As I sit here, writing this off the cuff, my dog, Sophie on the couch next to me lightly snoring, my husband in the kitchen preparing small snacks for our New Years evening alone, I think of my life…and how much I want it to change. This last year…well…it sucked.
I mean “capital s-u-c-k’ed.”
And, yet, I can’t help to think of the good things that came out of it. My friends and partners, Priya, James and Sarah (and all the authors who I had the incredible pleasure of working with) and I launched a most wonderful project – an anthology compiled of stories by some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure to know. It’s called “Give YourSelf Permission – Anthology: 44 Inspirational and Insightful True Stories of Risk-Taking, Life Changes, and Successful Outcomes” and it is an absolute dream come true for me. It took up a lot of my time, being the co-creator and editor of this most important project. It was truly incredible and the highlight of my 2016.
Then, as we were working on the book, my dad became ill. It was sort of off and on – in and out of the hospital, a rehab center, the ER, etc. He had multiple health problems, but nothing he couldn’t beat before. He finally succumbed on November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. My brother came home from Texas, and my sister and I were there with him. All our family had the opportunity to come and see him while he was still alert and able to recognize and communicate with them. We were with our father as he took his last breaths and passed into a realm we don’t fully understand but, I know from his assurance from his hospital bed that, wherever it was, it was “beautiful.”
The next month was filled with preparations for a funeral, again. tying up ends on finances…again. Cleaning out an empty house. Again. These last few days have been “down to the wire.” My husband, son and I skipped Christmas for ourselves this year. There was just no time. Nor any point. We had a few good days shopping for our respective families. We spent some time doing “holiday” stuff – watching movies, decorating the house and getting a tree. It was nice. We decided to do our Christmas tomorrow morning – New Years Day. Thursday, just two days ago, another tragedy.
We have been keeping my dads poodle, Molly, off and on all summer, fall and up until now. She was really a part of our family. She started out as my mom’s dog, really. Then, she was my dad’s loving companion for the last four and a half years. She was my dog, Sophie’s, best friend. She loved our cat, though the cat had no love for her. We were nearing the end of the month and had been doing double time in my dad’s house to have it done by today. We had just pulled away from the house as my son had her in his arms to put her on the leash. We were gone when she struggled free and ran straight out into the road. Molly was struck and killed by a car. We are devastated. Some images cannot be erased by anything but time. Yesterday, I threw myself into cleaning my dad’s house out, 8am to 7:30 pm. It was a welcome distraction, even if I did exhaust myself.
Noah and I finished today, ran some errands, came home to clean our own house and tonight…I want soft solitude. I made some food for us, he ran me a bath. Now, I’m here…with you.
I gotta tell ya, I’ve had enough.
I have had some pretty incredible things happen lately (of the good, not the bad), though. I find feathers a lot, usually in unusual places, it’s sort of “my thing.” I read somewhere that it is your angel or loved one who has passed letting you know they are there. The other day, Monday actually, Noah and I were loading some things from dad’s house into the car. We had just been out there in the road loading up. While I was alone in the house I asked my dad, “Ah, Pop…why’d you have to go and die? Are you ok? Are you better now? Do you forgive me?” (I have incredible guilt about not doing enough, being enough, etc. I’m working on it, but, there it is.) A few minutes later, we went back out and there were feathers everywhere. They started at the back of the car and formed an arc from the back to right under my passenger side door. All fresh. All fluffy. All sizes. There were so many that I thought Noah had actually hit a bird. We checked under the car and there was no bird. They all seemed to be from a grey dove/pigeon. It was all just a bit strange…
I really do believe it was some sort of message. But, then Molly was taken from us. I have wonderful and loving friends who have all offered such comforting words from, “She was meant to go back to your dad” to “Your dad needed her back” to “For some reason Tyler was meant to see this happen and you were not” and, I really do believe in these things, it’s just so hard to understand from my point of view of grieving and wondering and wanting answers. I’m truly starting to get a complex. Why are all of these things happening? It’s all something I’ll figure out someday or, if not, I’ll gain peace in the not needing to know.
That brings me to my “New Years Wish.” I usually don’t do resolutions but this year I think I’m going to start. I’m going to get selfish…in a good way. I’m going to learn the art of saying “no.” I might even say, “no, thank you” but, a “no” it will be. I’m tired, man. I’m tired of being all things, even if it’s in my head to believe I need to be “all things to everyone.” I can’t be. I just can’t. I can be “all my best for me,” though. I’m going to dedicate myself to that. I’m going to relinquish control and, if you know me at all, you know how friggin’ hard that’s going to be. But, I’m tired. It’s a must. I’m going to love myself unconditionally. Now, I already do that…mostly. But, I’m ramping it up. I’m going to love myself enough to schedule time in for myself, first. This means water, yoga, reading, writing and filling my body to the brim with good nutrition, lots of self-love rituals like painting my nails, buying myself flowers and taking jet baths at least twice a week, and a whole lot of quiet. I’m going to spend more quality time with my family and loved ones. This doesn’t mean I am open to being taken advantage of. quality time means quality fro me, as well. Shared time – not “me giving and you taking.” Equal partnerships.
I’m going to stop giving in. When I say “no” it’s “NO.” I don’t need to give you a reason. I will, from this moment exactly, right now, stop explaining myself to anyone. ANYone. Except myself. I’m holding myself responsible for myself. If I’m going to do something I even have a shadow of a doubt about, I better give myself a damn good reason, even if it’s “because I fucking want to.”
But, I’m going to live more responsibly. With everything from my health and relationships to my finances and consumerism. I want to be a minimalist. In all things. Maybe even my closet (though, let’s not get crazy right away).
I’m going to live my dreams and dream my life. I’m going to work more on what I want to and accomplish as much as I desire. I’m going to research, study and learn how to leave fear in my dust. I’m going to branch out and help my fellow human. But, I’m going to do it my way. All me. No filler. No fear that I might offend someone. I’ve always taken the “real” approach and I will continue to do so…with GUSTO. I will work hard not to offend, but not mind if I do. I can’t be all things to everybody, it’s just not possible.
I will write my stories and I will be truthful. I will share of myself openly so to help anyone else who needs it. I will live by my honor, but not by fluff. I will joke, and I will laugh and I will just be me; it can’t be any worse than the shit storm I’ve lived through these last 4 1/2 years. Everything I’ve been through and I still want to love?
The possibilities for 2017 are infinite.
Have a wonderful New Years Eve celebration. Be safe, love each other but, most of all, be fiercely in love with yourself.