Thursday, January 31, 2013

There They Go

I die a thousand tiny deaths every day...but I'm not dead.

My full-time job and all these classes I so cheerfully signed up for are keeping me away from the blogging world. I'm writing, I'm reading, I'm working my ass off, but I'm not blogging. (a tiny death)

I'm also not painting, not cleaning, not cooking, and not socializing. (more deaths) The children have wisely moved out of my house. I cannot describe what a difference it makes in my ability to get schoolwork done. They think this means I am no longer parenting. That might be true, but since I can no longer parent in the style to which I am accustomed, I have resorted to simply worrying. (a death) 

I worry that Sara won't be able to get back and forth to work because her car is broken. I worry that Jacob is going to get some poor, unsuspecting girl pregnant. I worry that David is sleeping on park benches, because he shows up here every once in a while to check the bus schedule on the computer. I worry that Matt doesn't have a clean uniform for work.They'll do their own things, though. They may not make the decisions I encourage them to make, but I can't control any of that (nor would I want to, they have their own lives).

 I worry about all the other things a mom worries about, and even more than I ever thought about before they were all on their own.

Tiny little things.

Tiny little deaths.
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Anna

I've got twenty two minutes to kill before Anna Karenina crackles to life on this tiny silver screen. It's a disappointment to me that any independent film that rolls through Amarillo is hosted by the old theater in the mall.  They've cut their screens in half to accomodate more movies being shown simultaneously, but these are the movies that have been out for a while. Some of them are possibly being sold on blu-ray and dvd right now. It only costs two bucks to get a seat in here, so the place is often overrun by sticky, loud, unattended children whose parents couldn't stand the thought of dragging them through the stores on a dreary winter afternoon.
Not in Anna's theater, though. This is a five buck affair, and you won't find too many preteens who've heard of Tolstoy. There are a couple of academic types sitting well to the rear, and there might be one or two stragglers in the middle somewhere. I can hear some quiet mumbling going on back there.
The screen will crackle to life in a mere eleven minutes. The image will need to be manually focused, as they cannot seem to set it automatically in this shin-dig. The fake red velvet drapes hang to the sides, giving the illusion of a old-fashioned, presentation-oriented theater, but nobody here is fooled. I don't think they care if I enjoy the movie or not. Nobody has even come along to ask me to turn off my cellphone.
You just know it's got to be annoying to those folks in the middle.
Well, see, I wrote that too soon. A few chucklers have just moseyed in and one frowning old biddy who is giving me the stink-eye.
I'd better put it away. The speakers are popping, anyway.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Love and Be Loved. Or Not. Whatever.

 I remember our neighbor, Bonnie, in Australia speaking to my parents about the illusion of loneliness. I couldn't have been more than four years old at the time (we moved to Alaska that year), but her words resonated in me. She spoke of how we are each born into this world alone, and we will each leave this world alone. It is a natural, human thing to be alone, and so when we are feeling lonely, we should turn inward and keep ourselves company, because we could only count on ourselves to be there.

Of course, she was wise, I thought. She was older, smarter and had clearly thought it all out. I took her words to heart and thought about them from that day forward. I decided that she might be right. I might have to be my own best friend. Considering that my father was a globe-trotting military man, dragging us from one continent to the next, with no regard for the idea that it would be hard for somebody like me to make and keep friends, well, Bonnie's logic became my own.

That may have been the beginning of my conscious independent streak.  My mother once told me that I was born a loner, a non-conformist, a free spirit. She spoke of how I never put up with my sister's bossy streak and how I wouldn't go to church because the preacher was a moron, and how I would switch from bluegrass to rock-n-roll to jazz just because it suited my mood. She halfway suggested that it was a bad thing to be that way. I remember thinking, I like what I like. Don't stifle me, woman.

When I was twelve or thirteen, I met a girl who described herself to me as a free-spirit. She knew we would be good friends because we were so much alike. She chastised me for shaving my legs! She claimed I was giving in to male oppression by catering to their idea of how a woman should care for herself. I should stop shaving my legs and let it grow wild and free to assert my independence from the male population. I said, Screw that. I like the way my legs feel when they're shaved, smooth and silky against my cotton sheets while I sleep. She shook her head and said she didn't understand me at all. Clearly, she didn't.

Of course, I have had friends in my life, good ones and bad ones. I've even had good friends who turned into bad friends after a while, and I've been a bad friend to many people I should have treasured. I've been a fierce friend to many who didn't treasure me. I've loved and been loved. I've hated and been hated. It's all a part of who I am, but I've not ever been truly lonely. What's the point of that?

Now that I am thirty-nine some of my so-called friends are making noises about my looking for a man, but I guess they didn't get the memo. Hello, I'm not lonely for a man. I'd rather have a degree. I am content in the life that I'm living. If a man should want to be a part of it, he's got to be one hell of a pushy soul. It won't be easy to knock me off this course I'm on. Full-time school, full time job, part-time mom and grandma- this is not a life that leaves any room for new relationships. I might make a flirtatious comment to a man, but that's just personality, not actual suggestion. Keep it in your pants, buddy.

Today, I find myself a few friends short of last week's list. I've been compelled to scratch a couple of names off the very top. One of them thought I was lonely for his company. He was wrong. The other, his wife.

Hopefully, when everything gets sorted out, I'll be able to get her back on the list. In the meantime, I'm looking inward for company.

I promise, I'm not lonely.