Monday, December 20, 2010

Waiting outside the lines.






I've played this six thousand times. It is such a beautiful rendition and makes my soul feel all these things that I have no words for. Only tears, only affirmation, only the courage and strength to silence the six thousand and seventy two fears.

Holidays are hard and magical all at the same time. The closing of another chapter, another year, and I have learned so much. 2010 has been incredible, 2010 has been so special and crazy and absolutely terrifying but more than anything, 2010 was filled with healing, with love, with forgiveness.

There are many many lessons. Lessons that my words won't do justice, but that need to be reaffirmed. To be said out loud, to be reminded at a later date in time of how incredibly special this year was.

2009 was filled with so much heartache and devastation, 2009 was painful and scary and a constant land mine of emotions and shock and all the hard, hard, difficult things. 2009 gave birth to 2010 and was the catharsis, the yucky that needed to happen.

I don't know that I will ever want to relive 2009 again but yet I also know that I am thankful that it happened. I am grateful for all the things I discovered and learned in 2009, about myself, about the amazing people around me, about the sometimes yucky parts of life and people, about faith and heartache, about how you can love a child and the lengths that that love will take you to fiercely protect like your own. I learned that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can fail. I learned that sometimes marriages aren't forever and sometimes, bad things just happen. I learned humility, I learned to be humble, I learned to say "I don't know".

But 2010? 2010 I learned to laugh again. To feel joy in my soul, to be at peace in my heart. I learned to be still, to listen, to be okay with exactly where I was at. I learned to really appreciate all the little things, the little wins, the little moments, the little details that are so easy to look over.

I learned to forgive, I learned that grieving is a process not a destination, I learned to live again. To live loud, to live proud, to live without regrets. I learned what it meant to live so you can be proud of who you are at the end of the day and the decisions and choices you made.

I learned to leap, to stand by faith and sometimes, even when it was only on faith alone. I learned to love genuinely and make relationships that matter, that count. I learned to value my friendships and and my family in a whole new different light, I learned that what you say and how you make someone feel matters.

But more than that I learned to embrace me, the ugly the yucky the good. I learned things about myself I didn't know and I learned things about myself that I didn't want to know. I learned about "the hardwork", I learned about resolution, I learned about reclaiming. I learned to love me. To choose me. To pick me.

I learned that choosing to love myself didn't make me selfish or a horrible person.

I learned that choosing to love myself made me a better lover, a better friend, a better daughter, a better child of God.

I learned to let someone in again, to differentiate fears and gut feelings, to differentiate mistakes and not letting your baggage get in the way of life. I learned to say I don't know everything and I learned to be okay with it, I learned to be a partner, I learned to be a friend, I learned to say please respect me and my choices, please respect my body and who I am, I learned to say please fight fair. I learned to make healthier choices and to work it out. I learned to say these are the things that I need from you and these are the things that I want, I learned to say these are the things I can work with and these are the things I can't. I learned big incredible lessons sometimes come in tiny packages. Like stinky moisturizer.

I learned that I didn't need to change who I was in order to be loved.

I didn't need to silence myself or change the way I dressed or looked or my beliefs.

I learned that there was so much to be learned in being still.

So thank you 2010, for teaching me to be patient. For teaching me to wait outside the lines, to observe, to see the rainbow after the storm. The bigger picture.

To leap.

I'm waiting outside the lines, but more than that, I've had more courage, more inspiration, more self-believe than ever in 2010 to say, I can do it. I can do this and I can be me and I can dream.

I can dream.





Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mistakes.



I hate making mistakes....a saving grace, a comfort, knowing that there is a lesson to be learned in all of this, to know better the next time, to make a better choice, to pick the right choice.

Perhaps that is the theme in everything that I do now, the current that lies beneath all these decisions and thought process is to do it right, pick a choice that I can stand behind, make decisions that I can be proud of, and know, with absolute certainty, that it was right and justified and I can find the peace and happy in my soul with that decision.

It is that little voice, that darn bloody little voice that whispers, that nags, that pokes when you've done something not quite right that is the hardest to silence.

I didn't rob, didn't kill, didn't steal.

I forgot to show kindness. I forgot to show love. I forgot to show and I'm embarrassed. Because that ignorance, that pride, that judgement, that was not me.

I chose to fit in instead of speaking out.

So next time, I'll know better.

Next time, I'll do better.

And next time, I will stand by the things I know, by the values I prescribe to and be the person I am meant to be.

I was selfish.

And that word rolls off my tongue with grit and I am so ashamed.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why?

I've been having a really hard time, it's the holidays..and there's something about the holidays that just hurt so much. I am heartbroken, at times, it feels like I am exactly where I started. Betrayed, angry, hurt, overwhelmed, looking for answers, trying to fix it all. I hurt, something kinda crazy tonight. Everything, every memory, every intense feeling, and every sliver of hurt assaults again and again and again. Dear God, please. Please, please, please, make it be over.

I stumbled across an old video while packing, it was a video my extended family made of wedding wishes. There is so much love in that video, there is so much good and awesome and beautiful and sweet in that video. People ask me why? Why move back? See here, see this happy, fun-loving, incredibly special family? That's why.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Listening.

messy hair


I want to hit pause and fast forward and rewind all at the same time.

Writing out six hundred and forty Christmas cards, a labor of love, but more than that, love letters of gratitude and best wishes. Wishing kick ass, laughter-filled, make your heart burst, awesome, loving, blessed Christmases and a fantastic, better-than-amazing, 2011 ahead.

Hand written, because real mail in a mail box is just special.

:)

Remembering, reminding, reminiscing. An ache, a longing, an overwhelming gratefulness for the way things have unfolded and the ends that have become of the means.

Too overwhelmed last year for cards, too caught up and in the thick of things. Too raw, too painful, too crazy to even put words onto paper when everything was still so surreal. Ready, and proud. I sign off, one less last name, without a hyphen. I have found my identity again, I know who I am now. I know who I am as Racheal. Not Racheal, Jarrod's wife, or M's stepmom, or Carol and Peter's daughter, or Daniel's sister. I know who Racheal is.

I know who I am without the hyphen.

And that, that is kinda amazing and kick ass all at the same time.

Be consistent. Be true to yourself. Be honest. Be real.

So many conversations in the last couple of weeks that have reinforced this again and again and again. Good is happening, stay faithful, stay true to yourself. Believe. Know who you are and hold on so incredibly tight to that. Be open to lessons, to change, to the twists and turns, but stand tall, stand proud, claw, grab on, to your soul, your strength, your light.

Do the hardwork. Do the hardwork and it will pay off. It will pay off when you aren't looking, it will pay off when you don't know how to measure it, it will pay off when you look back and you realize, holy shit, holy shit, holy shit...look how far I've come. Look back, and see, that broken, that shattered, that lost, hurting, girl and see the woman that has grown from it. Look back, and realize, this didn't just happen, this wouldn't have happened without the hard work, so persevere. So be consistent. So do the hardwork.

Dream.

For so long, I held my breath, afraid that this would be a house of cards. Afraid that if I started dreaming, if I acknowledged all the amazing, if I started charting out hopes and wishes that it might all fall apart, that I might get my hopes up and be devastated again. Afraid that if I moved, if I let myself stray and dreamt at all that I might screw it all up. Afraid that dreaming would mean that I would lose focus on the right now, on the hard bits, thinking that maybe the dreaming would just come later, much much later. In that strange faraway place of healing and healthy.

Dreaming.

Dreaming of a future.

Longing.

Of things that I find so incredibly hard to say out loud.

Like of being a mom again.

Or a wife.

And as soon as I say that, I want to take it all back.

I want to erase.

I want to deny.

I want to pretend that that is not a want.

Afraid.

Scared.

And it is because of this fear that I know that I need to keep on trucking. Keep on depositing into my "healthy" bank. Keep on doing the hardwork.

Because it is when I am not afraid anymore, when I am able to say it out loud, when I am able to talk about it and process it out loud, that I will be ready. That I will know that the hard work has paid off.

The hard work, the kind where you confront all your fears and face them head on. The kind where you dig up all the sludge and wade through the muck. The kind where you throw yourself into that dark sinkhole of insecurities and fears, of mistakes and regrets, of failures and disappointments. It is that hard work, where the past gets regurgitated again and again and it hurts and it sucks and it makes you want to throw up for hours. It is the hard work where you have no control, no idea where the "hard work" will take you, only hanging on by a thread, a thread of hope, a thread of knowing that no matter how backwards, no matter how many steps you slide towards the wrong direction, that this will pound and break and scar but this will also open and unlock a whole new you. A whole new different kind of whoop ass happy.

And the pride, the assurance, the gratitude when you have conquered that fear, will be overwhelming. The success tangible in everything that you do. The way you think, the way you interact, your relationships, your friendships. The way you view the world, and the way you view yourself.

This journey has taught me so much, forgiveness, kindness, compassion. Humility, acceptance, loyalty.

We move in this week. The parallels of building a home, the piecing of the little things to form the big picture is a metaphor hard to ignore. The taps and tiles and kitchen and switches you picked weeks and months ago with a vague hazy picture in your head have become a reality as you see it all come together. Some look better than in your head, some just makes your heart smile and some, just didn't work at all. But you have learned, and you will know better the next time.

You learn, a simple lesson on happy.

Pick things that make you happy, pick things that make your heart smile, pick things that make a positive impact.

Be patient.

Don't rush into it, don't rearrange your thoughts and force yourself into liking something you do not love, don't mold and remold it and work so hard to change your gut, stay true to yourself, listen.

Bare, is a whole lot better than junk.

Learn to not give up. Learn to be passionate. Learn to persevere.

Good things come to those that wait.

Be faithful.

And I've stop talking about the house.

It's life.

Because sometimes, you should just get the chandelier.

Life is better with some sparkle and sometimes, you should use the fine china on regular days.

Just because.

Because life is special and precious and you get this one life. This one amazing, beautiful, crazy life.

Live loud, live proud, live real.

Live.

Don't make the same mistakes again, don't take this chance to do it all over again and not listen.





"[The void] It's that place in our lives where what we've been hanging onto . . . clinging to for dear life . . . is stripped away. It's that place in us where we let go of what we know, what we think we know, and what we want and surrender to the unknown. It is the place of saying and meaning, 'I don't know.' It means standing there with our hands empty for a while, sometimes watching everything we wanted disappear; our self image, our definition of who we thought we should be, the clones we've created of ourselves, the people we thought we had to have, the things we thought were so important to collect and surround ourselves with, the job we were certain was ours, the place we thought we'd live in all our lives. . . Surrender control to the supreme wisdom and authority of God and to the Divine in your soul. Step into the void with courage. Learn to say, I don't know. That's not blind faith. It's pure faith that will allow God and your spirit to lead you wherever your soul wants and needs to go."

-Melody Beattie


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Inspired.

Awesome whoop ass kinda happiness.


This week has been special...and I know that no matter how hard I try to, my words will never do all the moments that was this week justice.

I was inspired, I was challenged, I was pushed.

I was hiding, I was scared, I was taking a step back just to breathe.

I was working through my demons, my fears, my complacency...to just stay in my comfort zone, to just say, I did the hard work, see this, and see that, I did it...so you know, I get a free pass for a while, just to do nothing. To stay in the "safe" zone, to not have to do that "hard parts", to not have to work through.

But this week taught me such important lessons,

the most of all,

you've come too far, worked too hard, lost too much, and loved too much to just do nothing.

to backslide.

to just be okay.

to settle.

Don't settle, Racheal.

Don't.

Get out there, live your dreams, believe.

"Real breakthroughs happen because someone is scared to death to stop trying"

- Grey’s Anatomy



Monday, November 15, 2010

(I) Care Packages.



I have pictures, from the weekend where my whole life fell apart. I have snapshots of moments forever caught in time, smiles, looks, pure joy and happiness, sunshine. I have pictures, as a proud proud stepmother, I have pictures, as a proud, proud wife. I have these pictures, of a family, that I vaguely yet intensely recall.

Christmas, year two. Will it always be like this? Does the grief somehow end or slowly fades away to when you stop counting everything as before, or after?

I asked permission today, if I could send a card, a gift in the mail.

But tell me, how do you put so much love and so many hopes and wishes and dreams into a card? How do you find the gift that simply just says I love you.

You are, and will always be, my first child. Not from my flesh, not from my womb, but from my heart. Somewhere, where love grew, you were born.

I remind myself that you are matured beyond your years. You get it, even if you don't quite know the words, or have the specific conscience to figure it all out, you know. You are beautiful, but more than that, you are smart. And you know how this game works, the rules, the complicated twists and turns, the complexity of needing a father and forgetting the hurts.

"I knew it, I knew it!" you said.

and in that one sentence, I was relieved but my whole heart shattered and broke and crumbled.

All the things, all the prayers, all the wishes and dreams of all the things that I hope you would never had to experience, all the things I wanted to fiercely protect you from.

In five years and even when it ended, I did everything the best way I knew how to, the best way I understood it to be.

My biggest fear, is that if you ever question if I loved you at all.

I chose, to step away. I chose, to let him have his say. I chose, to let him tear me apart, poison you with lies, remove every ounce of me in your life, and forbid you to say my name. I chose, because I didn't want you to have to choose.

I wanted to protect you, I wanted to shield you from all the nasty, from all the heartache, from all the yucky that we had become.

I let you think and believe all the things that your father told you, and yet it blows my mind that you knew.

And that is why my heart broke.

Because this, this wasn't just my story. This is the story of his life, his life that is completely intertwined with yours. I am not the first stepmom, nor the last.

You deserve, so much better, and so much more.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

We are all moving on in separate directions, carving out our futures of happily ever after. I wish nothing but the best for you, I wish you all the sunshine and happiness and rainbows.

Do I get moments where I desperately crave for just one more day, just one more hour, one more chance before our whole lives changed...just so I could sit you down and tell you just exactly how much you meant to me and how loved and wanted you are.

My fear, my biggest scares-me-out-of-my mind fear, is the thought of you ever questioning that. The thought of you questioning if I care, or if I loved you, or if you meant enough to me.

So that is why, I slap my thick skin on and ask your mom if it's okay, I put up with his harassing calls, and I send you a card. On your birthday and Christmas.

A card that says all the things I cannot. A care package, that has so much love in it, and a care package that I hope tells you just how incredibly much you are loved.

And the other days, I walk away. I let go, I let life take over and pray she loves you more than I do, I pray this lasts forever, I pray you don't get lost in the shuffle.

I had to grieve this loss, among all the other losses, in order to move on. In order to get to a better place, a happy place. I had to come to terms that I would never know, and that I would never have just that five more minutes. There was no more looking back, only forward.

So once in a while, a random memory pops up, and a little part of my heart smiles and hurts all in the same breath.

Or I accidentally catch a glance at an old album of us.

And sometimes, I take the time to flip through it, let a random tear and laugh escape or two, wish you well, be so stinking proud of you, but always, I have to close the chapter. I have to let go. I have to move on.

I love you M, hope you're so so good.

I miss you so incredibly much.


This picture and the ear-to-ear grin of you opening this year's birthday care package? So completely worth it.

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

- Mother Teresa



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hurt.

I carry scars from ym past, and some are healed over but every once in a while, they get viciously split open and reexamined.

Tonight, I feel so incredibly scarred. I feel like the reject pile, I feel the "not good enough" and the "not worth it" come out, I feel the hurt and the anger as I am judged, I feel my shield of courage and experience crack under pressure.

I am a divorced woman. I can't change that. I can't change that I went through an extremely traumatic experience that is something you can't just shake off. I carry with me so many scars and so many wounds that are slowly, very slowly healing. But it isn't fair, it isn't fair to compare or to judge or to say I should be at a certain place when I am not. I am not ready, I am still healing, I am still a work in progress.

It is not fair for someone else to say that I am not committed to a relationship because I don't want to be married Right. Now. I don't want to be married because that terrifies me, I don't want to be married because we're not ready yet, I don't want to be married because we just started dating, and we're still learning to communicate, to be each other's person, to build a foundation. I don't want to be married because I don't want to walk down an aisle unsure, afraid, scarred. I want to be happy, I want to be at peace, I don't want to feel like I was forced into that decision. I don't want to feel like this might be a mistake.

How do I explain that these feelings, these exact myriad of feelings are things I have to work through, things I have to work on, for myself, for our relationship, for any hope of a happily ever after. These feelings? These feelings don't just go away all because you love someone or because you are committed to them. Those are separate things....I need this time to know that when we do get married, I am at peace, I am happy, and I know that this is the best decision I'll ever make in my life but more than that, when I walk down the aisle, I don't even think of this except for how incredibly happy and blessed and excited I am for that moment.

How do you explain this to someone that doesn't understand? How do I not feel judged, not feel like the core of who I am is being questioned or that I just need time? How do I say, give me a chance, give us a chance, this relationship. This is between him and me and I get your good intentions, I understand that all you're trying to do is to fiercely protect the ones that you love but this? This questioning, this assuming, these talks? They hurt me.

They hurt us.

I know I make him happy and I know he makes me happy. I know that there's also so much that we both don't know. I know that we are both committed to this, I know that we're trying, we're buckling down and trying our hardest to make this work. To make us work. I know that there are ups and downs and the distance sometimes complicates things. I know, I know, I know, but it isn't fair, it isn't fair to me, it isn't fair to him, it isn't fair to us or yourself if you assert your thoughts on how we should feel or what we should do. This is, in the end, a relationship between him and me. We rely on our family to support us, we rely on our family to be people that we can count on as sounding boards, we rely on our families to play devil's advocate. I get that, I understand that, but please understand to that as you do that, I get caught in the middle. I get my feelings hurt, I am sensitive and when you pass judgement on who I am that what I am made of and the way that I feel, I am insulted...but more than that, I feel betrayed.

I am not asking you to not protect, I am merely asking you to not judge. Not impose what you think he should or should not do but please let the poor boy make his own decisions. Those decisions, are his to make. I want him to consider absolutely everything and anything, I can only tell him how I feel and where I stand and where my decisions lie, but I cannot force him to pick what I choose. It isn't fair, it isn't fair to him or me or us. It isn't fair to our relationship now or our relationship later.

I need him to be 100%, either way.

So please, tell him how you feel, but don't assume, and don't force him, don't play the "I'm disappointed" card...you've earned a right to but it doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quiet.

I've been neglecting this place, not on purpose, not consciously, life just gets in the way you know?

I've been trying to live life, live it loud, live it proud, live it to the fullest extent that I know how to, remembering to be grateful, remembering to soak in all the lessons, remembering to be in the moment.

There are so many times, a really neat thing happens, and I think to myself, I should blog about that. I should blog about that because I want a permanent reminder of this, I process best when I am writing through my thoughts but more than that, I want to remember, what I felt, what happened, the details, months and years from now when it is all just a hazy blur. I want to remember, the good and the bad. I want to be reminded.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tomorrow.

I've had so many reminders lately, of what it's like to come out on the other side, of what it's like to be in the thick of things, of what it's like to deal with raw, painful, grief and not have the words. I've journeyed back to dark places, to lonely places of confrontation and reflection, to silent places of contemplation and being at peace. I have learned, and I will continue to learn, but these lessons take my breath away. Sometimes I just can't breathe it is suffocating and overwhelming and sometimes in complete and absolute awe.

I've always had a problem with insomnia. Always had a problem with not sleeping and not being able to get to sleep. Too busy, too much thinking, too much going on, too much to do. My mind processes and processes and goes and goes until I am flat out exhausted and finally ready to pass out. I hate this.

I hate these 3am conversations with myself confronting the yucky. Confronting the sad. Confronting the messy and the ugly and the hard.

I miss my therapist. I miss the safety of having an hour to dump all these uncohesive thoughts onto someone else's lap and walk out with it all organized into pretty little boxes. I miss the security of having a check and balance. Of knowing that no matter where your mind takes you, that there is someone keeping watch, someone checking, someone making sure that this, this is where you need to be. That this is healthy. That is right.

Because it's hard. Oh my lord is it hard and painful and difficult and mind numbing. I confront demons that are intense and ugly and painful. I confront demons that seem to rise up again and again throwing up old fears and taking shape in different forms. I confront but yet sometimes it seems never ending and exhausting.

I cry in the middle of the night, missing my friends, missing my boyfriend, missing a little girl and grieving again the could have beens and the changes and the changes and the changes. I cry, overwhelmed, unsure, scared, lonely. I cry, not knowing what to say.

I cry, and I journal, and I blog.

I cry, and somehow, it makes it all okay again.

And I can breathe.

And I can focus.

And I can say

I(t) will be better tomorrow.



"Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be."

--Marsha Petrie Sue


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Working in the thick of things.

I remember, in the thick of things, wanting everything to just make sense. I remember just desperately begging, for healing, for understanding, for forgiveness. I remember the wounds that were so raw and the hurt that was so unfathomable, I remember thinking, holy shit, holy shit, holy shit....please please let this not be real. Please let this be a bad dream. Please let me wake up wake up wake up.

I listened to an old playlist tonight, of songs that made sense and comforted. Songs that said all the things I needed to say but didn't know how to say at that time. Isn't it beautiful how music does that? How it transports you to a moment in time and you remember all the little details, all the emotions and the thoughts that played out. Isn't it beautiful how you can look back and measure the progress? Measure the healing, the beautiful, the awesome....all the little things that get overshadowed in the everyday.

These last two weeks have been incredibly rough. A hodge-podge of intense emotions that collided and made it hard to breathe. So many questions fueled by doubt and his good friend insecurity, so much sadness and grief, so much reality and tough choices.

I shared that bible verse they read at the funeral, because I remember holding so tightly to those exact words in the thick of things. I remember the hodge-podge of intense feelings then and the reminder, even then, to just be patient.

As soon as his granddaughter read the first verse, I knew I was in trouble. I knew that the armor of guarded emotions would fall apart, and there was no way I could hold my shit together till the privacy and safety of falling apart alone.

I think the worst feeling in the world is watching the people you love hurting, and feeling absolutely helpless. Grief, is just such a raw raw painful emotion. I hurt so incredibly much for a family that has lost their appa and for my parents that have lost a mentor.

It was that painful reminder of grief and how it felt in the thick of things to be grieving a huge loss. To grieve a husband, to grieve a child, to grieve 5 years of your life and the dreams and the future you built and believed in. To grieve as you're struggling to adjust to a new normal.

Moving and the funeral seems to have triggered these memories and it is hard to quite define it. This new normal, the grieving of everything that I knew, and everything that was "normal", the grieving of my friends and the relationships, the grieving of having a routine and knowing things, the grieving and adjusting. It's been hard, and if I was completely and totally honest with myself, I've been suppressing so much. Letting it all come to a boil, an emotional breakdown, but never really dealing with it. Wanting it to all be over, wanting to just pretend that everything is okay, wanting so desperately to pretend that I've gotten there...that secure safe place of the "new normal".

There's a lot of questioning in my world, a lot of boundaries undefined and uncertainty. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

I started a new job in a place I have called home for a long time. Publishing is in my blood, I have grown up at book conventions but to actually work in it is a whole new ball game. I struggle with the intense pressure that I put on myself and get frustrated when I am impatient with the progress that I am making. This is so incredibly exciting but it is also still very new. I can speak in pottery and paint code, but I only know every other word here if only because I've grown up picking up bits and pieces.

Having said that, the immense pride is immeasurable. I am so proud to be working for this company but more than that, I am so blessed to have found my place. There are a lot of technical things I'm still learning like how to transition from a Mac to a PC and how a book is published from step one to step six hundred and fifty two. What constitutes a good book cover or a best seller, how the numbers work and how to design a successful product sheet. These things, they overwhelm me at times. I get lost in the shuffle and sometimes, I am embarrassed to ask the stupid questions like how do I change the margins on a Windows document again?

But the love? The love and support is tangible. It is real and felt and when I am not being oblivious to it, and when I remember to look at the little things, I see it. I see it and it is beautiful.

Being in a long distance relationship is hard. We're trying to work through it. Trying to figure out where we stand, where our relationship stands, and trying to remember to just stop and breathe. There are so many things you don't even know you fear, and don't even know you're affected by until it happens. There are things that are so much harder to work out when you're six hundred thousand miles apart. Sometimes, the distance makes us lose the parts that make 'us' special.

We somehow grow apart and stop connecting, grasping at straws, struggling to make our individual "new normals" work. Desperately craving for the independence, the ability to do this, wanting so badly to be able to make it. I think that we might have lost our focus.

It's hard.

And even as I struggled with all the fears from the past coming back to bite me so hard in the ass, I denied, and I ignored, and I refused to talk about it, acknowledge it. We refused to talk about our fears, collectively. His fears about moving to an unknown country and leaving everything he has ever known behind, his fears that became so much more scarier as I struggled battling through my transitions, as I battled through adjusting and fitting in and if it was so hard for me, a Chinese Malaysian going home then holy shit holy shit holy shit.

My fears of reminders everywhere of a relationship that completely crashed and burned and wanting so desperately to prevent that from ever happening again. My fears that broke open so many scars and highlighted them. My fears as I struggled to fit in, to find my place in the world again. My fears that caved in to all my insecurities that slowly crept and crept and crept to the surface.

My fears and his that we suppressed and tried, tried, tried, to pretend it wasn't there. Because it's the things we can't talk about, the what ifs, the what nows, the gray.

And the pressure, the insurmountable insane pressure. As he tries to sell all of his things, as he puts his house, his first house he bought with savings from college and a last gift from grandpa. His loved but worn around the edges home and is told to put a value on it. Is told to rip out the tiles and repaint the walls and change the deck and as they rip apart his home to put a "value" on it he sees more of his hard worked savings disappear into this rabbit hole of necessary invisible expenses.

But that isn't even the hard part, the hard part is saying goodbye to your girlfriend and having to create a new normal, a new routine, out of the same place. It is the loneliness that comes with the empty side of a bed, or the quiet of a house without the laughter of a partner in crime tempting you with a chocolate cone from Andy's at 11:00 at night. It's having to figure out all that without the comfort of just having to establish a new routine in a new place without reminders of what was there.

Harder still, is finding a home for your buddy. How do you say take care of my pet, my dog, my best friend? How do you even explain that special relationship between a man and his dog? I know I grieved for months after losing Cody, and I know that doing what's best is not necessarily what's easiest. I know that the first time he approached the subject, I saw the tears he choked back and quickly swiped away. It's his buddy, the one he takes walks with and greets him with enthusiasm after a long work day. It's his buddy that sasses and challenges his patience, and chews and barks and needs to go out this. very. second. It's his puppy, it's his buddy, it's his Sylar.

But the hardest part, is how do you put it all into perspective when you just have no idea. You have no idea how it's all going to play out, you have no idea what it will be like. And you're scared, you're scared about missing your friends and your home and you're scared if you won't fit in or if the food is too spicy and the weather too hot. You're scared if you can't find a job or can't get a visa or can't stay. You're scared and terrified and stressed. You're scared you'll miss so much, and you're scared if it doesn't work out.

But you're supposed to have your shit together, because you're the strong one. Because you're the one that no major change has happened to yet. Because you're still there and on the surface, nothing has changed.

You're not the one that moved halfway across the world after her world fell apart and crashed and burned. You're not the one who is looking for a place that she belongs, looking for a familiar face. You're not the one that had a moment today when you ran into a friend from high school today at the gym and you're not the one that can comprehend how incredibly special that moment was after years of just wanting to have a long history with someone. You're not the one that is the obvious person in transition, you're not the one that gets a free pass because things are incredibly hard and there is just so much to adjust to. You're not the one that has to start a new job, a new life, a new bed, a new culture...you're not the one that misses and misses and misses her friends and her independence and her security. You're not the one that has to figure out where all her relationships stand and how to integrate them all without leaving anyone out or shortchanging anyone. You're not the one that gets to pull the trauma card, and the divorce card, and the i just moved halfway across the world after 9 years card. You're not the one that gets to have an obvious "this is why" card.

And so, as we deal with our separate worlds and try to figure it out, it all kind of explodes. And hot burning tears and hurtful words happen. Lots of conversations happen, and emails. Lots of decisions to be made, healthy, grown up, big girl big boy decisions that are so much easier said than done. Because you just want to be sure, you want to jump with both feet in but you're afraid. You want to run and stay and it's exhausting.

A moment of clarity, a moment of quiet. A decision that gives peace. We, we do not need to define where we are at. We do not need to know for sure. We are okay, these fears are valid, these concerns are things that can happen, and to pretend like it's not there, hurts us. To pretend like we are okay and that these things aren't stressful is a lie. To pretend that our relationship isn't affected is a hokey pokey absolute lie. It sucks. This situation blows and sucks ass.

I look back and I marvel at all the healing and lessons that I've learned. I look back and I think, a year ago, I would have never allowed myself to make this decision. I would have never been okay with just allowing things to unfold. With walking away. A year ago, I would have fought fought fought to make it work no matter how unhealthy. A year ago, I would have said I needed to. A year ago, I wouldn't have been able to acknowledge these feelings and allow myself to grieve or to be scared. A year ago, I would have demanded a decision, begged to be picked, to be loved, to be chosen.

A year later I know that it's okay. Whatever happens, I'm at peace with it. I love this boy, and I have nothing but mad respect for who he is and what he has brought into my life.

If we don't work out, I will miss him, and every fiber of my being will wish this was different but I also know that at the end of this, no matter how broken and hurt I feel, no matter how much it sucks to have a relationship fall apart, I'll look back and realize that I am enough, by myself. And I will love me for it. I will look down and still see my feet beneath me. I have learned so much from my divorce and that has allowed me to be able to make the hard, healthy decisions. So I can't say it's all bad, so I can't say that all this hurting is pointless. So I can't say that I wish to take it all back.

He comes in two weeks. In two weeks, we get to reconnect and be on the same continent for the first time in months. In two weeks, I get to remember what he smells like and what his hand feels like in mine. In two weeks, we get to have a conversation, face to face, without the help of technology. In two weeks, we get to figure out where we stand, where we go from here. In two weeks, I get to show him a little part of my world and my life here and in two weeks, I hope he likes it.

I need 100%. I need all the way. I need a commitment.

I need a relationship based on respect, and integrity, and honesty.

Those are the things I said I couldn't compromise.

Everything else? Everything else is negotiable. Everything else is not set in stone.

In the meantime, we're working on mending. We're working on fixing these lines of communication. We're working on listening. We're working on understanding and not taking things out on each other. We're working on trust.

We're working by faith.

We're working because we're not willing to call it quits yet.

And until we stop meeting in the middle,

until this gets unhealthy,

I'm working hard.








"Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you"
-Paulo Coelho


Friday, September 17, 2010

In Memory.



To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

This week was so hard for so many reasons.

I need me an Amie hug.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I choose to be Muhibbah. (#loveburnsbrighter)




I read about people burning churches, and people throwing red paint onto a mosque. I read about people burning cowheads at a Hindu temple, and churches burning Qurans. I read about hurting people rebelling. I read about people forgetting to love one another, forgetting to respect each other's sacred space, each other's religion. I read these awful, horrible, things and I weep for humanity.

What have we come to?

How did we forget? How did we come to this? How did we come to just blatantly disrespect our neighbors, our friends, our people?

What can I do?

How can I help?

Can I even make a difference?

Because I look around, and I see my friends. My neighbors. My people from a country I now call home and a country I called home for a long time. I look around and I see so many genuine, beautiful people. I look around and I see the stories, the culture that weaves it way through and creates such beautiful tapestry in this thing we call life.

I look around, and I think, surely, this dream of 1Malaysia is possible. I look around and I think, surely, this dream of a peaceful America with it's melting pot is possible.

I look around and I think, surely, surely there is something I can do.

Practice tolerance.

Practice holding back judgement.

Practice the appreciation for a different culture.

Practice respect for someone else's religion, someone else's God, someone else's sacred space and book.

Practice all this even as I hold tight to my faith, to my beliefs. Practice and know in my heart the values that I prescribe to, from a religious standpoint, from a humanity standpoint.

Because I have so much left to learn.

Because I have learned so much.

From people different than me.

From people of a different color and of a different religion.

I have also learned tolerance, and kindness, and gentleness from a religion other mine.

And I've been accused of being idealistic, I've been accused of being naive.

I've been accused, but yet I still believe.

I believe.

and this has reinforced in me lessons from my mama,

to always kill with kindness.

Or like someone else awesome's mama once taught me that

"no matter what someone else does, I still have the choice to act with sincerity and authenticity."

because when I see my friends, I don't see black or white or yellow or brown.

I don't see Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or Christian.

I don't feel the need to shove my beliefs down their throat and I appreciate that they don't try to either.

Because they are so much more than that.

I just see my friends.

And I want to believe that I can live in a world that we can all live happily together.

That we can always be friends.

That our "muhibbah" group will always be muhibbah regardless of our religious practices.

Because see, when they bleed, their blood is red too.

I am fiercely loyal, and when you hurt my friends, you hurt me too.

Please stop hurting us.

I?

I choose to be Muhibbah.

I choose respect.

I choose to live in harmony.




"We must become the change we want to see."
-Mahatma Gandhi


Friday, September 3, 2010

Drafting.

hope is stronger than a hurricane.
**taken when we thought Gustav was going to be so much more worst than it ended up being.

Sometimes, it's late, and I'm processing, and taking notes, missing, appreciating, adjusting, learning...and I am overwhelmed.

This, this sense of being overwhelmed is so very different from a breakdown. So very different from falling apart. It's more a sensory overload, an emotional response but emotionally also, in a very good place. A place of happiness, a place of love, a place of being.

There are so many things that I want to write about. I want to write about friendship and honesty. I want to write about sharing. I want to write about how incredibly blessed I feel to have found friends that I feel safe with. I want to write about how it feels like to be an open book, to have no secrets, to share and share and share. To say this is my story, and there are parts that are ugly, ugly, ugly. To say I made such monumentally huge mistakes, mistakes that led me to where I ended up. To say I take full responsibility, I take responsibility for my actions, and my stupid insecure decisions, and the girl that I was. I am sad for the girl that I was but I am okay with it. I am okay that all the bad and the yucky and the icky happened.

I am finally secure enough to say this happened, this is my story, and it has ugly, yucky, bits to it but I'm finally secure enough to know I will be okay even if I am judged because of it. That I will look down, and find myself still standing, still a survivor, no matter what hurtful words you might or might not say.

I want to write about finding my place, and being.

I want to write about the profound conversations that led me here.

I want to write about the discoveries. The lessons learned.

I want to write about Katrina, the anniversary, and the so very many thoughts associated with it. I want to write about how at peace I finally feel about the way things unfolded, I want to talk about how so very afraid and devastated I was initially that he had robbed this experience from me too, that he had tainted this too. I remember thinking, I love this city, I love this city so incredibly much but how do I disassociate this city from him? How do I not get angry and pissed off and hurt when I think of New Orleans. How will I ever walk through the city again and not remember....not remember this is where I fell in love with you, this is where we got married, this is where our story began. This is the place we honored, this is the place that taught me of compassion, this is the place that taught me lessons I will carry with for the rest of my life. This is the place, the beginning. This was the beginning to everything.

And I think, to commemorate, to honor, to give a voice...I think it would be good to go back to where it started. To go back to journal entries detailing. Of Ivan. Of Katrina. Of Gustav. Of the before and the in between and the after. I think it would be good to put it together, and I've started but sometimes, no matter how good of a place you're in, it's hard to read. To sift through.

And so I have a draft of words and stories halfway put together, waiting to be published, waiting to be told.

Maybe another day.


homemade hugs on paper.



"And since you are a breath in God's sphere, and a leaf in God's forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion. "

-Khalil Gibran





Monday, August 30, 2010

How do you say...?

working it out: 1

I'm watching my friends' marriages completely fall apart. Crash and burn. I see them hurt and claw through the darkness, and my heart is so incredibly broken for them. I wish I had all the perfect words to comfort, I wish I knew just exactly what to say that was eloquent and would make sense, something that would convey just how much I love them and just how unbroken they are.

I want to sit with them in the darkness and hold them as they cry. As they feel every fiber in their being hurt, hold them so tight and convince them that their world isn't falling apart. I want to be angry with them, I want to grieve their shattered hopes and dreams, I want to remind them you are beautiful, you are stronger than you think you are, you are loved.

I want to remind them that it is safe to fall apart, I want to remind them that this burden, this need to keep your shit together is unfair. I want to say, do what you need to do.

Grieve.

Hurt.

Deny.

Get Angry.

Sob.

Scream.

Fall Apart.

it's okay, it's okay, it's okay.

Just don't forget to come back into the light, just don't forget that there are so many people behind you, next to you, ready to be there when you are. This, this is just a bump, a life lesson, a fork in the road that will take you to some place so special if you let it.

I want to say, this does not define you. Do not be embarrassed by this and do not let anyone else make you feel lesser for this. Your story is yours to keep, your truth is important only to you, tell it if you want to, scream it from the rooftops with details or bask in the privacy that this is your right to not have to say anything. This is your journey, and yours alone. It is up to you to tell the story, it is up to you to define it.

...this is such a hard sucky way of finding out who you are and what you are made of. This period, these hard, hurtful, devastating emotions are a special kind of hell-on-earth. It feels like you're the only one and you are so lost, so confused, so exhausted. So done. I want to say, I'm here. I want to say, I believe in you, but more than that I know with all my heart that there's a bigger picture. There is sunshine after the storm. That this is the yucky awful bridge that will take you to where you want to be. Where you're hoping to be. Where you're begging to be.

It can happen.

Really and truly.

But I can't say that. I can't say that because it's like a slap in the face. I can't say it because sometimes, the hard things, the promises, the "there is a silver lining, this happened for a reason, it's all going to be okay" might not be what they can or want to hear at the moment.

I remember that when everything was falling apart and people kept on telling me how "good" this was, I wanted to slap someone. I wanted to say are you fucking kidding me? I wanted to say take it back, I don't want the lesson, I can't see the lesson, I don't understand the bloody lesson. I can't hear you, I don't get it so please please don't tell me this happened for a reason because right now? Right now, I don't get it, right now, I'm just trying to get through the next minute, and maybe the next 5 after that. And then maybe I'll get through 15 mins, and eventually an hour. And someday, someday maybe I'll be able to go through a whole day without falling apart but for right now, right now, I am completely and totally overwhelmed and I have no words. So please please don't tell me that this losing my marriage, losing my identity, losing what feels like everything to me in this moment, is a good thing.

So I don't know what to say.

I don't know how to say, I believe in the happy without rubbing it in their face. I don't know how to say, I was there once, I was once at that dark dark place of confusion and sadness, I was once so incredibly broken and hurt and there were days that felt like forever, and there were days where it was so hard to keep the faith but that I am here. I am here and it is beautiful and I believe in you and I know you can do it. I can see, from the other side, all the good that can come out of this.

I don't know how to say that I'm sure that these decisions were not made lightly. I'm sure that this was in no one's fault. You don't have to explain, you don't have to hide. I know the person that you are, I know the incredible, loving, amazing, friend that you are. This was just where life took you and this was the road that you had to take for you. This was the healthy, this was the grown-up, this was the "right" wrong thing.

I get it, I get it so please please stop beating yourself up.

I believe in marriage. I still do. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe in trying and trying and trying again. I believe in fighting for a marriage, in respecting and honoring your vows. But I also believe in making the healthy choice. Making the right choice that is needed at that time. I believe that sometimes, people change, people grow apart, people become unhealthy for each other. I believe that sometimes, marriages just fall apart. Sometimes, something special can become toxic, sometimes hard choices are made to preserve, to protect. Sometimes, life just happens and sometimes, marriage isn't forever.

I'm not judging.

I love you, just for you. I love you in the ugly, in the yucky, in the sad. I love you in the happy, and the laughy, and the crazy delirious awesome.

I'm not choosing sides. I love the both of you. I love the both of you and I refuse to choose sides. I refuse to say who was right or who was wrong because I don't know what happened. This is not my judgement to make, this is not my decision to make, this is not for me to pit one side against each other.

I love you both.

And I'm so so sorry.

I'm sorry that two couples that I love so dearly and have so much respect for are having to go through this yucky ugly thing. And I know that you're trying, I know that you're probably sick of trying and sometimes it slips. Sometimes, we just make mistakes. Sometimes, it's just ugly. This is ugly. It's messy. It's sad.

Let's call it for what it is.

It's ugly.

But I also know that this is a new beginning. This is a beginning that in no way disregards the past. This is the beginning of healing, of discovering, of independence.

This is the beginning to the rest of the new you.

This beginning, no matter how hard and awful and terrible it began, is still a beginning.

In the end, you decide.

I love you, and I love you too much to let you hurt alone.

I'm here,

whenever you need me.

How? How do I say all that eloquently? Precise? Not in six thousand and seventy two overwhelming words?


after winter comes the summer.
after night comes the dawn.
and after every storm, there comes clear open skies.

-samuel rutherford.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mending.

I'm looking for closure, for words, for a place to put my feelings and thoughts...to be filed away, to be said out loud then secured into a safe place. I'm looking for healing, for mending, for a place to be grateful, to be honest, to say all the things I don't say out loud. The fears, the ugly moments, the moments where insecurity and being blindsided collide in a catastrophic spectacle of being hurt and struggling to find the ground beneath you.

So much happened this week, so much happened and it was a week packed to the brim with so so many intense highs and lows. A week of transitions and adjustments, a week of hard lessons and such happy proud moments, a week of loving, healing, hurting, hiding, coping....a week of breathing in and out then in again.

It is hard to define the challenge of being lost. The slow slow snail pace transition of adapting and redefining a new normal. I'm grieving, in some sense, for the things and people and the places I have left behind. I crave for this safe place. I crave for my independence and the security in knowing. In knowing just who I am here, in knowing my surroundings, in figuring out the people and the friendships and the intricate change of the new and the different and the adapting.

How do you describe what it's like to be in two different places at once, a part of me so excited to be home and another part desperately ready to be at a place I know.

Is it possible to be so happy but so sad at the same time? Is it possible to be home but so incredibly homesick for another home so far away? How do you really define this feeling? I've been trying and trying to find the perfect way to describe this transition but words fail me, I miss. I miss so very much and deeply and badly. I miss and miss and miss, in a sad melancholic lump-in-my-throat-bite-back-the-tears way. I miss my best friend, and my safe place, and my cupcake store, and our lunch dates, and my loving crazy awesome surrogate family. I miss friday nights with friends in stupid dingy hookah bars, and The Bachelor dates with the girls, and driving and stupid silly stinky Sylar and a little big girl that started 4th grade this week. I miss Target and Cache and TJMaxx and I miss going into a store unembarassed, unassuming, unknowing to even be worried to ask if they have my size. I miss being normal, and a regular, and a local. I miss knowing exactly who I am in a crowd, I miss being completely secure in the decisions and choices I have had to made, I miss just being.

This week has probably been the hardest.

This week stripped me and knocked me down just a little, this week, I took punches and bruises, this week, I fell apart just a little. Questioned, swallowed a mouth full of insecurity and let my confidence take a beating. This week, I let different people make me believe that I was less than I was.

This week, I let someone make me feel fat and ugly.

This week, I let someone make me feel dumb and stupid.

This week, I let someone make me feel like a failure.

This week, I got just vulnerable enough to let someone hurt me with insensitive words.

But the difference is, I know that this week, I let them.

I allowed them to make me feel that way.

I am better than this. I have worked hard hard hard to be better than this. I have worked enough to know that this is a journey, a transition of sorts, bumpy and rough at times. That this period, this moment of blinding vulnerability is part and parcel of defining a new normal. That most of all, this falling back is pivotal to moving forward.

But more than that,

This week, I will forgive myself for letting someone make me feel fat and ugly.

I will forgive myself for letting someone make me feel dumb and stupid.

I will forgive myself for letting someone make me feel like a failure.

I will forgive myself for being just vulnerable enough to let them hurt me with their insensitive words.

And in that, I will forgive them.

This week, I will choose to learn this precious lesson. This week I will take the shattered pieces of my pride and guard it fiercely. I will try harder at mending these broken relationships without letting it break me. I will learn to say no thank you, I will learn to stand up for myself, I will learn to speak up instead of run. I will learn not to beat myself up for the things I should or should not have done, the things I should or should not have said, the decisions I should or should not have made.

I will choose to just be. I will choose to kick ass. I will choose to laugh, and appreciate, and be grateful. I will choose to learn, I will choose to not be bitter, I will choose to be better than this.

But more than that, more than anything else,

I will choose to move forward.


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

~Leo Buscaglia

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Special.

bar italia w an extra finger.

I have tried, in the last three weeks, writing and rewriting my thoughts, summing it all up eloquently and giving words to this experience.

I have a nice little collection of drafts, of things I started to say, tried to say, didn't know how to say.

How do I talk of all the special and the wonderful and the assurance that this, this moving, was meant to be?

or of constantly adjusting to the culture shock can sometimes be so demoralizing. of the trials and the challenges, of all being sometimes so scared, so alone, so terrified of what's to come and having fleeting moments of insecurity bite me so hardly in the ass?

or how I miss and miss and miss somemore. How a part of my heart is so sad and longs so much and how long-distance sucks balls.

But yet, I also want to tell you about the beautiful. I want to document the beautiful. The amazing amazing little things that have happened, that has made my heart smile so big and my gratitude for all that is happening immense.

Of how when we were taking a break, out of breath, encouraging one another on our spectacular nature hike, how a little teenage boy, stopped, and asked so kindly, so genuinely, so honestly, if he could share his 100plus with us. A simple cup of offering, so thoughtful, instead of making fun, instead of pointing and laughing and nudging his friends and whispering like teenagers do, he asked if he could share his drink with us. And that, that meant the world to me. I wanted to ask him for his mother's number, to ring her up and say, what a fabulous and spectacular job you've done with your boy. What a gift to be reminded of what it means to compassionate, to share, to be kind.

And when we finally reached the top of the hill, seventeen hundred breaks and six buckets of sweat later, it felt so incredibly good to know we did it. We did it! And as we crossed a rope suspension bridge 1000ft(?) above the sea level, it was hard not to notice just how beautiful the moment was.

If you know me, you'll know that I am definitely not a let's-go-be-one-with-nature-and-run-in-the-woods-kind-of-girl. It's hot, it's humid, there are furry creatures and mosquitos and what the hell is this fresh air bit? Give me an elliptical, a tv, some headphones, a trainer and a clean, organized, no surprises methodical place and I'm good.

So this bit, this part where I actually enjoyed the fresh air, the slight breeze, the bits of thunder rumbling in the background and the splash of the waterfall as I look away into the city and down beneath me into miles of rainforest, I was in awe. I was in awe of the God that had orchestrated all this beauty, and I was in awe of the God that was orchestrating all the moments in my life.

I was with friends, an impromptu agreement to walk the canopy together after a night full of reconnecting. I've been trying to think of the words to describe what the night was like...I had worried it would be awkward, I had worried I would be exhausted fielding seventeen hundred different questions and that we would have changed, that I would have changed too much and that I would feel just so different. I should have known better, I should have known better than to let my insecurities mess with my mind, I should have known better and given my friends and myself so much more credit than I did. A 15 year friendship doesn't just happen because it's convenient, a 15 year friendship happens because you love each other just as is. Because my friends? My friends just loved and the love fest was evident in our laughs and smiles.

I am so so grateful for these relationships. I am so so grateful these relationships have survived and more than once last night, the thought crossed my mind on how meant to be this moment was. How right it felt to move home. How freaking blessed I am.

We have watched each other grow up, mature, fight through the awkward stages of puberty and adolescence. We have rebelled together, stood up for each other and bickered with one another, pushed and pulled throughout the years. We have learned to overcome challenges together and apart, we have learned when to guide and when to support, when to push and when to just be there. We have seen our way through death, through divorce, through job interviews and separately moving to different continents and learning to find ourselves, our purpose.

Our friendship may have it's bumps and bruises, our friendship may not be perfect, but our friendship is so incredibly special.

My first year in college away from everything that I knew and stuck in the booming metropolis of Pensacola, Fl...I longed for a familiar face. I longed to run into someone at Target that I went to primary school with, that just knew me more than the "international student", that knew me just for me. And slowly, as I adjusted and learned to call America my home, I made new friends that are now old friends but a part of me has always longed for these friends. These friends that know me, that have watched me grow up, that I can talk to even if it's been months since we last spoke. These friends that I can raise an eyebrow across the table and laugh uncontrollably in our secret joke, these friends that have so much history in the stories that I tell, that I can refer to a moment that needs no further elaboration. These friends, and how we've travelled and lived in all parts of the world and yet somehow, miraculously found our way home to live in Malaysia or are on our way here. We represent America, Australia, London, Switzerland, Scotland, Europe and it is just so crazy how we have made it back here in very unconventional and unplanned ways, ways that sometimes hurt and were sometimes expected and unexpected but in retrospect, were so right.

Our circle has expanded and is constantly expanding and contracting, revolving. We have included significant others and friends from uni and friends of friends and the faces have changed. We make new friends in our "other lives" and every once in a while, a neat opportunity happens for our paths to cross and it is really neat to see the "other side". Our priorities may have changed and our personalities may have matured, our accents a strange eclectic mix but the core of who we are remains the same. And for that, I am so, so grateful.

These are friends I will hopefully grow old with.

How special is it to be able to say that?



"The most beautiful discovery that true friends can make is that they can grow separately without growing apart."

-Unknown

Friday, July 30, 2010

Living.

Today, was better than yesterday and yesterday, was better than the day before.

Slowly, so very slowly, I'm beginning to get comfortable, a little less in shock, and slowly etching out my Malaysia.

I am learning to find my identity, the things I associate with. The person that I am, my wants, my dreams, my beliefs. I am learning to define who I am here, if my core values are still the same, if my purpose has changed, if my outlook on life is shifting and switching and finding just the right position in which I can stand on.

I rewatched the season finale of Grey's and cried like a bitch baby. And there is something so incredibly raw and painful that strikes me and strips me of all pretenses. It is in this stripped down honesty that I can see how far I've come and how easy it would be to just fall back into it all. I remember, that pain, that infinite hole of darkness and fear, that infinite hole of devastation and desperation. I remember, and it humbles me. I have come so far, but there is still much more to go.

I will choose to live my life fully. Completely. I will choose to love and be loved. I will choose to put good, strong, incredible people in my life. I will choose to help, to serve, to be compassionate and to give. I will choose to push myself just a little bit more, to challenge, to not settle. I will choose to do it all with integrity, with blinding honesty, with credibility.

I talked to the lawyers(and six hundred other people) today. Tying up loose ends and trying to shut down the remnants of my life in America. It is surreal and crazy but it is good at the same time. A year ago, I didn't think I had it in me to make the decisions I am making today. A year ago, I didn't think I'd ever heal, ever see the sun shine again. A year ago, I thought my whole life was over and the pain would never ever go away. A year ago, I was so completely and absolutely wrong.

And there are still so many lessons to be learned. Lessons that have been taught, lessons that are being taught, and lessons that will be taught.

Of self image. Of confidence. Of independence.

On-going.

Some days better than the others, some days in the pit and the muck of it all.

But they are happening, and for that, for that, I am grateful.

Grateful for the opportunity.

Grateful to have a choice.

Grateful to be humbled.

Tomorrow, tomorrow will be a great day.

And at the end...at the end I want to be able to say..

"See I’ve lived, I mean I’ve really really lived. I’ve failed, I’ve been devastated, I’ve been broken, I’ve gone to hell and back. And I’ve also known joy, and passion, and I’ve had a great love. See, death for me is not justice. It’s a end of a beautiful journey. And I’m not afraid to die. The question is, are you?"

who said TV is all bad?




Monday, July 26, 2010

Just the two of us: LA in transit.

Months ago when I booked my ticket to fly home, I asked the boy if he would like to fly out to LA with me. I cannot even begin to tell you how nice it was to have some special time together. Just us. Pretending to be tourists. Exploring a new city. Sharing a cupcake. Talking. Believing in our hopes and dreams. We lived a little bit in denial, enjoyed ourselves, cried, laughed together. And when I left, it felt so much like I'd left a part of me behind, like something was missing.

"Thank you for making my heart smile."

----

LA in pictures.

We checked in and of course after rushing and running around like madmen, we found out our flight was delayed. Then, the realtor called and said she was showing the house that night. The same house in which while rushing and running around like a madmen, I had thrown stuff everywhere, where unwanted clothes laid haphazardly, and all the extra things I couldn't take with me were stuffed into every possible crevice and spot. Yes, I'm sure the lovely couple that came to see the house were totally impressed with the crap that exploded all over and the dog that was going crazy.

:)

So we took a bunch of pictures at the airport.

checked in and delayed.

sgf-lax

We were starving and got in crazy late so we had the most delicious pizza from the hotel. The chef stayed late to make us that special pizza and it was amazing. Who knew cilantro on a pizza could taste this good?

The next day, while trying to decide between Santa Monica or Universal Studios, the concierge told us about this trolley that took us to the Manhattan Beach area for only $5!

trolley to the beach!

While waiting, we took the requisite picture with palm trees.
palm trees and traffic.

A requisite self portrait.

bus stop boredom.

...we also discovered that Joe is freakishly tall.

as tall as the sign!

We had skipped breakfast so we thought it was only appropriate that we started with desserts first.

of course we hunted down a bakery.

cookies and cupcakes and pastries and nomnomnom.

Maple BACON Cupcake!!

maple bacon cupcakes!

And we ended up with these choices.

our choices.

And of all odd reasons, we felt like some Mexican.

nacho salsa

nacho salsa

We stumbled upon an incredible farmer's market. With kebabs and chiropractors. Balloon makers and crepes. Handmade baskets and a shit ton of nannies/kids.

Also, the juiciest peaches and sweetest berries.

farmer's market berries.

It tickled my little eco-conscious lover that they had trash cans for recycling.

recycle trash bins!

We shopped and saw bougainvilleas, which reminded me so much of my childhood and home.

bougainvilleas


flippie-floppies pointless photo.

but more importantly, we found the beach!

manhattan beach.

manhattan beach pier.

manhattan beach.

wait for it...wait for it...


going home take 2

And for dinner, we went to Gladstones in Malibu.

gladstones.

We had a gorgeous view and spent dinner watching a beautiful sunset and making new friends.

freaking gorgeous!

sunset.

sunset dinner

i think i could live here.

For $39.99 a dish, the food was okay. Not incredible but okay. I was a little disappointed.

market seafood pasta.
crusted spice ahi tuna.

But more excitingly, they wrapped up our leftovers! This amused me for hours.

wrapping left overs.

penguin.

The man is a genius!

genius.

That night, we had a glass of wine at the bar. Joe pouted and showed off his unexpected sunburn. Apparently, the rays were a little more vicious than we thought.

boo.

The next day, early, sunblocked, and ready, we took a 7hr "Grand Tour of LA". We pretty much went to every available tourist trap. It was silly, exhausting, disappointing, fun, depressing, annoying, scary, and long. I think we mostly spent the day trying not to remember that I was leaving that night. We'd both been to LA on separate trips so there wasn't really anything new. I think we did it more to do it together and have something to do than anything. It definitely wasn't what we expected but we made the best of it.

tour bus

tour bus

tour bus

And that night, we had dinner at the hotel, did some last minute packing, took the shuttle to the airport, cried and prayed together and then said goodbye.

boarding sad face.
That, that kinda sucked.



-Unknown