process how a nation chose this man, this grotesque excuse for a human being, as its leader. Reasonable explanations allude me, so I have stopped trying to find one.
Instead, I began focussing on my reaction and moving forward because I don’t want to spend the next four years angry. Anger isn’t productive for me, and it isn’t productive for those around me. I need to be a source of inspiration and encouragement, rather than a raging lunatic consumed by disappointment and shock continually talking in circles. I want to contribute positively to the world and help make it one in which we are all proud and welcomed to exist within, so I need to stop trying to figure out the incomprehensible and live in the moment. I need to create great moments.
Tonight, as protests ensue in cities across the United States, I am once again hopeful. My belief is that there is always a silver lining, and I know that in this oppressive mess, one does exist. Minorities, women, and the LGBTQ community are no longer quietly being supported; now they have the support of people who unwilling before, are now willing to march in the streets, loudly proclaiming that intolerance and hate, is not, and will not be tolerated. My hope is that those who are feeling alone, fearful and afraid of what is to come, are tonight finding strength in the unity showing itself across the nation, and the willingness of people to fight for what is right.
Last night was a win for you, Demagogue, but love does trump hate.
Mark my words.