i may be back

I’ve been meaning to write.  Really, I have.  Often, I’ve even started writing in my head–only to change my mind when in front of the keyboard.  Why have I been quiet when there is SO MUCH to share?  Well, I suppose I’m digesting all of it still.  Settling in.  Getting my sea legs.  Being gentle with myself.

I will share all my odd observations and theories.  I will share my foodie discoveries and the photos.  I will bitch about traffic and how ridiculously hot it’s been in the south bay.  And how, despite pneumonia and asthma, I can actually BREATHE here.  I will share every misadventure including the one that just happened.  I might talk about work, too, and how all the crazy landed in my lap.  I’ll maybe talk about the illnesses…though that is still ongoing.  Hi, Prednisone, you’re nice.

When things are less crazy, I’ll also start a new blog.  One that will cover my new adventures with meal prep services; how I’ve been Konmari-ing the crap out of my living situation; DIY decorating hacks; adventures in cooking regularly again; and of course, travel–once I’m not sans car.

Oh, and there will likely be a whole tear-filled confessional about how unsure I was and how now I’m less unsure.  How now, I might just stay.  And how the feeling driving that initial feeling was a big whopper of a head blow from my childhood and how–oh, man–moving was totally worth it just for that.

(Hint: it has a whole lot to do with guilt and self-worth and the shit we settle for.  And facing the idea that you’ve been punishing yourself for a very long time for things you never deserved…and well, it’s time to stop).  All to be unpacked in therapy–eventually–after I find a doctor that isn’t a $50 lyft ride away.  Or buy a goddamn car.  Because seriously, sharing one is not really happening, given the commute times here.

I will likely start with the funny things and the observations.  Because those are easy.  And plentiful.  Because every 1/2 hour walk somewhere gives me more fuel.  Then I’ll probably tell you all about the move–and how not to live a total nightmare like we did while moving.  Because HOLY CRAP that sucked. And kinda still does.  But one day, the living room won’t be full of boxes.  One day, this will actually feel like home.

But–yep–I’m just not ready to write any of it now.  Mostly because I’m letting it steep.  What else does a girl do when she can’t find her TV?

Oh, yea–read.  But, um…can’t find books.

Which is why my Instagram is basically my cats being adorable 24/7.  That’s probably the best place to get in on this life of mine right now–other than Twitter, of course, which is basically Alma after dark.  ;)

Thanks for reading this far.  I promise I will write again soon.  Or at least post a photo of my box progress.

gone fishin (or something).

I’m alive, peeps. Yep. I know some of you were wondering.

I’ve been here a week, and I’ve thought about writing each day.  About the horrifying range of catastrophes that befell our move out of Denver…about the pneumonia and the hives and the hearing loss.  About the annoyances that come with settling into your home–when others settled first.  About my first trip solo downtown.  About our apartment.  About the emotions that just decided to surface today.  I thought about sharing photos, too.

But, right now, I still can’t really hear.  I still am coughing up lungs.  I’m still blotchy and red.  My stuff shows up on Monday, and I have no energy left for any of it–despite sleeping oh-so-much these past few days.

I’m not sure when I’ll share, or if I’ll ever even want to.  I’m processing all of it.  And much more.  But I will say just leaving was worth it.  I still have doubts, though.  And I’m not sure they’ll ever go away.  And I’m not sure about many things right now.

I’ll be back soon, I think, with stuff to share.  But right now, I need to not share so much.

all the bells are ringing

It’s been quite an ordeal, and today will likely be more of the same–and it may even bleed into tomorrow.  But, today is the very last day I’ll spend in our Denver apartment.

I’m godawful tired.  Like tired to degrees I didn’t think I could be tired.  And there is still a frightening amount of work to do–some of it very difficult emotional work.  This morning, I felt a lot of emotion.  I found myself writing this on social:

“I’ve had such a journey these last 12 years of living at the corner of 12th and Race. Across two homes. Many relationships. Few careers.

So much grief, love, joy, and most of all healing. I came here a month after my mother died. Cheesman loved me & took me in. So grateful.

Thank you, dear friend. Thank you, beautiful park. I will miss your doggies and the weeping willow. And your celebration of outcasts.”

I posted that, and a few minutes later, I heard a cascade of church bells.  In the 12 years I’ve lived on this corner, I never once heard a church bell.  We are blocks away from any church.  And yet, there it was–one last hug from this place that held me so often when I needed to be held.  I burst into tears when I heard them.  And as I write this, I am crying again.

The heart of this emotion right now is utter gratitude.  I’ve always loved the idea of letting things go with a grateful heart.  And that is what I have right now.  We are a week away from leaving, but my heart is overflowing.

on not saying goodbye

I’m horrible at goodbyes.

They haunt me.  I hate them.  So much of my life has been regrets about not embracing them.  Mostly because I hate letting go.  Or life is so crazy and overwhelming that it just goes too quickly.  Or the completely unexpected happens.

And there you are.  Holding her shoes.  And you never have another conversation with her.

When I decided to leave Colorado (and it was clear it was actually happening this time), the one thing I decided I had to do was say goodbye to my beloved soulmate.  To my childhood.  To my parents.  To all the people I’d been.

I made plans–many plans–for roadtrips–to write documentaries and write a love letter to this place that held me so close for all of my life.

Only change happens and the places that were special disappear.  And cats get cancer, and you spend your entire savings trying to save her…and you win…and then have to take care of her–every day–making it hard to go anywhere when it’s just you.  And time just runs away–no matter how many postponements.  No matter how many good intentions.

So, I didn’t write that documentary.  I decided it needed more time.  And this wasn’t forever.  I could come back–do it right.  And I didn’t go on any roadtrips this year.  Instead, day in and day out, I nursed this sweet girl back to health.  And she is so good right now.  Cancer free for almost 9 months now.  Diabetes regulated.  IBS in check.  Holding.  And while I was always packing or purging or cleaning in these months, I was also procrastinating the big things.  Carefully avoiding the things that would inspire too much emotion.

I wasn’t ready.

I so often am not ready.  Not for goodbyes, at least.  With every single move of my adult life, I am always the one packing frantically as the movers knock on the door–or doing it all by myself–failing hard and realizing I need to hire some help.

But always holding on till the very last minute.  Always pulling my best impression of Wonder Woman.  And it always works out.  Even if my entire body ends up bruised–and I lose a toenail.

This time, we had so much time.  But when I started this journey, I didn’t realize how much would change.  How hard it would be just to keep up with my life–to practice daily self-care and be kind to myself.  I didn’t expect so much change, and change is overwhelming–even when good.  I found myself paralyzed often.  I had no good excuses and plenty of good intentions.  And oh, how I knew that I would kick myself so hard for not tackling this early–for waiting and putting so much more stress on myself.

And when I criticize myself, I am the worst kind of unkind.  As a people pleasing, perfectionistic control freak…in recovery…well, trying.

But then Sunday happened.  And it was exactly what I needed.  Permission to go.  The grief I’d been processing suddenly lifted and I felt the kick in the pants I needed.  And ever since then, I’ve been pushing–getting an amazing amount done…but still avoiding a few key areas.  At first, I felt so much better.  And then, yesterday, the anxiety built up and I found I was utterly spent.  It was an emotional weariness–not physical.

Work has been particularly crazy this week.  And packing before work, at lunch, and until 1 am when I get up at 6 am has been hard.  But work itself has been stressful as I’m holding down the fort.  My beloved coworker’s water broke yesterday at barely 28 weeks and she welcomed her sweet baby–who will be in a NICU for a while.  I’m holding her stuff together, along with my own, and also pulling lead duties while helping a desperately struggling account that keeps getting worse.  The amount of mental effort of all of this along with processing this move has just felt like too much.  Add to that the fact that all these things here had a deadline of later this week–when my roomies would be here…and needing my help with their stuff.

Tonight, it just became so apparent that I was heading toward paralysis and a breakdown if I didn’t practice some radical self-care–quick.  I knew I had a dental appointment tomorrow and I might be in pain after.  I knew I was already sick from overworking myself.  And I realized all these deadlines were mine.  That the only reason I had to do any of this by that unreasonable date was because I was trying to make room for goodbye.

And it just became really really clear.  I didn’t need my goodbye.  Self-care was more valuable to me.

A long time ago, after years of not visiting my father’s grave, I went finally and realized he wasn’t there.  His body was–sure–but my father had never once left my side in all the years since his death.  I was reminded of this every time I lost my keys, whenever there was a crazy storm, and by the rainbow he delivered the day I scattered the last of Mama’s ashes at Never Summer.  Oh, and the countless times I legit should have died and didn’t.  On his death bed, my father told my Mama he would never leave me.  He kept his promise and I’ve been so grateful–even during the years when I still hated him.

When I scattered my Mama’s ashes, the wind carried her across the meadows of Never Summer.  I have no doubt she is all over Colorado, and for me, everything here reminds me of her.  Though I rarely feel her presence in my life–like my father–she shows up sometimes in my dreams.  But the reality is my mother is the heart I wear on my sleeve.  She is so much of who I am.

We have these memorial sites where we go to pay our respects.  These places that remind us to remember those we’ve loved.  But I’ve never needed a reminder.  Every day of my life, I am my parents’ daughter, and I’ve only got to look in the mirror to visit them.

The funny thing is that this whole thing–all of this anxiety led me to one of the biggest lessons of my life today–and a newfound peace that I never expected to find.  All these years, I’ve regretted not saying goodbye.  But there is no real goodbye.  I’m stuck with them.  I’m stuck with the little girl I used to be–with the place I grew up in.  It’ll go with me no matter how far away from home I get.  It’s in my DNA.  It’s in my emotions.  It’s my lens.

It’s just another see ya later.  And I’ll always be back.  Even if it just means coming back to my heart and remembering where it started beating.

my colorado

(Deep, healing breath in…deep, healing breath out).

###

This morning, I woke up with a cold and asthma symptoms…took some medicine…and started on the morning chores–mentally setting a plan for my day and this week.

Basically…do my kitty stuff, eat some breakfast, and pack like a banshee.  No, really.

(I have till Friday to go through my entire bedroom and the bathroom plus the 1/2 bath and hall closet.  It’s going to be hard simply because my closet is a no man’s land, and that no man’s land contains every emotional landmine ever from old relationships and my parents.  I’m hellbent on purging, so some tough decisions will be made).

We’re in the home stretch.  Roomies will be here Friday and then more packing like a banshee will commence.  And then Sunday morning, I drive up solo to Never Summer, say goodbye to my Mama, and then drive out to Westwood and Fort Logan to say goodbye to my Daddy and my childhood.  Sunday night, we move out to a La Quinta Inn near Boulder and then, Friday morning, we drive to Durango, then Flagstaff, then Vegas, and finally home.  With three cats.  On a holiday weekend.

I told my roommate, I will likely ugly cry the entire way out of Colorado.  He questioned that.  8 hours?  (Really, Alma?).  And I assured him that it might go much longer.  But yes, it will be sobbing crying.  The kind that makes my face fall apart.

Because if you’ve known me in any capacity, in any part of my life, you know this about me: Colorado has been the love of my life–along with my parents and my kitties and a couple guys I used to know.  In the five years my roomie & I have lived together, he’s never seen me truly heartbroken.  I’ve only had two big loves–romantically–in my life…and losing them changed me in many ways.  Life does that.  Sometimes, it’s good.  Sometimes, it’s a learning process.  I’ve been in love and smitten–and seen those relationships fall apart, sure…but nothing that caused actual heartbreak.

When my heart breaks, I spend lots of time in dark rooms.  Sobbing.  Writing.  Sometimes, singing to myself.  Sometimes, talking to friends.  The last time, a great friend introduced me to Ted Talks and various self-help gurus.  Because he knows me and loves me.  I love hard, and when I let go–finally–of the things I actually love–it guts me…takes me a good long time to feel like myself again.  Even if what I need most is to lose that love–it’s hard on me.

Colorado, of course, will still be here to visit.  I’ll likely be back before Christmas–or by Easter, for sure.  But the me that comes back will be different.  Colorado is changing so rapidly–and not in good ways–a long, sad process that has left me heartbroken many times in the last five years.

Mostly, though, I’m leaving myself and all the people I’ve been…all the people I’ve lost…and wiping the slate clean.  I’ve been aching for transformation and new starts for so, so long.  So, all of it is good and exciting and full of joy.  But also completely full of nostalgia, sentimentality, and pouting.  Because why can’t it come with?

###

I changed my mind about breakfast and decided to treat myself to something just when the music started.  A live band.  A man on a saxophone on the corner.  I smiled, thinking, “Never change, Cheesman.”  And then more.  And I realized it was an event.  AIDS Walk.  I usually volunteer, but–this year–for obvious reasons–didn’t and totally forgot about it.  This meant road closures, so no special breakfast delivery for me.  I started making breakfast and walked out onto the balcony, dancing in my PJs.  I was not alone.  It seemed like everyone in my building was doing the same, cheering, singing, and dancing along to Paul Simon.  Soon, a crowd congregated on the empty street and people were legit dancing with one another.  It was one of those idyllic, beautiful moments of community that made me fall in love with Cheesman and made me adopt it as home in the years after I left Westwood.  This place where people supported each other and laughed and danced.  And loved.

I found myself bawling and laughing at the same time.  Incredibly happy to be part of it and sad to be leaving this place–that hadn’t changed as much as I thought.  It was as if my Denver decided to give me one last hug–to let me know it was okay to go.

I’m going to cry a lot between now and September.  So, if you see a freckly faced redhead falling apart in Cheesman–that’s probably me.  Feel free to give me a hug.  I probably need it.