Friday, December 4, 2009

alone and thankful

Today is one of the days I am thankful for the single life. That I'm not married. That I'm not living with the man who was almost my husband, before he saved my life and said it was over.

I am thankful that I can come home after work, and change into old gray sweatpants and an oversized sweatshirt and sit crosslegged on my one piece of comfortable furniture in the living room, the recliner. With a blanket over my lap and my hair in a messy bun. The door is locked and I don't plan on seeing a soul for at least 20 hours.

I am thankful I can watch anything I want on tv- no compromise, no debate. Just whatever I feel like. (Which currently seems to be a line up of Greys & Criminal Minds reruns.) All the while sipping a pama-ginger ale cocktail and completing Sudoku puzzles. I love that I can choose to sit in the silnce and read short essay styled memoir books until dawn- or listen to DVDs of The West Wing playing in the background as I flip through magazines.

I am thankful that I can work on my Christmas cards throughout the weekend- because I have no set plans other than some time working at the mall tomorrow. I can leave them in piles of done, not done, stamped and unstamped- spread out on my four end tables that sit next to the one recliner in the living room. And I love that I can sign them with the last name I've always had- my capital S has always been prettier than my capital M, anyway.

I'm thankful that I can lay in front of the tv for 15 minutes doing core exercises while catching up on hollywood gossip, add extra resistance in the abs while I laugh my way through Chelsea Lately. No need to move to another room because I'm blocking someone's view of the stunning television programing.

I love that I get to spend time baking in my kitchen, every night. I get to search for the perfect recipe I want to try. I love that I get to bake with, and fully enjoy, peanut butter- without the fear that he may accidentally come in contact and have an allergic reaction.

I love that I am selfish when I am at home. Because there is no other way right now, in this season of my life. This chapter. No one else's opinion to weigh against my own. No one else's suggestions to bring into consideration. Just me- doing what I want to do, when I want to do it. My own choices of yes and no and maybe. Of now and later and never and always. I am thankful.

Follow Friday: Reappearing Roommate

Were you headed this way thanks to Caitlin?
Welcome! Caitlin said some pretty nice things about me, and the blog, via twitter today and I just wanted to say a quick HELLO! to anyone that popped over from her recommendation :)

I've been writing some very long emails today, so I haven't had much time to blog but I wanted to just give a quick FOLLOW FRIDAY love to a blogger and real life friend whom I adore:

Jessica is Finding Herself Through Words - and she will soon be my temporary roommate! Jess and I lived together for a while back in Beaumont, and early 2010 she will be moving to Capital District NY. I am so excited to have her close to me, again! And now I will have a new running buddy! (dream come TRUE!!! ) Jess is one of my favorite girls in the world, and I can't wait to be reunited soon! [Jess was also my first guest post!]

HOORAY for having a good friend nearby! I am so excited for you, Jess, to be starting this new chapter of your life, and obviously to be spending some time at my apartment- baking cookies, watching friends, and blogging side by side ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Senses.

I have this habit of standing up for people I don’t actually know in stories. I can’t decide if the habit is horrible or amazing. If someone is telling a story, for example, of someone cutting them off in traffic and how angry it made them, my instant reaction is usually something to the tune of; “maybe they were rushing to the hospital to see a loved one who was just brought in from falling out of a tree, or they didn’t see you because they were so tired from working a double volunteer shift at the homeless shelter, or they were running late for their first day on a new job.”

When a friend is on hold with Dell for 27 minutes before getting help to solve a computer problem, I am most likely to pipe up with, “maybe they are evacuated because of a fire and no one is there to answer the phone.” I defend people. And I am guessing it gets pretty annoying. Because sometimes you just want to vent to someone, and let them listen and nod and know that you were “done wrong.” Apparently I am not the person to vent to; apparently, I defend people.

I guess I’ve always tried to have a bit of optimism available in the back pocket of my jeans. I’m the kind of girl that loves a page-a-day calendar filled with quotes on kindness, believes in the power of the people, and has once declared that “Sprinkles make the world a happier place.” (but seriously- don’t they?) So I should have found it no surprise that in the last few months, everyone seems to keep telling me they admire, appreciate, or are surprised by my optimism post broken-engagement.

I keep getting emails and blog comments and text messages and cards in the mail (oh how I LOVE those- real mail is quite possibly the best day brightener there is) that suggest I am optimistic. That praise me for being strong, and continuing to chase and find happiness throughout the last five months. Words that lift me up and make me feel all warm and fuzzy for handling a bad situation a good way.

The problem arises, however, on days I feel less than optimistic. On days I feel sad and lonely. I don’t want pity and I don’t want sympathy, but I want freedom from this.

It came to me during Thanksgiving weekend. I had a great four day weekend. I ate my pizza, and brownies topped with peppermint stick ice-cream. I spent time relaxing and reflecting on what I was thankful for and watching my favorite Holiday time movie. I thought about Christmas, and what makes me feel cheerful this time of year. And then I tasted something bitter.

I started receiving concerned text messages from parties who thought I would be feeling sad, and lonely, and wanted to check in to make sure I was okay. I felt just fine until reading these. I was chipper. I was excited for the holiday season. I was listening to Holiday Music CDs, and trying to decide how big of a tree to get. I put out a few decorations, and started my Christmas cards, and read a bit of Luke 1, and was ready for a Holly Jolly Christmas- but then, suddenly, and almost as if it had been there all along and it was just waiting to be uncovered, I felt the sadness seep in. And the loneliness creep in. And Then Heather Said, “I want to go HOME. I want this all to GO AWAY.”

And the optimism went out the window. Along with the Christmas cheer.

I no longer want a tree. And Christmas music made me cringe. And I didn’t want to watch Love Actually on TV. I just wanted it to be over.

The past week, I have kept searching for the cheer.
Is it in a box of Christmas Decorations at the office? Nope, it’s not there.
Is it near the brightly colored, cardboard tree cutouts that I have adored in Radio Shack? Nope, not even hiding in the corner by the shiney stuff.
Is it found at the bottom of my to-go cup filled with peppermint mocha? Negative.
How about when the snow started to flurry Tuesday morning outside my office window? OH, HELL NO.

I didn’t want any of it, and then I realized that it was okay.
I had a realization that it was okay to be sad and lonely. It was okay to be homesick, and long for the 23rd of December when I will be with my family in Texas. It’s okay to “just sit this one out.” And to go through the motions and not feel the cheer, no matter how weird it feels. I realized that it is okay to be the Grinch, as long as I didn’t let it take over my life.

And then it happened. I decided to bake. It’s like I had Isabel Stevens disorder and baking took away the pain. I decided to bake 25 different kinds of cookies to precede Christmas. And I started sifting flour, and beating egg whites, and rounding the dough into balls. And I caught myself humming. I caught myself humming a CHRISTMAS CAROL.

And I started thinking about what I’ll be giving to my Bloggie Secret Santa. And I did research for some gift-giving blog posts I plan on sharing soon. And I kept finding things PERFECT for everyone I know. And I remembered that it’s more about the giving than the receiving. And I remembered that’s what I love about it. Its not about me, or feeling loved, or feeling the warmth of a friend; its about you, and giving love, and giving the warmth of a friend.

And I got an early surprise gift, when a dear friend called me last night to share some wonderful news. And I giggled with her. And we celebrated through love and laughter and truth and friendship- though miles away. And my heart started to fill with joy for her.

And I came to work. And a coworker asked me if I would do him a favor and wrap some Christmas Gifts. And I SQUEALED. Because wrapping gifts is on my top five favorite parts of Christmas. And I remembered I had a list of my top five favorite parts of Christmas.

Suddenly I could smell it- Christmas. Cinnamon and freshly fallen snow and ribbons tied in bows. Evergreen and savory vanilla and the smell of my dads leather chair.

Suddenly I could hear it- Christmas. The crunch of cookies and bells telling of angels wings and the crinkling of paper. Reindeer prancing on the roof and jolly, rolling laughter and the clinking of ice cubes dancing into a glass, awaiting the liquid cheer.

It wasn’t until I accepted the mourning over what this Christmas could have been.
It wasn’t until I accepted the longing to be with loved ones.
It wasn’t until I accepted the Grinch who had appeared.
But it came. And it’s here.
Christmas time is here, and my heart is full.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday

1: singlar sensation.
2: episodes of E True Hollywood Story I watched today. Tori Spelling before work, and Home Improvement after work.
3: number of times I've had subway this week.
4: number of days I'm not running in a row to rest and proactively avoid shin splints. (Felt a tiny bit of soreness after my run Sunday, so I'm spending some good time icing each night. May try running again Friday.)
5: minute nap after dinner today made all the difference. I woke feeling ready to clean the kitchen!
6: number of blog drafts I started today before this one
7: Sudoku puzzles I've completed in the last hour. I. Am. Addicted. (Again)
8: number of minutes I spent doing some " whittle my middle" tonight. I am having a love/hate relationship with planks this week.
9: cookie recipes in my "que"- today, I decided I am going to try and bake a different kind of cookie everyday starting now to Christmas (surprise, Mom! I'll be baking in your kitchen for a few days ;) )
10: the sytycd dancer you should be voting for- jacob is unbelievable. (Although I have about 5 favorites)

I doubt it.

Did you wonder where I have been the last 6 days or so?
I doubt it. Because if you read my blog, you more than likely follow my twitter or are my real life friend and therefore did not worry that I was in some tragic accident.

Should I spend the time recapping my weekend?
I doubt it. Because I didn’t do too much of anything exciting.

Will I cave and purchase a gym membership this week as snow is CURRENTLY FALLING outside my window?
I doubt it. Because I'm focused on project snow and am determined to bundle up and face the chilly temps to run outside.

Will my Grinch-type-spirit last forever?
I doubt it. Because I have much too romantic of a heart to not be wooed by the most wonderful time of the year.

Will my Grinch-type-spirit last for the day?
I doubt it. Because I'm already feeling a bit guilty admitting that I am not all "HOORAY HOLIDAY" today.

Will I face my bitterness head on during my lunch break, determined to turn my mood around?
YES. Because I don't doubt myself. I don't doubt the truth that beauty lies in everything, in everyone. I don't doubt that one small turn of events can turn a bad day to  a GREAT day.  I don't doubt the power of positive thinking. I don't doubt the power of words. I don't doubt my own abilities.  I don't doubt the truth that at the right time, everything is extraordinary. I don't doubt that love wins.  I don't doubt it; I know it.

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