We stir. We wake. We fret. We play. We write. We mourn the things we didn’t do. We envy the things we do not have. We fear the things we cannot see coming. We dry up. We grow up. We move out. We move on. We win. We lose. We laugh. We cry. We give up. We give back. We fight back. We take another step. We eat too much. We walk the extra mile. We make up. We cover up. We open up. We bleed out. We shut down. We open up. We let in. We take another step. We sing. We cherish the breath next to ours. We grieve the empty side of the bed. We take another step. We drink. We medicate. We reach out. We hide out. We make ourselves heard. We listen for clues. We witness. We take someone’s hand. We hold tight. We let go. We take another step. We bear each other’s burdens. We let each other down. We lift each other up. We make mistakes. We make amends. We lose sleep. We waste time. We take turns. We destroy. We create. We win. We lose. We live. We die. We take another step.
My hubby and I managed to get through two years without catching Covid-19. Until now. He’s fine, but somewhere in the last couple of days, my luck ran out. Let me just interject here, I’m fine. Feels like a cold, a low grade fever. Thank Goodness, nothing serious. Obviously, I’m quarantined for the next week or so, so I’m pretty much living in the bedroom. It’s day one, and I’m already bored silly. There’s a big difference between having a well-deserved break for vacation or winter break, and being forced to stay home. No. Being forced to stay in one room of your home. It’s a little startling how emotionally icky it feels. Your head knows the fact that people aren’t going to be comfortable around you for a while is nothing personal, but your heart. Totally taking it personally. And me being me, well…do I really need to explain? What if I’m sick for weeks? What if I never get better? What if no one ever feels comfortable around me again? What if I ruin a cast mate’s trip to Disney World? What if everyone is mad at me for getting COVID? Maybe COVID is all my fault! Hey, you don’t have to tell me this is nonsense. I’m not stupid. I’m just a little nuts. And now I’m crazy and contagious. It’s all I can do not to apologize to anyone I’ve ever met for…something. I don’t know! Just hang on a minute, something will come to me! Ok. Deep Breath. It’s all fine. Breathe in. Breathe out. Just not in the direction of anyone else.
Life is full of slings and arrows. Today, I found out, quite by accident, that my colleague at work, who was also let go at the start of the pandemic, was hired back in August. Six months. And I had no idea. Let me start by saying, she had been there far longer than me, and had seniority, and I always knew that if and when they hired us back, she would be the first. And let me also add, if I never go back to an office setting, yippee skippy! And my head understands all that, but if I told you my feelings weren’t hurt, I’d be lying. And I’m not sure why. Is it because I’ve spoken with her and my ex-boss, both of whom are good friends, in those six months, and no one said a thing? Is it a personal sling? Is it a “this was a great excuse to let you go” arrow? Or is it simply because it’s become obvious that she wasn’t just the first, she was the only. That there is just no room there for me anymore. And after 10 years no one thought a simple “we’re so sorry, but the business can’t support two of you”, might have been nice. All the secrecy, whether intentional or not, feels a little…crappy. So. I’ve wallowed a little, vented a bit, and shed a few tears, and now it’s time to move on. It feels like I’ve been moving on for two years now and I’m still in the same place. I’m a firm believer in fate and the universe and being in the place your supposed to be, but sometimes that place sucks. I’m 64. I should be thinking about retirement and travel, and freedom. But nope. I’m pondering failure, and struggle and fear. And I wallow, and vent, and cry a little. And I pray. And I thank the universe for all that I do have. And I tell myself that my circumstances don’t dictate my worth. And once in a while, I believe it. There is a reason I am here. There is a purpose I have yet to uncover. And maybe that’s what this time I’ve been blessed with is for, even with the struggle and the fear. My journey continues. It might be like climbing a mountain in high heels, so I guess I’ll kick my shoes off, straighten the lampshade on my head, and keep climbing.
When I was taking jewelry classes, we learned different techniques for marriage of metals. This involved learning how to combine different metals into one smooth, much more interesting piece. Twisted Wire. Mokume Gane. Soldering contrasting metals together and manipulating them to form something new. Truth be told, I suck at it. In a perfect world, the metals above should match perfectly, leaving no gaps, so the finished piece is seamless. Uh huh. Uh huh. Nothing I do is seamless. Nuh. Thing. But I loved this piece so much. It was quirky and interesting and the contrast of colors pleased me. Of course when I tried to cut it up and rearrange it, it fell apart. Sometimes perfection is overrated, but other times? Those are the times you take a little more time. Measure more carefully. Life isn’t linear. Some days it all lines up perfectly and some days? It falls apart. As I start another trip around the sun, I reflect on the love and sweet wishes that came from all over. I am very aware of how blessed I am. Friends and family that truly love me. Opportunities to give back that spur me on. A creative spirit to feed my soul. Roof/Head. Health/Good. Hubby/Adorable. So much f*%#ing good fortune. So why am I up at 3:00 in the morning? Well, let’s face it. I’m up at 3 in the morning a lot. And if I have to move my car at 7, oh yeah, Imma be up and staring at the clock. Life is a glorious shitstorm. This week was unimaginable for two people I care about. Two friends who lost someone so dear to them, so loved, too young. And grieving these losses along with our dear friends puts the minutiae which eats away at us into stark perspective. I’m worried Imma make an ass of myself in a solo in our synagogue musical? So what. I can’t figure out how to create Louvre-worthy valentines with the two precious girls I help out with? Who cares? I’m gaining back some of the weight I worked so hard to lose? Big Deal. I’m too this. I’m too that. I’m exhausted. Stressed. Drained. I can’t sleep. I can’t stop eating. I’m falling apart. But, see that’s the thing. This didn’t ultimately become a smooth perfect sheet of contrasting metals. But bits and pieces of it went into other pieces. Falling apart is ok, because, somehow, we get put back together again. Not always in the way we wanted, or hoped for, and rarely as smooth or perfect as we envisioned but together none the less. So when I have to get up in two hours, on this, the first morning of my next trip around the sun, I am gonna look and feel like two miles of hastily put together scrap metal, for sure. But somehow, I’ll be whole.
I’m turning 64 in two weeks. 64. How the f*%# is that possible? Wasn’t I 18, like, five minutes ago? I will admit that this upcoming birthday is particularly fraught, but you’ve been on the receiving end of all that before so Imma spare you. This time. I think I’m going to share a little of what I’ve learned instead. So, for those of you who are fans of my particular brand of passive-aggressive hilarity, go ahead and skip ahead. Or don’t. I’m not your mother, I can’t tell you what to do.
- Jelly Beans have no beans in them.
- There’s no such thing as full coverage makeup.
- Every person on this earth matters.
- You are not your job. Or lack of.
- When fear or sadness sticks in your throat, sing.
- When you feel like crying, laugh
- When you feel like you have nothing to give, look deeper.
- Create. Throw it out. Start again
- Don’t do anything just to impress others. If you don’t believe it, or love it, don’t do it.
- Life sucks sometimes. And sometimes those sometimes feel like forever. They aren’t.
- Boundaries rule.
- Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey.
- No matter how much you want to, you can’t be someone else.
- If it isn’t yours, don’t take it.
- Bonanza totally dropped the ball on the death of Hoss Cartwright.
- You will never have enough until you believe you have enough.
- If you look back with regret, and forward with fear, you’re peeing on today.
- Fake it ‘till you make it.
Words. Just words. One step forward. Two steps back. Working. Not working. Creating. Not creating. Down a pound. Up three. Richer. Poorer. Winning. Losing. Laughing. Crying. Singing. Loving. Yearning. Learning. Envy. Joy. Loss. Friendship. Family. Worthiness. Strength. Courage. Young. Old. Just words. All of the words that make up 64 years. All snuggled up in your brain, vying for attention. So one more thing,
- Stop living in your head and get out of your own way. Live every word that comes your way.
I know, in theory, that rehashing the same nonsense over and over again is pretty much the definition of insanity, but I’m fresh out of wisdom. I’ve outgrown my growth. I’m feeling deflated and a bit defeated. I’m defleated. I can’t find a job. I was turned down again for the group that overrides all of the big art shows, so I’m questioning my creativity, and even on stage, usually my happy place, I’m struggling a bit with my confidence. Right now, I’m sitting on my ass scrolling Facebook and playing Bingo, and the most I’ve accomplished is cleaning my kitchen floor. And let’s be honest, it’s not all that clean. If I close my eyes and play pin the tail on the blog post, I guarantee I will be talking about the same f*^%ing thing. It’s like a line of ants, following each other mindlessly until they reach that breadcrumb or anthill or death. The only way to stop it is to break that line. Hmmmm. Nope. I’m stumped. I have no idea. No idea how to break the line, no idea what to do, I don’t even know what the next sentence is. I’m stuck. Paralyzed. Paraluck. Paraluck and defleated. There ya go. Imma just sit here and combine words together to make other stupid words. That should get me at least through the next five minutes of my life. Hey. It’s a start…
I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago. Like most, they lasted a week or two until they disappeared into the abyss, going the way of lost dreams, odd socks, and Tupperware lids. This year feels different. I have done much I’m proud of in the last year, but…but. Why must there always be a but? I’m leaving 2021 with a feeling of unease. I’ve been unemployed for almost two years. That’s it. Nah. Not it. (I just have to interject a little sidebar: the first time I typed this, “unemployed” turned into “unplowed”. And that’s all Imma say about that.) I digress. Being at home, I have watched more Christmas movies then ever before, and I can honestly say, I’ve seen every version of Christmas Carol ever made. There’s an unspoken rule about the holiday season that every movie, tv special, social media post and commercial show family, both biological and chosen, as perfect. Holiday dinners, family vacations, smiling. Laughing. Embracing. Finding ways to be together even when far flung and far apart. Huh. My family doesn’t look like that. We are far apart. We don’t get to spend many holidays together anymore. We don’t call each other every day. We’re prickly. And a bit cranky. We walk on eggshells sometimes. We aren’t always comfortable telling each other everything. But. There’s that but again. I love them more than anything. I would do anything for them. Anything. And I know that love is returned. And I think my unease might just be the fear speaking. Fear that they don’t know how much they mean to me. How lost I would be without them. Fear that I’m not doing enough. Showing up enough. Being there enough. So. My New’s Years resolution. Let’s be serious. I’m still not gonna call them every day. And cranky? Please. I was born whining. So, my resolution is two-sided. On one hand, I want my loved ones to know I will be here for them, always. And I will accept that we are as much of a TV family as anyone else. We’re just a little more Munsters than Walton. Happy 2022 to all.
This was the first draft of a commission for a friends mom. Her first reaction was “oh, so pretty…”. This moved rather quickly to “…so, I’m wondering if we can do less stones and less symmetry, this is reading a little superhero to me…”. I laughed so hard, cause she’s sorta right. There is a definite “Bracelets of Submission” feel to it that doesn’t work for everybody. So, I went back to the drawing board, and I found the purposeful asymmetry very soothing. I’m just throwing stuff around and seeing what creates a spark. The past 20 months has been horrific, yes. But the asymmetry of a completely different way of life was healing and calming and kinda zen. And as things go back to “normal”, whatever the hell that means, I’m finding myself a little ambivalent. I had four interviews for a perfect job. A company I believe in. Good money. Great people. Easy commute. Perfect. But all through the process there was a part of me that didn’t want this perfect job. I like being at home. I like having the freedom to go and do. Or not do. So, when I found out that I didn’t get the job, not because they hired someone else, but because they decided not to fill the position, my first feeling was relief. Followed by tears. And then, I stepped in dog shit. And now I’m wondering how much of an effect my secret ambivalence had on the outcome of this journey. Would the job have been mine if I really, really wanted it? Do I have that much power over my own life? Or is it merely that now that I didn’t get it, I realize, maybe, how much I wanted it, and that ambivalence is just fear in disguise? And what about the dog shit?!??!? So, now I’m back at square one. And I’m a little teary, a little relieved, a little scared, a bit ambivalent. And I truly have no idea what comes next. Well, other than cleaning dog poop offa my shoe. But in the asymmetry of an uncertain future, at least for me, there is symmetry.
I’m making balls. Little, tiny, one false move and they’ll fly off into a million directions, never to be found until they embed themselves into the bottom of your foot, balls. This process is, well, boring. First, you have to wrap wire and cut it into rings. That is boring. Then you have to fire them until they turn into little balls. Boring. Then you have to pick them up, one by one, with a tweezer, place them in a tea strainer and into a cleansing solution to remove the fire scale. Really, boring, so at this point I’m prolly shopping online or playing Bingo. You’re undoubtedly bored just reading about it. And I’ll repeat this process until I have enough balls for whatever I’m doing, cause you always need more balls. This is not the first post that has focused on these balls. For some reason, these balls and the tedious process involved in making them always gets stuck in my head. It is possible I just like saying “balls”. I do. I admit it. But the real thing that always resonates with me is that, for me, this particular task is necessary to move forward. Without balls, I couldn’t do this…
For me, right now, it’s ball-making. Maybe it’s studying. Maybe it’s taking a really dull course online so I can get a better job, or exercising so I’m a spry 100 year old in the future. There’s always a million little things we have to do to move ourselves forward. And a lot of them are less than fun. But when I see something that I’ve done. That I’ve actually finished? That’s a little thrilling. And it takes balls. And balls I’ve got.
I am overwhelmed. I am trying so hard to fill my time, to grow and learn and expand, to fill the space that is mine to fill. I’ve gone back to school, I’m facilitating a group on Mussar at my synagogue, something I am still wholly unqualified to do, I’m expanding the online presence of my jewelry business in time for the holidays, and I’m preparing to teach a jewelry class in November. Throw in my ongoing search for a job and I’m feeling like all the plates I’m spinning are not gonna stay aloft much longer. Looking for a job is stressful for anyone, but for one as thin-skinned as me, it becomes an exercise in low self-esteem and unworthiness. And admittedly, I’ve gotten a little picky about what I’m looking for. I like being at home. Truth be told, I Love. It. I still apply to every job I can, but I’ve been thinking long and hard about what the next phase of my life will look like. Find the job of my dreams? Go part time? Retire? Work at Target? I got a little spoiled getting unemployment all this time, but that gravy train has expired and I can’t reapply because, strangely enough, 18 months of unemployment benefits do NOT count as a salary. Huh. Go figure. So I’m juggling all sorts of wonderful things, but I’m not completely sure I’m handling any of them well enough and I’m surrounded by plate crumbs. I’m sure I’m not alone in my state of dervish-like anxiety, but I like to think I’m singular in that if I’m feeling something, Imma take you all down with me. So this morning, I decided to, just for today, stop talking for a minute and just do. Stop Raging. Whining. Muttering. Complaining. Spewing. Ranting. Blaming. Stop singing the praises of things I believe in but don’t actually do. And while I’m doing, I’m gonna smile. So this morning, I started my practice with my mantra, my reminder phrase. “No more than my place, no less than my space.” Repeat. Repeat. Smile. Repeat. Journal. Focus. Smile. Repeat. And in between it all, I work on my first numbingly tedious assignment for school and exercise and learn and grow and create and yes, sit in Starbucks for the first time in almost two years, and I’m smiling, and I’m sorry, what? Why am I still talking? Just filling a little space.