Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blue, Blue, Blue, Blue Christmas

No matter how many times I type it out, it always seems like too many "blue-s." Anyway, happy holidays. It's already snowed here, there is a Christmas tree in my living room and David has convinced me to give him two of his Christmas presents already. But hey, the boy's persistent, and I DID make him watch every Christmas movie we own all in one weekend. He deserved it.

What happened to my steady strength? Gone with the warm weather, I suppose, and I am left feeling frail, easily moved: a push over where strong legs once stood. It doesn't take much for my eyes to fill slowly from the edges, forming huge gray, dripping puddles where my eyeliner and saline meet. Sentimentality that I would usually scoff at, grabs me, shakes me up. Stirred, I am a mixture of emotion and logic and caffeine.

Sleeping isn't settling me down. Six hours or 16, I "wake" feeling restless, annoyed. I look asleep, but my head is swimming in a dream. My mother is there. An old love is there. A wedding is taking place. There is a tug of war, a bath tub of freezing cold water and I am being plunged in, then out, again and again. Six hours or 16, I "wake" and dress for work silently, avoiding the bathroom altogether. My car is stubborn to start, but eventually it does and I ride to work with the news, a story of a whole diner in Pennsylvania where one customer's generosity of paying for a stranger's meal turned into a five-hour game of "pay it forward." I cry alone in the driver's seat.

And all day that vision, the image of that tree in my mother's house sits at the back of my throat. The vision of our Christmas tree choked with white-strands and mismatched lights. A pink where purple should be, a sea-green where blue should be. All of them where our normal, simple white lights should be. Silver Christmas balls crowded by small sparkling birds where our delicate and precisely placed ornaments should be. Bunches of fake flowers puff out from inside the tree, awkwardly protruding into the red living room where dead space should be. A violent screach of noise filling the room where soft Christmas songs should be.

It should be: My mother prodding the tree, saying gently to her helper who extends a handmade ornament, "No, I don't think so, it doesn't quite go with our theme this year." It should be: A radiant display of simplicity and class, "It could be straight out of Southern Living" says a guest. It should be: Bing Crosby singing "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas," my mother humming the tune softly to herself, her eyes squinting as she steps back from the tree, then twinkling in approval.

It is: A tangled mess of glittery ornaments, white wiring and gray tears. It is: A tangled mess of hysteria. "My mother holds all the beauty that my world has ever known. Without her, there is no more beauty left," my mother says, poking another cluster of salmon-colored flowers. Blue lights this year, because she's "in mourning," turned into a rainbow of color and light, tiny bulbs shooting small colored shapes onto the ceiling above.

I step out into a cold Virginia night in mid-December. Through the living room windows I see her there, standing before a twinkly, towering tree, both so much alive. And now I understand, now I see its beauty and I go back inside to her.

She is nodding to herself. "Gawdy," she whispers, and reaches for another string of Christmas lights.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm Sorry. I Can't. Don't Hate Me.

I'm horrible at keeping up with this thing. Despite my desire to write daily, I always feel that I'm coming up short with things to say. I'm always too worried it will seem contrived or pathetic. In summation: If I would just write as much as I think, I'd be golden.

change, verb, to make or become different. (A proposal to change the law.)

So, it's been a while. The days slide by and things change, but thankfully my Grandmother is still with us. Thanksgiving this year was definitely the most memorable of my life, as over fifty of my family members gathered at my Uncle's house for a full day of food, music and catching up. It was so calming to see my Grandmother swaying in a soft two step with one of her brothers, their cheeks red and wet with tears. This year I am overwhelming thankful for family, as dramatic and crazy as it may be. I'm thankful for the comfort of knowing I am never alone, no matter where I am.

Wedding planning is coming along smoothly as well. Save the Dates are in envelopes and ready to be sent out. Deposits have been paid. I couldn't thank my lovely lovely Emily enough for her tireless love and support. Bless her for humoring me in hour-long conversations on wedding photographers and color schemes. I'd be lost without her. But really, what else is a bestest friend for? HAH! And David has endured the same, only more often and in person. Bless him, too. <3

Secretly, I'm missing school just a little these days. As talks of my friends going to grad school come up, I think back to my jam-packed days of papers and deadlines and lectures. I miss being held to a standard--whether it was personal or based on a syllabus. I miss turning in work and getting it back with a grade on it, with feedback. I miss "you can do better, so do it" and "incredible writing, here." I miss As and Bs that reinforced the idea that hard work pays off, that it was all worth it.

I used to move at lightening speeds. My brain worked more sharply, spouting off answers and ideas. My fingers struck the keys more quickly, moving as if imaginary tigers chased after them. My feet were blurred in a constant state of motion, dashing up & down, here & there. Like lightening, I felt electric and just as important. These days, I'm a slow bug. Rather than nimble, I feel wide and lazy--a too-full glass of water. I feel so uninspired, so content to just sit and shake my head rather than jump and shout and pound my fists. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I don't see the sun most days.

My normal annoyances remain: Carrie Prejan, et al., my job, stomach chub, having to defrost frozen meat and never having the money to, well, DO anything.

My normal obsessions remain: David's face, my puppy, babies, weddings, $1 bills, books and guacamole.

Still want to move to a remote island and live of the "fatta tha land." Still want to eliminate hunger and homelessness and divorce and sadness and disappointment. It seems little has changed, yet everything always does. And no matter how hard you try to keep it all at bay: your hair is turning gray, new rumors are being spread about the President, someone doesn't love someone else anymore and you're long overdue for an oil change.