Trudging

I don’t have much to say here these days. Nobody wants to hear me sob over the death of my idol. I can’t listen to his album all the way through. One video clip does me in. It’s crazy but it’s real. Maybe it’s my age and the fact that annihilation, mortality is on my mind more often than its not. I spend too much time thinking about how death is not really a big deal for the dead but for those left behind. Things keep marching on without you but you aren’t here to worry about that. That’s for others. The living get stuck with all the grief.

So, I’m doing. I’m making a quilt – really a fabric art hanging (though “art” might be a stretch) made from all my old Bowie t-shirts. I’m getting close to finishing and I’ve decided it will hang from the problematic wall in my bedroom. The wall that is still red because I just haven’t gotten around to painting it to match the rest of the room yet. I’ve got photographs up there now but I’ve never been satisfied with the result. So, it’s been in a state of “what the fuck” for over a year now.

But with the quilt, my remembrance of an amazing one-of-a-kind life who meant so much to me, I will have completed the room. Still need to paint the wall but I’ve got a reason to get to it now. I’ll set up the photographs elsewhere and pin them up, clothesline style, on twine using clothespins I’ve decorated. I’m crafty these days.

Some of that is because of the idle months of winter. Two snow falls and too much rain. Way too cold. I can’t do a thing in the garden yet, so I make little shrinky dink things and draw on clothespins and sew a quilt in my most inept way. I take photographs and post them on instagram. It’s a thing to do.

February is almost over, thank goodness. It’s not a completely terrible month but it is the depth of winter. It is the midpoint between the holiday busyness and spring busyness where there is only the worse kind of everyday busyness that seems interminable. The snow kept us home just long enough. The tornado missed us. The rain did not. The yard is a bog that has not flushed out the voles or kept the stink bugs away. The days good enough to walk in have been few and far between. I’m trying to unfatten myself with exercise and less eating but I can’t say I’ve been 100% successful. It is what it is. That is February.

I’m hoping for a decent weekend where I can begin to construct a new vegetable bed out of three old ones. I really need to start digging. I need to do SOMETHING. Apart from all the something I’m already doing. It’s just not the something I want to be doing. I’ve ordered seeds and seed potatoes and fertilizers. I’ll buy my plants locally this year. We’ll see if it makes a difference.

Probably won’t. A happy plant is a happy plant no matter where it comes from. I hope I can grow happy plants this year that won’t be destroyed by rogue groundhogs and insects and sudden bad weather. Those things never say thank you like I do. Thank you for this amazing tomato. Thank you for these basil leaves. You smell amazing. You taste divine.

It’s almost time. It’s hard to wait. In a season of death, it’s hard to wait for life again.

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Tomorrow is Now

Grief is a strange thing. It’s hard to shake. You think you’re good. You’re over it. And then suddenly, there it is again, all fresh and shit. And the ridiculous thing is, it isn’t even about someone you know. It’s not your daughter, your son, your spouse, your parent, your sibling, your best friend. But it doesn’t matter. It’s someone who touched you. Who made your life better. Who MADE you. In the past couple years, I’ve lost a lot of friends I didn’t know in real life, who I never met. It doesn’t matter. They gave me something I didn’t have before.

People – celebrities/musicians – have been dropping like flies! What the hell is going on, 2016? You have a lot of explaining to do! You aren’t even two months old yet and you’ve been cleaning fucking house! And you are taking the best ones with you!

January 1st was the 10 year anniversary of a horrendous murder. Dusty’s friend – her whole family – killed in a gruesome way. I can’t even dwell on it. Cancer has taken many. Drugs have taken others. Suicide. Accidents. Crazy right wingers and their stupid guns. There’s just no end to it.

I’m trying, in my small way, to cut through all the bad and make a path to good. Like Moses except never mind the water. Water? Pfft! Nothing. Try money. Try time. Try lack of both. I’m throwing caution to the wind and saying yes to things. Yes. Life is short. So, yes, Dusty and I are going to England in 2018. Yes. We’re getting our passports. We’re saving and scrimping and to hell with the car repair bill and the “oops you didn’t used an approved lab” bill from the health insurance company. Screw you. We are saying yes. Because all that I love is slipping through my fingers. There is only the tomorrow you make. There’s no more “maybe one day” – that day is now. Whatever you want, do it.

I’m applying for side hustles. If I don’t get them, I don’t care. I’ve made the effort. I applied for a grant to finish my novel. If I don’t get it, I’m no better off than I was before I hit “send”. I’m throwing myself out in the dating pool and then reeling myself back in because life is too short to accept “good enough”. I’m making art and giving it away because sometimes the best thing to do in a given day is make others happy.

Life is fucking short. I don’t have time to ask why and how come. I just know that the only way to go is forward. If I leave the world fatter, it doesn’t matter. I worry about too much naval gazing but I only inhabit this particular body with this particular brain so all I can do is say “Sorry.” And move on. Move forward. If this stupid year has taught me anything, it’s that we can’t sit around allowing others to determine our future for us. We have to make it what we want. And I’m the first to say, “Well, that’s easy for you to say”, because I have responsibilities to others. And so I do what I need to do. But for me, the inside me, the soul inside the body that doesn’t match what I see in the mirror, for that part of me, I’m not satisfied with that reality. That answer.

So, I’m doing the things I need to do to make this season of death meaningful. I don’t believe in a higher power. We ARE that higher power. We pull from the universe the strength that’s in us and do what needs to be done. It might be a tiny thing or it might be a big thing but you know it’s there. You can feel it. That feeling when you’re awake at 2am – and if you’re menopausal like me you are awake at 2am thinking WHAT THE FUCK – and tired as shit over worrying about things you have no control over (ie, $680 car repair? Pfft – fuck it.; $683 health insurance “this is not a bill” statement – whatever!). That feeling. Fuck that feeling. Fuck that. I’m talking about: what do you want to do with your life? What? I hate the phrase “bucket list” but that’s what I mean. I can’t express it verbally. I suck at verbal expression. I mean, what do you NEED to do? With the time you have left? Yes, this is indeed my midlife crisis except I have a feeling I’m way past my midlife point. When Bowie was 34, did he think, “I’m halfway through! Shit!” I doubt it. But he was. And damn if he didn’t make the best exit possible. Who better to turn death into an art form than him? The master!

So, I’ve been doing. Doing a lot. None of it matters a whit beyond my tiny little bubble but I’ve let go of the fear of What If? Of What Next? I no longer care. I’m working on doing what needs to be done. Because in the end, what I want, what I need, is to raise two people who never have to wonder What If? And Why? And How Come? And Was I Loved? And Did She Care? Because Yes. Yes, you were. Yes, I did. If I drop dead tomorrow, that will be a certainty. And if they still wonder, I hope you’ll tell them. If I’m diagnosed with terminal cancer or drop dead of a heart attack, please let them know that they were all that mattered. And if they want to throw away my Bowie scrapbooks, I’m okay with that. It only ever meant anything to me. I have KonMari’d my life down to the barebones. I’ve kept only the most important bits of my life. It’s not a lot but if it went up in smoke tomorrow, who cares?

If you are lucky enough to live with/be married to the most important person in your life, tell them so. If not, tell them anyway. I will probably leave this world without such a person beyond my children and my immediate family but even that’s not such a terrible thing. I might have been a late bloomer (hey, it only took 49 years to figure this shit out!), but better late than never, right?

Maybe next time I’ll have something less depressing to write about. Or maybe this is as good as it gets. Go out and do something you really want to do. What the hell is stopping you? Ignore that thing. Do it.