Friday, August 22, 2008

simple things

today was a thinking day for me. i guess to some extent, every day is, but i really sorted stuff out tonight. i thought about everything: working, money, life, friends, family. this list could go on forever.

i realized that i appreciate simplicity. in everything.

i like a calm environment.
i like a clean room.
i like going to bed and not setting an alarm.
i like who i'm with more than what i'm doing.

all of this made me thinking... what is it that these things have in common? what do i like?

i like the simple things in life.
i like seeing a sunset. or a sunrise.
i like when there are no expectations and i'm able to be myself.
i like flip flops that cost five dollars.
i like jeans that aren't expensive or perfect but fit well.
i like vanilla ice cream more than the flavors.

anyways, my point is this: it doesn't take a lot to make a person happy. in fact, when you aren't trying, well, those are the best times.

i anaylzed the guys i have dated, and my conclusion is that the best time i've had with someone is when we're doing nothing at all. i don't need the fancy dinners. i don't need the vacations. the times when i really remember are when we're doing something so low-key and unplanned.

i've dated both types: one that thought an expensive dinner would win me over, and one that wanted to just get off of work and feed the ducks, or play tetris.

i prefer the latter.

money doesn't matter to me, and i'm so very glad i know that early in life. i'd rather the dates where you go feed the geese the backyard, go to costco and get free samples for the hell of it, go to a pet store and pet a puppy. those are the times i remember. those are the things that stick with me.

i'm so very grateful to know that everything else doesn't matter. it's about company. it's always been about company. i can't name every restaurant/bar i've been to but i can tell you every person i've had fun with. there's something to be said about that.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Goodbye Alison

On August 5th, a sorority sister of mine, and friend, passed away after a very long and hard battle with cancer.
She was 27.
The more I think about it, and the more I try to make sense of it, well, I can't. To me, it doesn't make sense.
The only conclusion I have is that she must have gone somewhere better, because her husband and family and her life was wonderful. It only makes sense that she left this world for something better.

I've been following Alison's blog and her husband Tom's blog for several years now. I was reading back, and back in 2006, a group of my sorority sisters and I sent her a care package of fun things like pajamas and coffee and candy and gift cards. It doesn't seem that long ago that we did that, and I guess that's because it wasn't.

I never knew Alison very well in school. I remember her, I remember living with her, and talking to her, but I never got to know her. After following her story, I've really felt close to her and kept her in my daily thoughts. It was heartbreaking to read, but I just kept hoping it would get better. There were ups and downs.

And then this week I was visiting Janna in Grand Rapids, and I got a text message that it was over. We sat in silence at dinner for a few minutes. There was nothing to say. Both of us were shocked--and it's weird--it's not like we never thought there may be an end in sight. I guess we just hoped there wasn't.

She was an amazing person. So creative. Such a big heart. Made such a difference in so many peoples lives. It's not fair.

I know it made me want to call everyone and tell them I love them. And stop sweating the small stuff. Stop being sad about money and ex boyfriends because I have my health, and my family, and really, it put everything in perspective.

Alison, you were and still are an inspiration to me.
The world will miss you, but I know you are at peace.

Read Tom and Alisons blog if you get the chance. It will change you.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Train Thinking


On a train to Grand Rapids

I’m on a train to Grand Rapids right now, on my way to stay with Janna and see her house and get together with Steph. I decided a few months back that I needed to visit some of my friends this summer while I have the time… So I am doing this and going to see Brandy and Brian and Addi in early Sept, and Allison (with Lindsey in town!) in October. So, all of that should be exciting.

So that’s what I’m doing, but that’s not why I am writing.

I know I haven’t written in awhile—I’m not real sure the reason. It’s kind of sad, but I think I only tend to write when I am sad. I’ve thought about that a lot – and whether or not it’s weird to have that tendency and I’ve kind of concluded that some of the best writing is done when some sort of strong emotion is involved. I think in a weird way, it causes inspiration, or therapy. Something, I don’t know. But words are so much stronger when people write them out of pain, for whatever reason. I guess that’s depressing, but it’s pretty true. And it rings true for me definitely. When I write and I’m 100% happy, it’s all like “life updates,” and sometimes I get to the end of the post and I think “Does anyone actually care about this?” I don’t know. Anyways.

Something about trains makes me sad. I don’t know if it’s because I am always listening to music and looking out of a window… And there’s something movie-like about it… Don’t you feel like a lot of emotional parts of movies involve traveling on trains? That’s always when they’re listening to that sad song, looking out the window almost as if they’re looking back on their life…

Maybe I’ve seen too many movies.
Or maybe I just spend too much time on trains.

Well, most of my train rides are 45 minutes to Naperville. This one’s 4 hours. That’s about five times the songs I’ll hear than my regular train trip and even those really get to me. So, I got to thinking and I got to crying. Not totally crying, but getting choked up, and I don’t cry a lot.

You know, I had just gone through a long period of healing and forgiveness with someone that I’ve known for a very long time. When we left off, I was really hurt. It took a lot of months and a lot of thinking for me to be able to totally “heal” and live my life again, and even more months and thinking for me to be able to forgive him. I’ve learned a pretty big lesson on forgiveness as of lately. I forgave an old friend of mine who really hurt me awhile back, and I felt pretty damn good about it. I was like “Wow, I am honestly able to say that I forgive her,” and I’m definitely the first to admit that I’m stubborn. But here’s what I learned: The reason I am stubborn is because I’m protecting myself, because sometimes forgiving people is setting yourself up for disaster.

This particular forgiveness incident made me vulnerable. It made me go from not talking to him, to wanting to see him again. It made me go from waking up every day without needing that phone call or that email, to looking for it, waiting for it, and hoping to close every one of my days by saying goodnight. And for awhile that was all good and well and I somehow tricked myself into thinking this could all work again.

It was the distance.
He never really hurt me, we were just far away.
It’s worth another shot.
I can’t just let this go.
He didn’t mean to.

This was after a certain email I got about a month ago from him telling me that he read all of my old letters and wanted to tell me that he missed me. Okay, fine. I’m a girl. I’ve missed him all along. I’m sensitive by nature. This was all I needed. He was back in my life like that.

And we started to talk more and more. Everyday again. And started to talk about the future, and the possibility of living close and starting over again. And that we were both sad about how things ended. And all of those other things people talk about when they have that “I miss you,” talk. It felt SO sincere. So real. That’s the best way I can explain it. I don’t consider myself to be a stupid or na├»ve person, but I believed every damn word. And maybe he meant every damn word. I don’t know. I’ll never know.

So a month went by, and he was coming to Chicago on business. Busy of course, all day long. So we figured we’d make plans to see each other at night after he was done with work, but early enough so he could get a good night’s sleep before the morning work madness. It was a Tuesday. Last week.

I felt like it was my first high school dance.

Here was someone that I’d spent weeks with, who had seen me in the mornings at my worst, and yet I felt like I was sixteen again getting ready. I found myself calling my friends asking what to wear so I looked like I didn’t try too hard, but still looked my best. My heart was beating a million miles a second. I was so, so, excited. I haven’t felt like that in a long time. Probably not since I picked him up at the airport for the first time last December. It’s a crazy thing that someone can make you feel sixteen again.

And he did.

A lot of my friends showed concern about me going to see him… and in hindsight, rightfully so. My answer was simply that I had to go, because, “I had to know.”

So I got ready. I did stupid girl things like wash my hair twice just so I would have that shampoo smell in my hair the whole time. Made sure each stand of my hair was perfect even though I knew it would probably get screwed up on the train anyways. Mostly though, I was coaching myself. To calm down and not to be so excited. Reminding myself that I had to stay strong that night even if I felt moments of weakness. I had to stand my ground. But all of that aside, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas.

So 8:00 rolls around, I’ve been waiting for two hours to hear from him after a business dinner… Two hours that felt like two years. Time is funny like that. And we’d been text messaging about how excited we were to see each other, acting like nothing had ever happened between us and we could just pick up where we left off. It was an easy thing to pretend because I wanted it to be true.

I could tell by his tone that things had changed. And I started to get that gut-wrenching feeling where I was fighting the reality. The reality that he didn’t really care all of that much whether or not he saw me. How did I know that?

Well, he told me that it wasn’t going to work out and I shouldn’t get on the train because he had early work meetings. Here’s the thing though, the catch…Anyone who has ever had feelings for someone knows how it goes.

You don’t care what you have to do that night.
You don’t care what you have to do in the morning.
You don’t care if you have to hitchhike to get there—you will see that person.
It’s worth it.
You will make it happen.

That wasn’t the case.

The worst part – he knows me so damn well. He knows I spent two hours getting ready (when I am pretty sure I haven’t spent more than 30 minutes since I was like 14). He knows that the minute he told me it wasn’t going to work that I was going to lose it. And it was too damn easy for him to tell me that, and for him to go to bed right after, and sleep through the night.

Well, I cried through the night. I cried, I called my Dad. And he told me, in not-as-harsh, very true words:

Amy, people who care about each other don’t do that. He’s not worth it.

And it was the hardest thing to hear. But the absolute truth. And what else are dad’s for but moments like that? I could tell it broke his heart to know that I had been treated like that. I can’t imagine how much you must hate that guy that hurts your little girl.. but all of that is beside the point. My dad is usually one to make it seem like everything is okay. And he gave it to me straight. So that is when I realized that I had to let this go.

And you know what? It was the easiest thing I’ve ever done, that night. I picked up the phone after talking to my dad, and I called him in a complete emotional, irrational state, which I have been taught since a young age not to do, but I decided this was an exception to every rule that I’d ever been taught. So I called him, and over tears told him that I didn’t think it was right what he did to me that night, and that I could never do that to someone in a million years. And honestly, I don’t remember what else I said, but I said a few more things about how horrible I felt.

And I hung up the phone. For the last time.

And honestly, for almost a week, I’ve been okay. I have actually been impressed with myself. Usually I take these things pretty rough. I’ve been doing fine though. I guess I realized that there are so many other guys who have been and are wiling to treat me right, why am I dealing with this? I was so incredibly mad. I felt so incredibly stupid. I’ve watched my friends and dumb girls do this a million times, but me? How could I have fallen for this? How could I have been so stupid?

And it took a good friend of mine to make me realize that I wasn’t the stupid one. That he was. But I sure felt like I was. Surprisingly though, I went to sleep okay that night. And the night after, and the night after. And I didn’t even want to call him or email him or talk to him.

I still don’t.

Today I did what every girl or guy needs to do in this situation, and that’s to admit to yourself once and for all that it’s over. To get rid of that picture frame in your room that you had up, not because you thought it was real, but because you weren’t willing to let go just yet. To delete his number. To get rid of the old pictures, and the old letters. To literally, erase him from your life.

Truth is, it wasn’t all that hard. That was this afternoon.

I don’t know why but it hit me on the train. It’s so weird, I’ve been totally okay and come to terms with all of this stuff for a week now and then it hit me like a damn rock today. I started getting choked up to music and stuff. It’s not so much that I want to be with him, in fact, I know I don’t. It’s that he was such a big part of my life since I was eighteen. Almost 9 years. It’s just weird to let someone go like that, regardless of the relationship.

And sure, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss the times we had. We had so much fun. When I write about it, it makes it sound all bad, when it was really quite the opposite. Just like I said earlier, for some reason, I talk so much less about the good stuff. I’ve never had so much fun with someone—and most of the time, doing nothing at all. That’s when it’s the best. When you don’t need plans and you still have the best time of your life. Joking around, whatever. We never stopped laughing.

But, those were just moments.
This is my life.
I have to pick up. I have to move on.

I know it’s for the best. And I know it had to be done... and I thought it would take everything I had to do it. But it didn’t. At all.

Remember how I said I was going to go see him because I had to know?

So maybe that’s why this all of this happened.

Because now, without any doubt…

I know.