life

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 25

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FAVOURITE MONTH

She is warm and beautiful. As the colours change and the trees lose the coverings that came in the Spring the crispness is a promise of something new in the loss.

She is the month of my birth and the birth of my first babe as she watched me become a mother. She has been a month of great sadness and fantastic joy. She defines me in so many ways. She is where I find myself and where I find my strength. It is funny to say that about a month, thirty days in three hundred and sixty five, but they are my favourite thirty. They are the days that I feel most at home with myself and in the world.

I am always happy to say hello to September, and always somewhat reluctant to say goodbye.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

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REMINDER

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We must always remember that there are always at least two sides to every story. And, if it sounds or feels like there is more to something – whether it’s troubling or curious – you can probably bet that there is.

There are many different ways to look at the same problem and the solution that works best for you is the one you should try.

The people who are happiest or proudest or most successful will spend less time telling you about themselves and more time asking about your happiness, satisfaction and success because sharing your joy or helping you find it is just better.

Passing judgement on those who you do not know, by name or by circumstance, is wasteful and contributes nothing positive into the universe.

Although your beliefs are important to you and may be that which assist you in living a productive and peaceful life, others may not share them. It is important to remember that the street travels both ways and your beliefs, as well as the beliefs of others are completely irrelevant, as we are all entitled to our own. It is not necessary to change your mind, or work to change the mind of others because in the end, it does not matter.

As much as we may wish or want, there is no one in the world we have the right or capability of changing, except ourselves.

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 24

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. — Tolstoy

FAMILY

The family: Comes with no written, stated or implied guarantee. Oh, but I wish there was. I wish it did. I struggle to say that I think there should be. I am more at ease to say that I am wrong.

I think the best we can do is promise to try and do better. We can promise to love without condition, forgive without grudge and choose to always, always see the best. At least see those for who they are, rather than who we want them to be.

The family: these people who are part of us, who made us, who shape us, who damage us and lift us up. These are the expectations placed upon a unit who have been placed together by luck and  biology. Or some divine plan. For some, the luck was bad, the biology formed funny, the plan was flawed. Or it wasn’t. Maybe it was only meant for a while. Maybe the plan was to teach, to [hopefully] learn, to prepare for the next.

The family: Those who will share something – cells, memories, trials, tragedy, love, meaning, hope, pain – with us forever. Our stories are all different. Certainly our unhappy ones are.

My family: Built on a competition we were never going to win. I don’t know who decided upon the rules, but I remember playing.

My family: Torn apart by anger and immaturity, pride and a change come too soon.

My family: Marked now by loss and gaps of time that bring forgetting and remembering and moving on.

My family: Came with love but without a guarantee of receipt without condition. Came with a best before date, a warning of expiry.

It was me who left. It was me who could not stay. It is me who is now lost. In reality, I am not. In metaphor, there are betters to choose. In reality I am here, existing with my past and my experiences and my future. If you say that I am lost, that you have lost me – like a ship at sea? like a missing sock? like a misplaced object from such a time ago? We are not lost. We are trees. separated by a chasm too wide for our branches to reach. We are books that once shared characters, but whose stories have ended. We are windows that have been forced shut by time and weather and paint in neighbouring houses, without people who have the ability to pry them open again.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 23

100 WORDS OR LESS

I hate being spoken of like I’ve gone somewhere. Like my disappearance was a surprise without warning. like I’m this spirit of a being that once was.
I wasn’t lost. I’ve pinched myself as evidence that I’m still very much here.

Our path was no longer meant to be travelled together, but my prints disappeared no more than yours did. I didn’t loose you, for I know where you are. It was too much, too heavy, too difficult to keep going along that path we were on.

Now we each have our own and I hope your journey is breathtaking.

 

100 words exactly!

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 22

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GOODBYE

airports see more sincere kisses than weddings halls. the walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches

We must stop saying that we hate goodbye. Of course a goodbye is not lovingly embraced. Our culture has attempted to lessen the blow with clichés like a goodbye makes room for a later hello or saying goodbye to something good makes room for something better. They are not nice because they come with loss. That is why change is so feared, so disliked, so distrusted — the loss.

I think the term comes from God be with you….God bye….Goodbye. It was a blessing once. It can be a blessing still. It’s a salutation to send someone or something out into the universe with care. With love. With longing. It is, however, an ending, a parting, a disconnect.

Hearing that ‘I hate goodbyes’ drives me a little nutty. Who likes them? At least when they happen. We may look back on them with deep breaths and relieved sighs, but not in the thick of the first utterance. We must remember that a goodbye is not required. It is not owed – to you or by you. It is a tool, a marker, a note for a moment in time, a glimpse before a turning, a word before none. It is not a goodbye that changes anything. It is what happens after.

I have had goodbyes and I have had great loss without them. They haven’t changed anything. Their absence hasn’t changed anything. They haven’t eased the feelings, nor have the ones spoken brought me any comfort.

I do not hate goodbyes. I do not feel I am owed a goodbye, from anyone, for anything. Their goodbyes are not for me, just as mine are not for them. Like a funeral is not for the one who has passed, the goodbye is for those who are still here.

If you need a word to capture the space before the change, you have it. Embrace it. It’s not the goodbye you hate, it’s what is coming. The change, the silence, the grief, the loss, the unknown.

The goodbye is the blessing.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

Photos of the boys

Oh the trauma of taking pictures of the little people in my life. We didn’t try very hard tonight. None of us were all that into it. They were more interested in soaking each other on the trampoline….in their clothes. I was more interested in – them listening to me. They won.

Here are a couple of salvaged pictures – nothing is edited (minus the one I turned grey). They are getting too big too fast – my normal complaint. Ugh. At least they have clothes on. Those who know us personally will truly know what I mean by that.

Jack – 8 years old (9 in 2 months), Alex – 7 and a half, Charlie – 5 years old.

hug....denied.

hug….denied.

the middle one holds the two ends together.

the middle one holds the two ends together.

Jack, Alex + Charlie

Jack, Alex + Charlie

Charlie of the Corn

Charlie of the Corn

That's my Goph

That’s my Goph

Jack of the Corn

Jack of the Corn

By forever baby

My forever baby

Alex

Alex

Jack

Jack

nope...everyone can NOT look at the same time.

nope…everyone can NOT look at the same time.

tower.

tower.

faces any mother would love.

faces any mother would love.

 

CW Challenge : Day 20

A LETTER LEFT BEHIND

Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, this friends absent speak. — John Donne

To you (and you and you and you)

I often wonder if you expected it to turn out like this. If you ever thought it would be this bad. I gain comfort for myself in believing that you didn’t. That you couldn’t have.

I wonder if regret found you, if lessons were learned. I wonder if you weigh the untruths you are responsible for. And we are all responsible for something false. I wonder as much about how you feel, as I think about whether it matters. I think it does. I believe it must.

I understand desperation and the fear that holds hands with a loss of control. That makes sense to me. Your choices shatter and confuse me every day. Still.

He has never done the things you accused him of. He has never caused me harm. He hasn’t snuck or smoked or sold or swat or severed. He has supported and shouldered and swore and suffered and somehow survived. It matters so much to him that you know that. It matters less to me because I don’t feel like your opinion on the matter, matters. But he does, and I think sometimes it ruins him. But what happened and what was said wasn’t fair. It caused damage that still drifts and clings and remains in the worst possible moments. And when the wind blows hard enough, things get uprooted again and it gets harder and harder to settle it all back in. It didn’t need to be like this. I wonder if you feel what that feels like.

And it can’t be taken back. How much time has been spent wishing it could be taken back, wishing you could do that for me. Wishing you would do that for me. Wishing the imbalance between how much he cares and how little you do could switch, how I could shift the weight. I understand desperation. The refusal to fix what’s in your power to fix, that’s harder for me to understand. And I wonder what would change if I understood it. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe everything.

There are things in my power and things that will forever escape me.

And so much that will always be left behind. The further ahead we go though, the better I feel about leaving it.

with love, always with love.

xo.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

If I Stay

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If I Stay by Gayle Forman

How it begins: Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true.

Told by a girl in a coma. She is aware that her family is gone and she is all that’s left. There are people who love her that want her to wake up but she spends the story telling the stories of remembrance and young love, that could have, should have and maybe would have been.

It is built on the possibility that everything can change in a second, with a snowfall or a day off or a music selection. It’s all fleeting and the decisions we make – before and after – have consequences and meaningful impacts that reach far and wrench heartstrings.

This was a quick read, and when I was looking for the image of the cover to stick in this post, I discovered that there is a sequel. (I guess you can figure that she stayed…that doesn’t lessen the story at all, I promise). I’ve already downloaded it and I hope it doesn’t keep me up too late tonight!

We Were Liars

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 We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

How it begins: Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family. No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure.

The best part about the book was the writing. The prose was delightful. I read this one on a long car ride as well, and it didn’t take me long. The worst part about this book was that I figured it out before it ended. That kind of bugged me a little bit, and it made me deflate, but the writing was beautiful. I found that the subject matter took back seat to the words and I loved that.

The subject matter was common, but the descriptions were better than I’ve read before. The characters were not all redeemed and I was happy for that. The losses are incredible and there are times that you want to reach through the pages and shake the people who are left.

The story shines a light on priorities and friendship and the imperfect balance of it all.

 

This is How

You are allowed to be alive. You are allowed to be somebody different. And you are allowed to not say good-bye to anybody or explain a single thing to anyone, ever.

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This is How by Augusten Burroughs

I have not re-read as many passages or highlighted so many phrases as I did with this book in a very, very long time. Advise on how to be fat, be thin, how to fail, how to be a good mental patient, how to feel less regret, how to lose someone you love — the thoughts are refreshing, important and honest. They are not always easy, not always nice and that’s ok.

The older I get, the easier it is to take the advise in these pages and follow it without reservation. It makes me wish I was stronger, stronger, more able to just do rather than think. There are not enough good things to say about this book. I loved it. Every bit of it. Enough to buy a regular copy of it so I can fold the pages, write in the margins and one day write something smart and meaningful in the front and let it go.