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Monday, October 22, 2012

Something About Forgiveness

When they say that death changes you, they weren't kidding!  The amount of changes I've gone through in the last two years have been from one extreme to the next.  Nothing about myself is the same since I lost my father.

Among the many changes I've gone through and the new outlooks I have on life, I've learned so many great lessons in these last two years.  I've had new people come into my life that I now consider to be family and I've lost some people in my life who I considered to be family.

And although my moods can change in an instant and I am vulnerable, irritable, and at times extremely negative, I feel pretty good about where I am and where I'm going - uncertainties and all!

I See The World

I read a quote recently form John Lennon (at least that's what the poster said, it could have been said by Hitler for all I know - damn interwebz) that read, "the more real you become, the more unreal the world gets."  That quote really hit me.  I've noticed a new aura about myself...I've lost that inner-dreamer; that person that thinks everyone in the world is good.  I've lost that appreciation for learning about others and loving them.

I think that the reason for this is because I'm starting to learn how people tick.  I'm seeing what's real about them.  Between how hard the times are in which we live and how desperate people are for normalcy, I'm beginning to understand what makes people snap.  I no longer see the good in the mugshot on the news channel, now I see the demon that is strangling their heart - whether or not it was ever a good heart, I don't know.  I just know that something has eaten away at their conscience for long enough that shooting up an office building or theatre or neighborhood seemed to be the right thing to do at the time.

We live in a hostile world.  Nothing about your life is safe anymore.  And since I've been "blessed" with this gift of intuition, I'm seeing that now.  I'm seeing people for what they truly are.  I can't complain about that, though, since I asked for answers and began receiving them and I still don't know where they come from.

Burn Down the Bridge

I have burned many bridges in these last few years.  Some of them were for no reason at all.  They also aren't lying when they say that misery loves company.  There was a point in time that anyone who was happy made my blood boil.  In which case, I turned off my "care switch."  This is one characteristic about me that is a curse and a blessing.  I can easily stop loving people.  I've stopped loving some of my own flesh and blood.  I can easily stop caring about people and their general well-being, regardless of how close I am to that person.

I have tried repairing a few of these bridges.  I have tried coming to terms with the awful things I did to some people, swallowed my pride, and owned up to my wrongdoings.  Although I may not have apologized directly, I have made amends in my own way and feel rather positive about the outcomes.

Every person, everywhere makes mistakes.  That is the general purpose of life - make a mistake, learn from it, move on.  Burn that bridge, rebuild it, walk over it.  That's life.  That's what we are here for.  We are here to make the most of that.

If I have done you wrong in any way, shape, or form in the last few years, please accept this as my apology.

If I have made you angry or upset, please know that I am unbelievably sorry.  And there is nothing more that I'd like than to sit down with a few people that I know consider me an enemy and talk about why they feel that way.  I'd like to know what people think of me.  I'd like to understand and correct my past.

My entire belief system revolves around one simple way of life:  KARMA.

My karma is probably the worst its ever been.  I feel as though I can't achieve true happiness unless I resolve this bad karma with people.  I have suffered.  I have betrayed.  I have been lost.

And please know that there are no excuses for the things I've done in my life.  There are no excuses for the things I've done and probably still continue to do to people.  I have realized the type of person I am. I have understood that there are some people in life that I am not meant to get along with.  If you are reading this, its the same thing with you.  There will always be people you dislike and can never connect with.  Don't try.  Don't make the effort.  Recognize the differences and move on with your life before hostility arises.

If I am one of these people in your life, don't feel like you will offend me by saying so.  I completely understand.  And if we have bad blood to begin with, then I probably feel the same way.  But please, work with me on resolving the hostility so we can both move on with a clean slate.

Loss and Life

When you lose someone important, someone who meant the world to you, you go through the stages of grief.  I still don't know those stages and I don't know what stage I could possibly be in right now, but I do know that I faced the angry stage.  And during this stage, I burned all of my bridges.  I was accused of having lost my mind.  I was told I am intolerable.

I know how I was.  I know how I can still tend to be.  I know that this anger of losing my father so young will haunt me for the rest of my life.  I don't expect anyone to understand and I don't want anyone to ever have to endure the pain of losing a parent at 22 years old.  I don't wish upon anyone the voice that flutters through your head during a time like that and it says "I could think of ten people that should have taken their place."

I still think like that sometimes.  I still blame others sometimes.  I still wish death upon people in order to bring my father back sometimes.  I'm still angry at his doctors and at him.  I'm still angry that I see girls being walked down the isle by their dads and I will never have that moment.  I never, in my life, danced with my father.  I will never be able to hold his hand and tell him that he will be a grandfather.  I will never see the look on his face when he meets his grandchild for the first time.  I will never hear his soothing voice again.  I can't ask him for help with my car.  I can't ask his advice on a repair.  I will never hug him again.  He will never tell me, "ohhh honey, it'll be OK" again.

Take a second and absorb all of that.  Think about it for a minute.  And try to understand how anger can mysteriously appear in your heart if that were you.  Then try to understand why I may have burned that bridge.

Like I said, I'm not making excuses.  There is no excuse for some of my actions.  But there can be a certain way of life that can cause such tension.  There are days that I am a ticking time bomb.

All I ask is that you give me the time to repent.  Let me forgive myself by forgiving me.  

Life is too short to have these dark clouds lingering over us anymore.  Life is too short for hostility and anger toward others anymore.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Days We Lost Our Care

If you witnessed a bad accident on your way to work, would you pull over and help?

How about if you met an addict that was in desperate need of an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on; would you sit and listen?

If someone you love is having hardships they caused themselves; would you help in every way you could?

What if you had all of the answers of the universe, would you give them to those with questions?

What if someone hurt you, or made you angry?  Would you find it within yourself to help them when they are in need?

We live in a dark day.  People are faced with more demons.  Our own lives have become harder to live.  Not enough money, not enough jobs, families falling apart.  There are drugs and murders and law changes bringing us to the darkest of times.

People are suffering, dying; illnesses sweep away huge portions of our population.  There are wars and disagreements.  There is fear and insanity.  Living inside every single one of us, there are small pieces of rage, piling up, creating an explosive volcano.

We are on edge....
We are falling apart....
We have stopped caring...

 Our world is so shattered, we are able to find entertainment in murders and self-destruction on TV with reality shows.  There is enough bad out there to create a fan club out of arrests and murders by creating these shows.

It takes tragedy or death or fear in order to bring people together anymore.  No one loves thy neighbor.  Most of us don't even know our neighbors.  Some of us even hate our neighbors. The majority of us don't care.

We have road rage, we all want to kill that person in the grocery store holding up the line, and we hate that guy who walked in front of our car without even looking.  We are an angry society.  We are hateful and careless.  Our problems are always worse than the next person.  Our hardships have become badges we wear on our sleeves in order to one-up someone who approaches us.  We judge everyone.  "Oh, I don't care that your dad beat you, that's no reason to start shooting heroin!"

And I'll admit, I'm right there with every single one of the people on this planet who has developed this mentality.  But what I want to know is why are we like this?  What happened to society?  What happened to the days where we'd see someone broken down on the side of the road and actually pull over and help?  We just look at the situation and keep on driving.  We have to start noticing people.  These people that we are connected to.

Every once in a while, when I'm in the drive-thru, I'll pay for the person behind me.  I usually do it around the holidays since I know how stressful and often depressing the holidays are for people.  However, in July 2010, I decided to pay for the order of the guy behind me at Dunkin Donuts in town.

I was feeling very thankful and appreciative of life since my father was suffering from cancer and I was learning so much from him at that time.  I had hope.  I wanted to share the kindness he was giving me.

This day, was just like any other.  I told the girl at the window my story and to pass the message on to the guy that life is too short, so be kind when you can.  And I pulled out of the parking lot and life went on.

A few weeks later, I received a card in the mail.  It was from the guy at the drive-thru.  He got my information from a cop he knew after getting my plate number.

In the card, he wrote a note telling me that earlier that week, his wife left him and he found out his mother had cancer.  His week and his life was falling apart.  However, having me pay for his coffee that day, the day he wanted to give up, told him that there is still some good in this world.

Inside the card was a $50 gift card to a local restaurant I've been wanting to visit.  I was so shocked and excited, but more importantly, I was happy I made a difference.

The real kicker is that he knew my father.  When the girl told him the story I told her about my father, he put the pieces together and realized I was Tighe's daughter.  So, in his note, he told me how devastated he was to hear about my father and that my father is a great man.  His exact words were, "I'm not much of a praying man, but I pray for your father every single night."

And that one small gesture, paying for someone's coffee, made me realize that once we start caring, once we rid ourselves of our own demons and remember that someone out there needs help that we can provide, our own lives will begin to heal.  Our own problems and complexes and angst will heal.  I don't think we'll all receive thank yous or gift cards, but I do think that our karma will balance and all of the bad things we face will become easier, the pain will lessen, and the smile on the faces of those we help will cure our souls of our own wrong-doings.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Every Home Needs A Calendar

In a new effort to simplify some of the aspects of my life, I've realized that I need to get my life organized.  I need to find ways to remember things, remind myself of things I want to accomplish, and make the most out of the time I have.

I have never had a calendar in the 5 years I've been on my own.  Not once has a pretty calendar with scribbled appointments and inspirational photos hung from my kitchen wall.

Granted, yes, I have a cell phone with a functional calendar on it that even has task lists, notepads, and goal applications, I don't enjoy keeping my cell phone on me at every waking moment of every day.  If I feel  like taking a few hours of "me" time without any distractions, that means the cell phone is OFF.

So, I have decided I need a calendar.  A good, old-fashioned, hang-on-the-wall, no-bells-and-whistles calendar.  I don't care about the new ones that come with appointment stickers and pen holders and ass wipers, I just want a plain and simple PAPER calendar.

I feel like the days of the calendar are gone...or at least very limited.  I miss going to someone's home and seeing that calendar on their wall with all of their weekend plans and school vacations and big events.

I miss the art of writing things down in general.  *I love how I say that while I sit here and type on a blog.*

But seriously, I feel like writing down those tasks and goal lists and grocery lists really help the mind to remember them.  If I type it in my phone or on my computer, I feel like it doesn't hold as well to the walls of my memory.

Even if they aren't the important tasks and appointments, I feel that planning it can never be a bad thing.  Yeah, maybe I will make a date on Thursday for those 2 hours of relaxation.  Or on Sunday morning, I think I'll put some time aside to read or craft or dance naked across my living room.  And every time I walk by the calendar, there it will be!  My appointment for something I want to do.

So, in that case, here I am typing what I want rather than writing it down on an empty blog page rather than a wall calendar.  But, I promise, soon enough I will own a wall calendar!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

One Small Step

My thinking process has taken a complete overhaul, as of late.

At one time, I wanted to save the world.  I wanted to do something bigger, greater than all of us.  I was the poster child of change.  I had pulled myself through so much and people actually believed in me.

Lately, my thoughts have been over-run with the typical mindset of a bipolar, anxious, crazed maniac (to put it lightly).  Questions run through my mind constantly.  Who am I?  Where am I going?  Why am I so angry?  How have I come to hate so much?  What is wrong with me?  Why don't I care anymore?

Which brings me to my latest decision...

I'm deleting my Facebook.

I've been thinking about it for a while, but this post really pushed me to do it:  Facebook Suicide

In the trials and errors of my life, I've been trying so hard to come up with a solution to the way I'm feeling.  I've been searching so long and hard to find the root of the problem.  I've found that Facebook/social networking and all who inhabit it have become the draining, addicting, yet ever-so-boring root to all of my anguish.

Don't get me wrong, there are some that I love dearly who are on Facebook.  There are some people I enjoy seeing post and I enjoy knowing how they are doing.  However, its only a handful of people.

My latest attempt at overcoming and ridding myself of this giant boulder sitting on top of my soul is to revert back to my roots.  I am going to live my life without social networking.  I'm going to start learning more useful things and finding more useful ways to spend my time.  I'm going to take some time out of my life to figure out who I am and what I want.

I know that I will look back at my life in 20 years and say, "I really regret spending so much time on Facebook.  I regret that I let posts of others have an effect me.  I regret knowing that much information about other people."  And I can't let myself live with those regrets.  I can't let my future become "Keeping up with the Facebookians."

Let's face facts, people throw their entire laundry list of a life on Facebook.  People don't understand the effect these things have on them.  People aren't realizing that on every break, over coffee, on the bus, every spare waking moment of our lives, we are taking out our cell phones or laptops or iPads and checking Facebook! And I can't take this addiction and need to be in this "community" any longer.  It is making me hate people.  It is making me hate myself.

People know too much about me through Facebook.  This quiet, private life I try to live is bombarded constantly by trying to maintain the "Facebook Happiness."  Our lives are revolving around the "status-quo" we have to maintain on Facebook and I'm not dealing with it anymore.

Social networking has done something awful to me.  Seeing this stuff and knowing that much about people and their lives and their jobs and their kids and their families is really dumbing me down.  Its dumbing us down, as a whole.

But its more than all of that, too.  It'll prove to me who cares.  Who is just a friend on Facebook, posting something once in a while or "liking" a status?  Or who actually wants to be a part of my life.  Who actually cares enough to give me a call or shoot me an email once in a while.

I'd much rather find all of the information I find out on Facebook by spending time with my friends.  I'd rather they found out things about me that way, also.  

If you have made it to the end of this, then I take it you actually care about what I'm saying.  Who knows...maybe you even relate and understand the information.

If you want to see how I'm doing without the phone call or email, check this blog.  Maybe, without Facebook, I'll be motivated enough to write again.  Maybe, once this wave of depression dissipates, I'll join the community again, without letting it absorb me.  Finding that happy medium between real life and cyber life isn't possible right now.

All of my contact information is on my Facebook page.  I am taking it down tomorrow, to give people a chance to read it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Letters to Dad I

Remember that time we talked about love?  "How did you know you were in love?" I asked. 
You shrugged and smiled at me, "its just a feeling you get and you know.  You just want to tell them everything, no matter how small. You want them to know everything."

Or that time in the summer after your DUI.  We sat at the window and talked as if nothing had happened.  It wasn't as though I had just given you a ride home since you had no license, it was just me and you chatting in the evening hours; an ordinary visit.  "How do you remain so calm through all this?" I asked. 
"What can I do about it, Malia?" You said.  "I just push it all down and let it work its way up.  Yeah, it sucks," you told me with that expression I can see so perfectly in my memory.  You put your head down and close your eyes, shaking your head ever so slightly with a smirk on your face.  You always made a noise with your throat.  I notice I do it now, too, and whenever I catch myself, I think of you.  Its almost a partial laugh but doesn't make it farther than the back of the throat.  I still see the tenderness in your eyes as you smiled that assuring smile.  Its a smile with a statement I can hear in my memory that everything will be ok.

I try to make my decisions based on how you would.  I try to see things through your eyes.  Its helped in a lot of ways and its hindered me in a lot of ways.  But no matter what, I'm treating every decision with the utmost care and consideration, ultimately because of you.

Your death has brought me closer to more things, aware I guess you'd call it.  I'm aware of my life, my family, my future, my surroundings.  Does that mean I know what's going on?  Hell no!  But at least I can say I see these things much differently.  I am becoming more aware of the truths that were never explained to me.  The reasons you avoided many topics when we'd get onto them were those universal, don't-want-to-talk-about-it truths that make me wonder where, in fact, I came from as you wondered, too.

I feel like you died for a reason.  Lately, I see and hear of so many issues people have with their families.  I see kids hating their fathers and parents not talking to their children for years and years over silly arguments.  I have stepped up and become that person that tells these people that tomorrow could be too late.  Tomorrow, they could lose someone they love and never have that chance to make amends.  I tell people of our story.  I tell people the good, the bad, and the ugly.  But I tell them of how it worked out with us.  I tell them that it was me with you during those last few months, it was me that spent hours awake watching movies while you were in agony, but hiding it in order to enjoy a night with me. It was the circumstances that brought us closer, brought everyone closer together.

I preach our story to these people because its mine to preach.  You are no longer here to take claim on it.  You are no longer here to remember the details I leave out.  You are no longer here to fill anymore blank pages.  You are no longer here....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trophy Cabinet

A thought flickered through my mind of a time before my father and I became close again...

It was a dark time in both of our lives when the conversation took place.  Now, almost four years later, I can't help but wonder the "what ifs" of the situation.

It was before he moved back to town and was waiting for my brother to graduate from high school so he could move back.  He suggested I move in with him.  Well, the proper term would be more like "begged."  He begged me to move in with him.  He made all of these promises of a wonderful life with wonderful benefits and he would do anything I wanted to make the house "my own."

I knew then, as I know now that the potential of happiness would have been impossible.  We were two different people living on two different planets.  Our few hours a week of visiting was enough for both of us.  Many trial and error runs of such a predicament happened years priors; developing our relationship through fights and anger.

I am reading a book about a woman who's father commit suicide when she was only four.  She spent her adult years "assembling" him.  The name of the book is "Assembling my Father."  She speaks of ways they are connected.  By opening his journal, she felt connected knowing he once held the same moleskin and poured his soul into it.  By seeing and experiencing the home movies and photographs, she could read the expressions and person he was.  I feel the same way about the things I continuously learn about my father.  Although I lost him when I was twenty three, I feel as though I am finding him more and more.  He is the puzzle I meant to solve, the emotion I meant to harbor, and the mistakes I'm meant to learn.

Onto my story...

That book screamed a very loud message into my head.  A message I've heard many times before, however, this one seemed to sear a mark into my memory that will remain with me forever.  My father is gone.  He is no more.  I can not change that or bring him back.  I can not see his face or hear his voice.  I can not hug him goodnight.  At that moment, I could not breathe.  The wind was knocked right out of me, knowing, all I have of my father is his DNA floating around in my body.  That is the only hard evidence of his physical existence.

Tears had formed at the brim of my eyes.  For that split second, I couldn't breathe.  I had forgotten how.  I was so tempted to lean over and wake Bryan up, just to hold me and let me fall asleep before him, like I did so many times following the death.  For the first time since last November, I felt alone, without guidance or someone to look up to like I have for the last years of my father's life.

For the first time since his death, I knew that I had not told him all I wanted to tell and I had not asked him all I wanted to know.  I was not resolved to his death.  The feeling being burdened with all of this emotion finally caught up to me and I couldn't express it to the one person who mattered--him.

Since that night, I have wondered if I took him up on his offer of a new life and a new home, would things have been different?  Would he not have fallen into that deep depression that led him to the bars every night?  Would he have taken on new adventures and a new outlook having me there?  Could I have prevented his sudden and spiraling downfall? 

What would we have talked about on those cold nights by the fireplace?  What plans would we make?  Would he teach me all he knows for the better of my survival in life?  Would I have fixed and built and learned new things? 

These thoughts, I keep to myself.  I hone them, repainting the pictures in my memory.  No one can take these away from me as I keep them locked deep inside with the rest of the things I fear saying aloud.  I keep them on a high shelf, dusting and waxing so they become the greatest shining trophies in my cabinet.

I am taking on the persona of the woman in the memoir.  My mind is focused on learning, building, and reconstructing the quiet, private man that was my father.  It is as if I took a picture of him, ripped it up, and put it back together, meticulously with the finest adhesive and shiniest of coating, to maintain and preserve it, to place that trophy under lock and key in the cabinet of fear I harbor.

So, this is me, just shining my trophy collection.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In Time of Loss

It is far from easy to live each day without my father.  I am constantly thinking of things to tell him or ask him the next time I see him.  I catch myself wishing I spent more time with him during his last few days of life, rather than think only of myself.  I feel that he should have been holding my hand through his last breaths.

However, I am finally living the way he wanted me to, the way he should have.  I am allowing his legacy to live on through the stories and memories I share with the world.  He was the most beautiful person, inside and out, that I have ever known.

The depression I feel now will soon pass.  The feelings of angst and panic that I feel now because of his death will soon become warm, lucid memories that will fill my heart and soul with love that I will always have for him.

I find that people I know are forever complaining and wallowing in their own self - pity over their own lives and journeys.  At this time, with all of the things I'm feeling, I can not sympathize in the way they'd probably want me to.  I feel that instead of worrying about being single or thinking about what others think of you, you should be embracing the people in your life.  I would never wish what happened to our family upon anyone, but I do feel that if you put yourself in the shoes of someone in my situation, you'd realize just how much you appreciate the smaller things in life.

I am so thankful that I have found love, of the truest nature.  I thank my father for that, for he is the reason I have been brought together with the love of my life, my soul mate, and my living hero.  In the time of loss of my father, I took a wonderful friendship to the next level, in which he moved over a thousand miles to start his life with me.

I am thankful to have a wonderful brother, who I can honestly say has been my rock through everything we've had to endure since that sad November day.  I feel that I can finally establish the relationship I should have with my brother.  We take a different look on life and relationships now.  We are all each other has and we are all my mother has.  Our family bond has grown stronger than ever in our time of loss.

My friendships have grown stronger than ever.  I realize who my truest friends and family are during this time.  They understand my bad days and they realize when to step up and be the shoulder I need.  They were all there from the moment I got the news and will remain there through all of the other hurdles I will face in my life, as I am there for theirs.

Nothing will fill the void in my life where my father should be.  Nothing will ever take the place of the greatest man I've ever known, however, during this time of loss and mourning, I've learned to truly appreciate the finer things in my life.