Friday, September 22, 2006

Social Mixer

As I sit and type I feel like I am on the ocean – the wind blowing the leaves of the trees outside, the sound like the tide lapping, my stomach quivering as if it is going to leap into the sea with or without me.

I am not really sick. I don’t have any good reason to feel like this – no flu, I’m definitely not pregnant. No, instead my reason is that I am inexperienced in the ways of drinking and thus mixed three different kinds of wine last night.

Yes, friends, I am currently experiencing my first hangover. It’s quite mild, just a little bit of an upset stomach, but I’ve been told it still counts as a hangover. I’m not sure what I think about it. I didn’t get drunk, so I feel like I’m being punished for something I didn’t even do. I only felt a little off balance last night – which is apparently known as tipsy – and I was coherent enough to stop when I noticed I could get out of hand. I wasn’t coherent enough to follow my friends’ advice and drink tons of water before going to bed, though, so I woke up feeling like if only I could empty my stomach my life would be wonderful again. No headache, thank God, but definite waves of nausea.

A sign of my naivety is that I didn’t even know what was wrong with me. I mentioned that I felt a bit sick and L. calmly informed me that I was a little bit hung-over. Well, she actually laughed at me. She thinks it's quite funny. I was shocked. A little bit of dizziness last night and now I want to puke.

I haven’t thrown up. I’m kind of proud of that fact. Of course, I didn’t drink very much either. I avoided the tequila, for instance. I don’t understand why anyone would want to drink something that vile. And I knew enough not to mix different kinds of liquor anyway – but why didn’t anyone tell me that you can’t mix different wines? I was in a very experimental mood and tried a dry red, a sweet white and a raspberry merlot that went down like candy – and all within an hour and a half.

Huh. When I think of it that way, I'm really quite lucky. I should feel much worse.

And no doubt it helps that I left before they got out the spiced rum…

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


My relationship with my father hasn’t always been a good one. It hasn’t been terrible. For most of my life it just wasn’t much of anything. Growing up, my memories of him are mostly of where and when he wasn’t. He worked away from home or on shifts that made him sleep the day away. It seemed to me that money and bosses were more important that I was, and for a long time I accepted that as the way things were supposed to be. When I realized that was a lie, I got angry. I spent several years being quietly very angry at my dad. Angry that he wasn’t there. Angry that I wasn’t a priority to him. Angry that he thought he knew me when he didn’t.

Several years ago my dad injured his knee and was unable to work. He spent a year and a half, pretty much, staying at home and completely changing the schedules and lives of the rest of the family. It was quite disruptive at first. At first I didn’t like it one bit. I had my life organized, thank you, and this was upsetting all of my carefully built walls and orders. But, like many things that I find upsetting, it was the beginning of something necessary. Something good.

I was forced to decide whether or not I wanted a relationship with this man who had helped to give me life. I had to decide whether I wanted him to know who I was now, the woman I was becoming. At first I wasn’t sure. I didn’t trust that he would stick around – he hadn’t before – and I didn’t want to invest in something that was going to end in me being abandoned yet again. I was angry and resentful and had more than my fair share of grudges.

I’m so thankful that I chose to begin a relationship with my father. I have discovered so much. I knew that he didn’t know me – but I didn’t know how much I didn’t know him. I had been told all my life how much wisdom my father had – but I had doubted or simply taken it for granted. I didn’t know how much I need his voice in my life.

When my dad taught me how to drive, he sat in the passenger seat and cleaned his fingernails. He was so certain that I knew enough of what I was doing to keep us both alive and on the road. His calm was infectious and gave me the confidence I needed to remain calm and relaxed myself. He’s still like that about the things I face in life. When I first realized that I loved S., I freaked out. I called to talk to my mom but she wasn’t home, so I ended up talking to my dad. His voice was the one I needed in that moment. I needed to hear that I wasn’t crazy, that there was no such thing as a time schedule when it came to love, that love was scary and that it wasn’t all supposed to be rainbows and pastel clouds…that me crying about being in love was okay. He told me that emotions can be overwhelming and can come out in bizarre ways – that crying for happiness wasn’t stupid. He told me that my instincts for physical lines were good, and put into words the things I am trying to achieve in the physical aspects of my relationship.

He is so calm, so trustful that my own instincts and abilities will kick in when I need them to. He is so sure that I will hear God’s voice and obey it. That he doesn’t need to be God’s voice for me. That I will figure out this crazy thing called life and love on my own. And at the same time, he doesn’t take a backseat to my life and keep his wisdom to himself. He still wants to be involved, to know where I’m at and what I’m dealing with. He wants to share his life with me.

My dad has been so open with where he screwed up as a father. He has heard my pain and anger and accepted that it is his fault – and cried with me. I have seen my father cry with regret at the things that he didn’t do. I have seen my father cry with the pain of loss, the pain of being hurt. He has shown me that it is okay to cry. It takes strength to cry.

My dad left a safe job and followed a calling. He didn’t give up when every logical voice told him his dream was unattainable, that he was causing his family hardship. He didn’t give up even when he began to believe those voices. He stuck it out – and is now working at a job he loves. He has been such an inspiration to me. When I could have followed the safe path, chosen a career that would have promised a steady income and constant work, his example helped me to take the scary leap of faith and jump headlong onto a path that I love, a vocation instead of a job, a journey that will be hard and won’t make me rich but that feeds my soul like nothing else I know. His example and his support have made it possible for me to do this – and have kept me from quitting when it all seems impossible.

I love my dad so much. He has shown me how not to live – money isn’t everything and family is so much more important. He has shown me that anyone can change – it is scary and it does hurt but the rewards are great. He has shown me how to love. He has shown me how to run. How to fight and how to laugh and how to cry. How to see God and that it is okay to rage against Him. His journey has been so integral to my own, so influential and eye opening and humbling and joyous. I don’t know how I would be able to live without him there, quietly and proudly supporting me, his daughter whom he loves.

I love you, Dad.

Don’t you dare go away from me yet.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Long Time, No See

It seems like an eternity since I last posted anything here. I've been busy - the usual excuse - and now that I have a moment of time I'm not sure what to write. There was something I wrote almost a month ago that I think I'll post here now - something that I intended to put here and then chickened out on and never did. I believe I wrote it August 15th.

Discovering that you have fallen in love is probably not supposed to be a horrifying realization. Most people, upon realizing that they love someone, probably don't stare blankly ahead and say 'Holy shit'. Most people probably don't wonder what the hell is wrong with them when they realize they're in love.

I'm just guessing though. Perhaps I am a completely normal person, experiencing completely normal responses to a completely normal phenomenon. Perhaps the vast majority of people out there are scared shitless by the mere suggestion of something more than 'like'. Maybe most people fall in love because of absolutely ridiculous things, too.

In case you missed it, I have now experienced the marvelous sensation called Falling In Love. Like any other kind of falling, there seems to be a feeling of weightlessness. A lack of air. A startled feeling in my chest where my heart should be beating. Unlike other kinds of falling there is also happiness. A certain delight. A settledness.

I am scared too. What else is new, really? When I read my journals and blog posts I am astounded that my nickname isn't Chickenshit. I love someone who doesn't have to love me back. He's not like my family. He can cut and run at any time. He isn't neccesarily there for good.

People aren't supposed to fall in love after only 2 months, are they? I've never fallen in love before but this seems so quick. Granted I've known him for 2 years. But still - this was so unexpected.

Especially because of what pushed me over the edge. He was drunk at a party and he turned to me and said, "This is why that song (Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace) describes me so well. It doesn't matter where I am, what social situation I'm in or who I'm around, I'm the same person inside. This is who I am." He looked so hopeless. I saw through masks that I hadn't realized were even there and saw hurts that I hadn't known exsisted. Why on earth would I fall then? Why did that get me when all the sweet things he's done, all the respectful, romantic, charming stuff didn't? I don't understand, but I suddenly loved him. In that moment. Even as I fell, I was thinking I can't change him. Loving the shit out of someone doesn't work. I know this and I fell in love with him anyway. In spite of that. Because of that.

It doesn't hurt that he treats me with respect. That he asks where my lines are and doesn't cross them. That he wants me and wants to spend time with me, that he likes talking to me and listening to me. That he looks like an angel when he sleeps...when all the masks are down and he looks like he is at peace. That he holds doors for me and cooks for me. All of that certainly doesn't hurt.

Not like this could when - if - I hit the bottom.

Holy shit.

I've fallen in love.

I still love him, I still don't understand why. It still causes me pain and makes me very happy. It is sobering to realize that I love someone and I always will, even if I don't end up making my life with him. I didn't expect this to happen - this relationship went from a fun thing to have to something I care deeply about in a heartbeat. I went from a 'me' to an 'us' and I don't know how.

I'm not as freaked out as I was when I wrote this. I'm not as worried that I'm moving too quickly - I've learned that things happen in their own time and that there is no normal. I'm not as scared, even though I'm realizing that I've opened myself up to a whole new level of getting hurt. What fun.

It has been interesting to see what is true about love and what isn't. Being in love does cause joy and distress at the same time...those young lovers who wail and moan and complain about love while they are obviously not going to leave it behind are being honest in a very dramatic way. Love isn't blind, though. I can still see all the things that irritate me about S. quite well, and they still irritate me too. I just have more patience. Love is patient, kind and long-suffering. Love is a mine-field. Love is very complex, wonderful, and confusing.

Those of you who read this and pray, keep me - and S. - in your prayers. Guidance seems like the thing that we both need in this new landscape, this new world I've fallen into without a map.