Sunday, December 28, 2008

a year ago, revisited

i was looking at old pictures today. reading last years christmas cards while putting away this years. i found myself back in this month of 2007.

for a minute, i was sad.
literally, a minute. i'm glad it was that short.

i had a minute of "i had a boyfriend last year."
"new years was actually fun."
"i spent christmas looking forward to what was coming up."

and then i realized - i have got to snap out of this. and quick.

it's been controlling my life for far too long. a year, is too long. way too long. i'm not saying it impacts me every day, because it doesn't, but it's not "gone." and it needs to be. it's holding me back in some ways, not as much as it used to, but still.

and then, i remembered this night.

and i reread that. and i'm sitting on the same couch, in the same spot that i got that news this year. and i'm staring at the same wall that i stared at for 2 hours after i got the damn text message that let me know we weren't going to meet up afterall.

and all i can think right now is, What am I doing?

why am I letting this own me, even partially? i know better than that.

i reread that post and all of those feelings come back. and i'm amazed and disappointed at myself for even still having contact with anyone who could ever do that to me. i couldn't do that to my worst enemy. in fact, i know in the reverse situation i would go no matter my relationship, like/dislike for the person, or how tired i was or how many meetings i had in the morning. i would go because, if for no other reason, i said that i would.

and so, i don't deserve this.

i may have gotten over that night, but it still happened. and i can tell you one thing that i know - i don't need someone like that in my life. be it someone who i have known nine years or not, that's not something that someone who cares about you does to you, and i don't need it...

and i need to stop making excuses.
and justifying things.
making good of the bad.
being one of those girls i've watched for so many years from the sidelines.

and realize one thing: that i deserve more.

i'm grateful for the new year, and washing my hands of (some of) 2008.

Friday, December 26, 2008

oh christmas...

i just got back into chicago a few hours ago. my dad drove me back, thank you dad!

what a wonderful christmas it was.

i got home the night before christmas eve to help my mom with all of her great preparations. my parents have this way of making christmas so special.

i walked into the house and it's adorned with lights, trees, decorations, and spirit. it's something i didn't appreciate when i was younger (though it happened then) but now i walk in the doors to that house and the welcome is overwhelming. i'm so grateful to have my family.

we had christmas eve festivities at my parents house and everyone was there, and my dad put on his santa suit for the little kids, and it was just all so... perfect. we were up until 2 am talking and appreciating what we are so lucky to have every year, a great family. great dinner. a tree that is overwhelmed with presents, though unnecessary. christmas carols playing in the background, a real pine tree... all of these wonderful things i have taken for granted all of my life.

i found myself looking around just reminding myself how very lucky i am to have any of this, let alone all of this.

we went to mass this morning... and the priest was beginning to give his homily. and he spoke of the bible verse "be not afraid." and how we should all free ourselves of our fears and anxieties... and he asked a nice family at church if he could use their child for a second. he held the baby in his arms and said "now how could you be afraid when you know a God like ours brought us into the world like this baby? look into this baby's eyes and tell me you're afraid of any God that could do this." and the crowd was quiet.

and then, something strange happened. he had to break his homily for a second because someone in the church was having heart problems. he stopped, went over to see if they were okay and told them it was obviously okay to leave. and so he kept speaking about freeing our fears and afterward let us know that the guy was okay, and going to his home. and that perhaps there were angels amongst us on Christmas day watching over him.

i had a hard time with it at first. i thought - why on earth would anyone have a heart attack at Christmas mass? during a homily about the validity of fears and whatnot.... but you know, there's always a reason.

tonight on our drive back i asked my dad what he thought all of that meant. and he said, "amy, i think it happens so that we realize how very lucky we are. and the man is okay." and it took me a minute, but i agreed.

lesson learned - i'm so grateful for my health, my family, a place i can always call home, but most of all, happiness.

i'm grateful for all of my gifts as well, but the latter is less important.

merry christmas, everyone.

thank you for being in my life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a christmas carol

i slept too much earlier today, so i'm finding myself pretty awake at 2:30 am. things on the mind, so i decided it was a good time to do some writing.

it's cold here. really cold. winter in chicago has returned. i believe my cab driver this morning told me that it was -14 degrees with windchill. i seem to forget about this every year until it happens. it's funny how you get sort of immune to it though. i was dreading my walk to the bus stop on my way home, and honestly, it wasn't all that bad. i imagine if i lived in some warm climate for some substantial amount of time, those ten minutes waiting would have seemed like hours.

i took my parents to see A Christmas Carol this year at the Goodman Theatre. they've taken me every year since i was young, and i decided that this year it was my turn to treat them. i surprised them with tickets and sent them in the mail with a note saying something along the lines of, "thanks for always teaching me and showing me what's important in life," something that is not only true, but a main theme of the play.

we had dinner and headed to the show. it was great as always. i can't explain the feeling i leave with after seeing that play. maybe because it's so well done. maybe because it's a family tradition for us. definitely because of the lessons the story provides. in any case, i leave every year with a little more joy. it's like - i never forget what's important in life for the most part - but it's nice to be reminded, as it's easy to get distracted. for me, this play does just that. i noticed this year that when we left people were actually smiling at each other in the elevators, holding doors. maybe it's just a coincidence - maybe it happens to me every day, but i noticed it more, and i guess that's what i mean. the story has a way of making the heart just that much kinder.

this year, for my christmas cards, i decided to quote Dickens and the play. the quote i chose is from scrooge's nephew Fred, one whose character always has a large amount of Christmas spirit.

"But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that, as a good time: a pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

it's a perfect statement to me, and exactly the way i feel about this season. i like to think that everyone feels a little more lighthearted, even if it may not be true.

all in all, a good night to spend with my family and it felt so good to treat them for once. i realize now, as always, how very much i have to be grateful for. whether that means having a strong family, a warm place to call home, food on the table, or whatever else. i have a good life, and a lot to be thankful for. and that reinforcement, amongst good staging and acting, is why i love this play so very much.

Christmas is now in the air for me.

Monday, December 08, 2008

an exercise

i read an article today that i've had forever, but never actually read. it was from a psychology class that i took when i first started graduate school as an elective. there was a section on making goals, setting goals, and self-revelations. anyways, i was going through old books and stuff and i came back across it. the exercise is all about listing things about you. about your life. things people may not know, and things you may not even know until you find that you start thinking about it, and before you know it, you write them down. the article recommends fifty things. i've been in a little bit of a rut for the past week or so, unexplained rut. i can't seem to get to the bottom of it. i mean, life is good and all, but i guess i get like this from time to time... down on myself, trying to figure it out, whatever. so, i figured, what the hell. i'll give it a shot.

my "things"

1. i still miss my dog every day. he died five years ago. when i go to my parents house, i sometimes still think he'll be at the door.
2. i love the way my parents house smells. i don't know how to describe it, but it always smells like home. sometimes that means smelling like christmas, sometimes it means smelling like my mom's favorite plug in wall scent or whatever, but it always smells like home.
3. i still think about people from my past a lot. people that i wish i could have back in my life, but i know that it's not feasible. regardless, the traits i adored about them inspire me, and i appreciate the memories that are left behind with me and will always be around.
4. i sleep with my windows open during the winter sometimes. there's something about having a freezing apartment and a warm blanket to cuddle up under. sometimes i just love my blanket more than i love the heat being on.
5. i know i shouldn't think about things like this - but i do. i've thought about what i am going to do when my parents die a few times in my life, and it always leaves me in tears. and both of them are 100% healthy, but i can't imagine not having them around, no matter how old i am. i'm scared of that more than anything in the entire world. i never want that day to come.
6. i like places that have jukeboxes. i think it adds character.
7. i want to be an author, but i'm scared that i'll never have a story.
8. as content as i am being single, i sometimes worry that i'll never get married. it's just something i want in my life. not right now, but eventually, and i guess the thought of it not happening scares me a bit.
9. i sleep hugging a pillow, every single night.
10. i feel uncomfortable in expensive places. restaurants, stores, etc. i feel out of place.
11. i want to travel for like a year straight. just see the world, and then get back to life.
12. i already miss being twenty-two. it just seems like things were so much easier then, even though not much has changed.
13. i want to live somewhere besides chicago for awhile, because i know i will end up here. i want to do it, but i don't know if i have the guts to leave all of the people here. i'd miss my family and friends so much... i wish i was the type that could pack up and leave sometimes, but i don't know if i am at all.
14. i love christmas, and not the present part. i love the feeling. i love the way everyone just seems a little happier, and a little more merry. i hate the commercial side of it, though.
15. i complain about the winter and the cold, but i think i'm grateful for it because it makes me appreciate the rest of the year.
16. i've given up a lot of things i used to love and i don't know why. taking pictures for example, making crafts, writing way more often, reading way more often. part of it can be attributed to being really busy, but i'm not sure that's all of it.
17. i haven't driven since may, and the only thing i miss about it is listening to a good cd while driving in the rain.
18. there are several things about myself that i'd like to change.
19. i think it is weird that i can sleep through an alarm clock for an hour. a loud alarm clock. haha.
20. i really enjoy long train rides. with good music and earphones and just looking out the window. probably some of my favorite moments.
21. i feel like i'm the only female in the world who actually does not like shopping at all.
22. i don't think about my birth parents a lot, in fact, almost never. but i do wonder if they ever think about me.
23. i cry on my birthday every year. i have no idea why. usually it is about something completely unnecessary. but, every year.
24. sometimes i drive myself crazy thinking too hard.
25. i wish it was normal to wear pajamas to work :)
26. i'm a pretty independent person for the most part, but sometimes, i get pretty lonely.
27. i adore chicago. i feel like sometimes, it's my company, or my peace of mind. knowing that in the midst of whatever life throws me, there's a city full of opportunities right out my front door brings me comfort.
28. i wish i had more time to go to church. and i wish i went more often.
29. i wish that my brother would give me a chance to be a good sister.
30. in the past year or so, i've gotten comfortable going to a restaurant completely alone. and now, i actually enjoy it. it's relaxing.
31. i'm horrible with any sort of change. takes me forever to get over it.
32. in the same sense, i like routine. i need a calendar at all times. i do the same thing from start to finish in the morning every single day. i always have a to do list. crossing off an item brings this weird sense of accomplishment to me, even if it's something a simple as "laundry" or "buy stamps."
33. i love coming home when i know there are clean sheets on my bed.
34. i love reading back on this blog. it's kind of like watching a movie of my life.
35. i love a good storm, combined with a good cd, or a good book. windows open.
36. i have absolutely no idea where i'll be in a year from now. i guess that's the same as most people, but i mean, i don't even have the slightest idea.
37. i'm excited to graduate in may, i think it's a big accomplishment. at the same time, i really think i will miss it. i love learning.
38. the older i get, the more i see my mom and dad in me. it's crazy. i never believed people when they used to say that would happen. i also never thought i'd like crate and barrel and cleaning supplies. haha.
39. i wish i was more knowledgeable about the world.
40. i have a lot of things that i would like to get rid of because i don't use them, but i can't because they remind me of a time period in my life that for some reason i'm attached to.
41. i wish i was one of those people that could just lay down and fall asleep. without thinking about dumb things for two hours. haha.
42. i can't wait to have a house and decorate it. i'm so excited to have more than an apartment someday.
43. there's nothing better than a big hug.
44. i can't fall asleep without the TV on.
45. i love the mornings when i wake up early. the mornings when you have time for a little extra "me" time. whether that means a cup of coffee, or doing the dishes so you don't have to do them when you get home.
46. i never understood how bad a heartbreak is until this year. it's the worst feeling in the world.
47. i wish i did more to better the world. i think about it, but i'm only semi-proactive. i wish i did more.
48. i actually enjoy talking to strangers. even if its a 2 sentence exchange. i just like it.
49. i'm a total hypochondriac.
50. i'm grateful for everything in my life, and everyone in my life. and i need to remember that more often than i sometimes do.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

you didn't come

the only good dialogue from The Lakehouse

Kate: You weren’t there, you didn’t come.

Alex: I don’t understand. Something must’ve happened. I’m sorry. I’ve got two years and we can try again.

Kate: no, Alex. It’s too late. It already happened. It didn’t work.

Alex: Don’t give up on me, Kate. What about “Persuasion”? You told me they wait, they meet again. They have another chance.

Kate: Life is not a book, Alex. And it can be over in a second. I was having lunch with my mother at Daley Plaza. And a man was killed right in front of me. He died in my arms. And I thought it can’t end just like that on Valentines Day. And I thought about all the people who love him, waiting at home, who will never see him again. Then I thought what if there is no life? What if you live your whole life and no one is waiting. So I drove to the lake house looking for any kinds of answer. And I found you. And I let my self get lost, lost in this beautiful fantasy when time just stood still. But it’s not real Alex. I have to learn to live the life that I’ve got. Please don’t write any more. Don’t try to find me. Let me let you go.