Saturday, October 22, 2011
-Robert Louis Stevenson
No matter what you believe about fate, destiny, a bigger plan, or if you believe we just happen to exist and whatever will be will be, you must agree that life is fascinating!
The most important players on the stage of my life have all entered and exited throughout the years as if on cue. Sometimes going on nothing more than a gut instinct, I've made major life decisions, and I must admit, I am generally pleased with the outcome.
There has been a lot of change in my world over the last year. The most simplified version of the story goes like this: I got divorced, I met a man, I fell in love, I am very happy.
In some ways, even that story seems too intimate to share with all of the internet, but I feel that if I do not ever address it in any way, I will never be able to go back to the open dialog you have all come to expect from me over the years.
The story I came to share today is one of fate, destiny, or maybe it is just a story of random coincidence? I don't know, but it fascinates me nonetheless, and fills my brain full of romantic ideas and what-might-have-been's.
I will preface this story by telling you that I have always been a strong believer in life finding a way to direct you. If I feel like I am running into one road block after another and the universe is seemingly against me, I know I have veered off course. When I am on the right course, it seems like roadblocks no longer matter and things fall neatly into place.
Ten years ago I was sitting at a table at The Showbox having dinner and celebrating the holidays. The bands due to play that night were bands that my ex boyfriend played in (who turned out to be my future husband). I sat at the table with my then fiance (who I didn't end up marrying) to my right and a newly engaged lady to my left. Next to her was her fiance. Since we were both newly engaged, we spent a large portion of dinner chatting about wedding plans and ideas that we had. We were two young, happy girls, newly engaged and in love. It was a fun night! I was likely introduced to her fiance, but I don't really remember meeting him. I mostly remember talking to her about plans, and weddings, and being a little nervous about seeing Jon play after so much time had passed.
The girl eventually married her fiance, but I didn't marry mine. (Mine eventually met and married a woman who I have a lot of respect for and could not imagine anyone better suited for him. I am so happy they found each other!) I eventually reconnected with and married the ex who was playing on stage that night. I don't recall ever meeting the girl or her fiance again over the next many years.
I had no idea how significant that night was until now.
That night, sitting two seats over from me, was the man I am with now. The woman I spent the evening speaking to was the woman he married and eventually divorced. In those next ten years we have lived this parallel life, never meeting, but many times standing in the same room at the same show, we shared some of the same best friends, worked blocks from each other for years, but somehow never crossed paths until we were both single again. There were so many times we almost met had just one small act been altered, one different decision made.
The more I know him, the more stories we share, the more we find just how much our lives have been intertwined over this last ten years.
Since we met, things have become so easy. My career has taken off, my art has become more focused, my general level of happiness has greatly improved. I feel lighter and unburdened in a way I didn't think possible. Life is really very good. I am exactly where I am supposed to be, I am sure of it.
I've talked a lot about love and fate and destiny over the years, on the pages of this blog. I've shared my stories of how I've followed my heart and where it has lead me. I have lived some wonderful romantic real life fairy tales, and I am not trying to lessen those experience because I have a new, wonderful love.
Those stories were real, and perfect and tragic, and everything else you can think of. But what I have learned is that life doesn't stop once you are settled down. As long as you are breathing, you are growing and evolving as a person, and sometimes that means moving on from one thing and on to something new.
The past was just a chapter in my personal story, and I fully intend on embracing all of these future chapters with an open mind and heart, and a head full of wisdom collected from the past.
There are so many opportunities to love and live and find happiness given to us in this life. Our only job is to keep an open mind and heart, learn what there is to learn, embrace those opportunities and allow ourselves to live fully without regret.
Life is too short for anything else.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
As we approach the end of the second to last Summer of your childhood, I've had a lot of time to reflect on the last 17 years.
The Summer I was pregnant with you there was record heat in Seattle. It was miserably hot. I was working two jobs at two fast food chains, from 7AM to 9PM every day and only making $6.75 per hour. I remember days where my feet were so swollen after being on them all day, and it being so hot and me being so pregnant, that I could barely get my shoes off.
I remember turning 20 that August before you were born and being grateful I was no longer a pregnant teenager. I remember thinking that 20 sounded so much older and more grown up that 19, and for whatever reason, this small change gave me comfort that I was going to be OK. That WE were going to be OK.
And we were...
Now I have the advantage of reflection. You are nearly an adult, I've raised you the best that I can, and now I am reaping the rewards of a job well done.
No, I don't think I didn't make mistakes. Those are things that are most glaringly obvious to me in my reflections. If I were to go back and change anything, it would be the following:
I would have given you chores. I just wanted to enjoy you so much, and for so long I was just a child myself, so it seemed somehow "mean" to make you work. But now I think I did you a disservice by not making you clean your room or making you do the dishes, because I didn't make these things second nature to you. Now you will have to learn to do these things, just like I did, when you have your own household someday. (My other option being that I can buy you a lifetime of maid service. I guess we will see how that one pans out.)
I would have let you experiment with your clothes and hair more as a child. When other kids were showing up mismatched and with bed head to the 3rd grade, I made sure you always had a perfectly matched outfit and pretty hair. I was trying to give you what I didn't have growing up. When I was a child, I was always envious of those girls who came to school every day looking all pulled together. After a childhood full of brothers and ill fitted little boy hand-me-downs, I just wanted you to be the pretty little princess that the little girl in me had always wished she could be. By doing all of this for you, I feel I didn't give you a chance to experiment with your own sense of style, and now you prefer to keep it as simple as possible. Which, I guess in a way is your style, but I still feel like I should have given you that opportunity.
But those are simple things. Those are things that if you had been raised by two parents in a house, with a yard, and a white picket fence, you might have learned. But if those are the only things that I look back on and think that I have somehow failed you, then I feel like I've succeeded, and I have faith that those struggles will be simple things for you to deal with in the coming years. (Worst case scenario, when your house is a mess and you feel overwhelmed, you may feel free to blame mom for always doing everything for you, or call her and she will come take care of it for you!)
We have succeeded in more ways than I can count. You, my sweet, wonderful, most brilliant little girl, are the best daughter a mom could ever ask for. You, who still holds my hand in public, who has never told me you hated me, who tells people I am your best friend, who never went through a boy crazy phase, or a "mom knows nothing" phase, or an experimental drinking/drugs/sex phase, who isn't embarrassed to introduce me to her friends, and who never had a public temper tantrum and needed to be carried out of a store kicking and screaming. You, my beautiful little girl, have been a pleasure to both raise and to grow up with.
You have this amazing and strong mind that surprises me a little every day. You are stronger and smarter when it comes to matters of the heart than I ever was. It took me nearly 35 years to get that wisdom that seems to come so effortlessly to you. I'm certain you have taught me as much as I have taught you.
You don't put up with BS, you speak your mind in a way that is strong and concise but not mean. You know how to be empathetic without getting overly involved.
You have the most amazing ability to never let drama stick to you and to walk away from bad situations and make good choices. You have never battled with addiction or drug abuse or peer pressure.
You have never given in to the cast system that seems to plague so many high schools. Cliques and popularity have never meant anything to you and you have a healthy group of smart and interesting friends.
You can walk up on a stage and let your freak flag fly unapologetically in a way that I could never and still cannot do.
You are your own person, who knows your own mind, and who carries herself with a lot of grace and maturity that most teenagers (and most adults) do not possess.
My sweet little girl, I am so happy I am your mother. I am so proud of who you have become. I have loved every minute of watching you grow up and I love and respect the adult person you are becoming.
I have only the following wishes/advice for you:
1- Be strong, but don't be jaded.
2- Love someone with your whole heart at least once. If he breaks your heart, don't let it break you. If/when the time comes to walk away, do it with grace and don't be afraid to love again.
3- Choose your friends carefully, they become your family when you are older.
4- Don't ever be petty.
5- Choose very carefully what you want to do for the rest of your life. Take your time, don't rush into anything.
6- Don't grow up too fast. Enjoy every phase of life, they all fly by and you will miss them when they are gone.
7- Always know that you are loved more than anything else in this whole wide world.
and the most important rule of them all,
8- Always listen to your mother. (Or at least pretend that you are.)
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Please check out this new Elliott Smith song that I've been listening to all morning long on repeat.
It reminds me of why we create art, music, children... it leaves echos of us behind after we are long gone from this place.
In that instance when you hear an unreleased Elliott Smith song, are standing in front of a Picasso, watching a movie starring River Phoenix, or see your daughter smile in a way that looks exactly like your grandma whose smiles you miss so much, those are the moments where we are immortal.
This is what drives us to create.
This is why we are artists.
It is not the only reason, and probably not a reason we would typically, openly consider. It is that quiet push that makes you pick up the guitar suddenly and strum a series of chords, and not stop until you have an entire song completed. It is what makes you fill a blank canvas, spilling all of your emotions of that very moment all over it in a series of colors and shapes.
We are recording pieces of us in a moment. Capturing who we are right now because we will never be that person again.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
"Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were."
I saw this quote and it really resonated with me. I've been witness to some pretty horrible behavior over the last month and it was hard for me not to be angry with the person responsible. When you see someone you care about being put through the ringer by someone who is clearly suffering from some kind of mental disorder, all you want to do is grab them and shake them and ask them, "Why are you so very crazy? Can't you see what you are doing here?"
But the reality is, arguing with the crazy people of the world will only leave you frustrated. The truly messed up will never realize that they have only themselves to blame for their own problems no matter how many fingers they point.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
On my drive home from work today, I was stuck in traffic, watching the light in front of my car changing again and again, moving approximately one car space forward at every interval. I started thinking how familiar this felt to me. I realized there are huge spans of time in my past where my life felt exactly like this.
It is only when I’m carving my own path, choosing my own roads, and not following someone else’s ideas of who/what I should be or be doing, that I don’t feel like I am at a standstill. I am not waiting on some outside influence to tell me when it is OK to move forward.
I love being my own person. I will never take that for granted again.