Thursday, January 20, 2011

Let's Be Adventurous!

We started off the new year with a short and sweet visit up north, to Vermont, to ski, drink and meet new friends. Yes, we traveled 9 hours to meet new friends. (If this gives you any idea of our current situation, please pity us.) But, thankfully, what could potentially have been a dangerous experience turned out to be extremely fun and relaxing for both of us. (And, we hope, for our "real life" new friends!)

I'd be lying if I said it didn't take some convincing to get David to go along with my plans. I think he thought they were pipe dreams at first, and as they became more of a reality, he seemed in shock. We would discuss it, and he would doubt my sanity, and I would say: don't you want to go on an adventure?!

David always laughs at me and maybe rolls his eyes when I launch into one of my "put yourself out there" sermons. It is "so important" according to, well, me: to go, to do. To live outside your comfort zone!

ADVENTURE! I shout at him.

What exactly do you mean by adventure? he asks.

To go somewhere totally new and strange. Just imagine! Somewhere you—WE—have never ever been! Experience life, a culture you didn't even know existed! Doesn't that just sound thrilling?!?

He's not so sure. (Translation: he is very sane and normal.)

My half-hearted pep talks don't usually convince him, or anyone other than me—for one fleeting moment. And in that moment, I feel wonderful and powerful and in command, at the wheel of my own life.

So whether or not I should become a motivational speaker is still being debated, but in the meantime, for now, I can convince both of us to take little risks: hop in the car, jump on a plane and go somewhere new. Meet new people. Use the little time, little money, little energy we have to "be adventurous" by taking little adventures.

So I guess for now, that will be enough to keep my sweet man sane. And enough for me, too, standing here on my own two feet.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year

A new year. And I can't help but ask, who decided this? To clearly distinguish between one year and another. A heavy reminder of a clear beginning and end to everything in this life. Call me dramatic, but it seems like there's so much pressure attached to it. "That's the end of that..." says ticking-ticking Time, making a hand gesture that resembles brushing something off. "'That,' you know, the old way of doing things. Why, yes, 'old' as in...yesterday."

Yesterday is yesterday and today is today? Well, I could have told you that.

A new year. And we're all supposed to dress up, put on a new face, kiss at midnight and transform POOF! into new-year beings; waist-lines instantly slimming, better looking and resolutions to just be... BETTER, to boot! Then again, maybe I just have a bad attitude. Perhaps we need it, that yearly reminder that nothing lasts forever, that change is often the answer, a hopeful idea that just around the next corner your success, your one true love, your big break...your happiness is waiting.

"Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
—John F. Kennedy

If everything is being amended, improved by resolutions then why does it all feel the same? It is just a transitional period? If so, why does the same outlook, the same route, the same faces, the same feeling in the pit of your stomach—
something is not right—last all year long?

CHANGE is such a great word, that is, when used as a verb. Change is too great to be just a noun, tossed around, given a few good tries before ultimately getting tossed out. Change must be cannot-breathe-without-it action, a failure to settle, a refusal to stand still. Change, Kennedy said, is the LAW of life, what dictates wrong and right. The difference between dormant life and a prosperous, sprawling one. So why are we so scared to say, "
This year, I'm making some changes. I'm going to clean up the mess I've made." Instead it's made to seem that this year all of the things that have been done TO us will be fixed with a few simple New Years Resolutions—empty and emptier, like the dull repetitious hum of a shallow drum.

For me, it can only be change. That is the answer to every whine, every cry, every burst of anger that I spill out. I must change. And I know it is a process.

I see: me, standing alone in a dark, empty room filled with mirrors. I'm having a conversation with myself. I'm listening to the conversations I have with other people. I'm laughing at jokes I don't find funny. I'm watching myself cowardly shy away from saying what's really on my mind, what I really think—that you're foolish. I'm waiting for my turn to share what I think, how my day was. You keep going. I'm still waiting. I'm shielding my eyes from the blinding light of criticism. You're too harsh. You need to relax, take people for who they are. You can't expect them to be more than that. I'm being dependable, but the favor is never being returned. I'm giving much, taking little, dreaming of more, much much more. I'm being jealous, ungrateful. I'm staring at my body, willing it to change. Watching the way my skin stretches in places, folds softly in others. When did you get so round, so soft? I watch myself apologizing, and forgiving but not forgetting. Pretending things are fine, "totally all right," when they're not. Say something. Stop being so afraid of being a "bitch." You should really speak up. I watch my lips, still, silent. Coward. I watch myself faking it, putting on a show, smoothing things over. I'm really good at it. Take a bow. But then I see myself in his arms, happy—a mirror within a mirror—so happy, not disappointed, not feeling fat, attached, feeling warm. I am happy. And even still there are clouds on the horizon. I made them. Created them, brought on the rain. Remember to breathe, deep breaths. I have the power to clear it all away, and I'm waiting on nothing, no one but myself. No one around with anything to offer, no one to blame but myself. In the corner of my eye, at the base of the room of mirrors, I spy them. Yellow rubber gloves—size Large. I open them up and slip my hands in, each of my fingers finding their corresponding hole. Be brave. Don't be so scared all the time. The gloves are on now, and I raise my eyes Eye to eye, no turning back, honest. And just like that, someone flips on the lights.