i used to be social

So: Halloween.

Pretty uneventful around these parts.  I basically got a pizza with a cookie brownie thing and watched suspenseful dramas this evening.  I’d already watched Ash vs Evil Dead (YAY–SO GOOD).

Living in a large, secured apartment building, we don’t get many trick or treaters usually.  So I never have candy around here unless it’s for me.  (I have half a package of Twizzlers, which I’ve been working on for 7 weeks or so now).  The last time I had legit trick or treaters, I lived in Westwood.  My tradition, back then, was to stay home with my mother–watch horror films on TV (we didn’t have Netflix back then–and no cable) and pass out candy.  I was on door duty.  It was my favorite thing.  I loved asking the little kids who they were, and I didn’t even mind the big kids.  I’m pretty sure we were the favorite house because I’d give them fistfuls of candy.  The good stuff.

We have a few (very few) neighbors with kids.  Our nextdoor neighbor has a baby.  So, I got a couple visitors tonight–that I wasn’t prepared for.  I gave them blocks of cheese.  Because I had lots of cheese.  No candy.  I think mom and dad appreciated my cheese choices.  Apricot stilton is delicious on sweet potato crackers, BTW. Yay, Trader Joe’s.

While it was awkward telling the neighbors to hold on a sec while I searched for treats, it brought up a lot of great memories for me.  FB was even tolerable tonight–with tons of friends dressing up old-school with their kiddos.  I just love seeing the excitement and joy in kids’ eyes–how proud they are of their costumes and how cute they look.  I’m so impressed by how clever some of them can be.

I guess I was feeling a little down earlier–knowing I’d probably be hanging out alone tonight.  I didn’t sleep well and wasn’t feeling that well.  I like being alone–don’t get me wrong–but I’ve had a lot of alone this year–and I think I might not like it so much anymore.  I’ve been feeling crappy due to allergies, so decided against going out or going to parties.  And no kids.  I didn’t even get a pumpkin or decorate this year because everything is in disarray, and it would just be more to pack or deal with.  So, it cheered me up quite a bit to say hi to people.

I haven’t been all that social these last few years.  A lot of that has been because friends moved away or I had health issues or was busy with work or was around people who were sort of stick-in-the-muds when it came to festivities.

Since my mother died, Halloween has been the one holiday I really loved.  Despite how emotionally charged it was due to past events with my mother’s illness, I always felt good about having a good time and never seemed to feel bad like at Christmas.  I think it was because Halloween acknowledges death.  I was allowed to be whatever I needed to be.  I always felt a big connection to it as a kid–but as an adult–I really appreciated it and enjoyed it.  A lot of people bitch about how commercial it is, but–to me–there’s something kind of magical about it.

Even when my mother was sick, I celebrated it–while she was in the hospital.  I have tough memories there, but most of them are sweet.  I remember the parties I hosted with my ex and all the goofy crap we did together.  I remember the crazy pumpkin contests and how easy it was to laugh–even then.

______________________

I’ve been feeling a big shift lately.  Since my mother died, I haven’t been one to really celebrate anything.  Holidays, birthdays–anything.  I’ve cocooned into my very comfortable introverted life and let other people do those things.  I was happy enough.  I needed that quiet, I think.

Lately, with the move and generally feeling better, I’ve felt more inspired to meet new people and explore all my interests.  It’s even shown up at work.  I’ve been participating in all the kooky events my company hosts, and I’ve volunteered for tons of things.  I try to get out past my team and get to know everyone across the company.  I like not feeling so isolated.

San Francisco is so vibrant.  It’s inspiring.  So many different things to do and cool, interesting people to meet.  All brand new.  I want to take all the classes; join all the meet-ups; go to every coastal town; get back to running; take my photography & writing seriously again; and cook all the things.  I’ve researched all kinds of things.  I’ve decided that it would be a crime not to decorate our awesome apartment for absolutely everything.  I want to get out and explore.  I want to play in a way I never have been able to play.  And I’m realizing I absolutely can.  I’m healthy again.  I’m young.  I make okay money.  Nothing is in my way except me.  I want to get out of my comfort zone.  I want to find my tribe.

Part of me wonders why I didn’t do that here.  I guess I just didn’t want to invest in here anymore.  Since she died, I knew I couldn’t stay here forever.  I knew I had to leave.  I only ever stayed for her.  I got stuck.  When she died, even though I was totally free to go and do anything, I didn’t feel free.  I only felt the weight of the past and all the constraints I just accepted as mine.  I’m ready to stop.

For the first time in a long time, I’m excited about the holidays.  Like legit excited–like little girl excited.  I want to make all my own decorations.  I can’t really decorate this year, but I’m planning next year.  Even though I’ll probably be alone this year, I’m planning on cooking my grandma’s food–not a big extravagant meal but flavors that are warm and comforting.  I’ve started unearthing my old Christmas music collection, and I may dress up my cats.

I don’t feel weighed down anymore.  I don’t feel like I’m drowning in grief anymore.  Emotional?  Oh, Hell yes.  But more like in a vulnerable, hopeful way–not some awful, heavy way.  I just feel like laughing and smiling and being the person I used to be–letting the tears move through as they need to.  I love this beautiful life, warts and all–for all it has been, all it is, and all that’s coming towards me.

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