Can a person find happiness by chasing after it? I spent a good portion of my free Saturdays last Summer chasing happiness. I can tell you I never quite found it. Happiness truly is a state of mind. If you can’t find your inner peace, chasing after it is not the answer. I am tired of running towards empty things that leave me feeling empty. Situations, people and things that bring me no joy or peace. I find that the older I get the more I question myself about what I am really looking for. I want the quiet that comes after the rain. I want the peace of an early morning before anyone else wakes in the house. I want to feel like what I have in my life is enough. I must learn to be calm and in the moment on my days off from work.
I guess last Summer I was starting to believe the fairy tale I was tossing around in my head that I am old. My mother used to call me “Camille” because when I was a teenager I was over the top dramatic. I remember feeling like an outsider, and a misfit so maybe that’s how I dealt with those feelings by being a drama queen.
In my headspace old means not useful, needs assistance, not vital. I know, WHAT!?! It has taken me time (too much) to sort of settle back into the gal I know and love. I am going to try my damnedest to stick around for awhile. I have gone back to WWs once again because truth be told right now I need it in my life. I am not going to blog on endlessly about it. I am going to try not to obsess about every tiny morsel I eat but rather live my life without food as my jailer.
No, I am not talking about the Charles Dickens novel. The higher the goal you set for yourself the bigger the ladder you may need to reach it. I am sitting here in my little corner of the world slightly peeved. What is with the harsh amount of rain that I can hear and feel pounding my roof? I hate the RAIN. It makes me too introspective and gloomy. The only time I think I enjoy rain is on a hot summer night when the air needs to be refreshed. I am in a fowl mood. Yes, I said fowl. I really wanted to eat my favorite Friday night supper; grilled chicken breast with the grilled veggies and a pita. It is raining outside like Noah has been resurrected, sent on a mission to repopulate the world once the Almighty is done flooding evil doers into the afterlife. I won’t go out to my local pizza shop to get soaked just to eat chicken = ( So now I am grumpier than a two year old who refuses to nap.
I have realistic expectations of reaching my goal this time. I am trying not to let my good intentions get too far out in front of me. I am still making really good choices when it comes to my meal planning. I am allowing myself to be in my moments and enjoy the trip. I am rediscovering the person I have always been. I surprise myself everyday. I noticed for the first time today I can see my hands and face have slimmed down. Sometimes though I feel impatient, like tonight because it is raining. I want to rush through to the end of the story before all of the characters have been developed. WHY? I will get there when I get there. I am feeling more confident with myself. I feel younger than I have in a long time. Being really overweight made me feel worn down and tired all of the time. Now I feel like I could walk all day and dance all night. Go ME!
Every step I take brings me closer to my destination. I love the summer months.Summer brings longer days, brighter skies, adventure, BBQs, baseball, the heat, thunderstorms and humidity =( I hate humid days. It curls my hair and my mood. I feel like Velcro. I fish through my clothes searching for the most breathable fabrics I own. Any type of real activity leaves you feeling like a moist towelette you get from a fried chicken place. YUCK! but it’s Summer… so suck it up Buttercup!
When Summer slips into the months of August and the earliest parts of September I start dreading the coming Fall. I hate this part of summer. It is the time when I start taking inventory of what I have that fits versus what I have that I have grown out of. My recent past has been spent in turmoil over the things that I grew way to fluffy to squeeze into. I mean who doesn’t love a nosh at a family BBQ? or ice cream every weekend? even if it is at the expense( or expanse )of your waist line and your health?
This summer I am in the same exact situation but from a different perspective. I have been eating healthier, making the best choices I can. I have lost enough weight that most of my “go to” line of clothes floats on me. Oh no, I need clothes. I hate to shop. I am bad at it. Worry, anxiety, stress, tears … this moment is being interrupted by a feeling I have inside me that says, “it’s okay, you are doing great things for yourself. This is not a race. This is your life, live it on your terms.” I have taken inventory in my closets and dressers. I have clothes that I can wear. There will be no unplanned nudity from wardrobe malfunction. My hard work is beginning to pay off. I am learning to enjoy the fact that my clothes feel better against my skin. I no longer feel like I am being held hostage by my underwear. There is no pinching or bunching at the seams from any of my clothing. YEAH ME!
It has been a really long time since I have felt this relaxed in my own skin = ) Never give up on the person you are meant to be. Anyone want to go shopping?
Music has always been very important to my well being. Magical is the only way I can convey what it means to me. A depth of beauty many seek but only a few find. I discovered I could sing when I was twelve. I have near perfect pitch and recall. It sets me apart from other people. I am a misfit. I always have been. Music makes me feel like I belong. That somewhere just beyond my reach I am normal. I am well loved and wanted. During the empty years of my youth, before I left high school and ventured into the stark realities of adulthood, I spent most of my free hours singing all things Streisand. I found I could sing just like Streisand. Every note. Every inflection. Singing helped me feel less lonely, less unloved, less unwanted. Not everyone has a wonderful childhood. In fact, I bet most don’t. Yet we mostly survive. Scars only serve as a reminder of past pains and how to avoid them if one can.
Music and singing help me to deal with the burden of sadness that I keep well hidden from most. I learned to laugh to hide the tears, to sing instead of wail, to joke instead of cope. I have never learned to enjoy a moment, to be alive in the midst of something wonderful as it happens. When I sing my soul is at peace. I feel a freedom I don’t want to lose sight of. I am me. I am no longer that lost girl. I am that woman found. Everything seems possible and in an order I alone understand. When I SING I am every single thing I ever imagined I could be: beautiful, well spoken, intelligent. I sing to calm myself, to love who I am. Into everyone’s life rain will fall. Sunshine is always just around a corner waiting for its moment to shine. Sometimes I make my own sunshine by singing.
As the stream of hot water cascades down my body I begin to relax. The tension that I have been carrying around in my muscles begins to ease. I stand there with my back against the flow of water. The heat feels amazing and for the first time I cry. It rains in my shower. I am so sad that I can’t share my sorrow. I feel like I have no one to talk to. I have anger I don’t know what to do with. I feel defeated and small. Even when life seems to be moving along a set path the wind changes course and the path moves. Its subtlety goes unnoticed until it blindsides me. I try to pay attention as closely as I can. I am constantly making lists. Dad’s needs, hubster’s needs, my needs. What both households are out of. A list of bills to be paid, when to pay these bills when I can, if I can. The last eight years have not been an easy ride.
Dad’s dementia has pretty much been of a certain level. He is pleasantly confused. More often than not he is happy and a tad confused. He doesn’t know what day of the week it is. He doesn’t remember how my Mom or my kid sister died. My Dad thinks that they are out somewhere having lunch. Who am I to correct him? Ignorant bliss. In my humble opinion, this is the ONE blessing of dementia. On the other hand, he forgets my birthday, holidays, anything of importance. His reality is unlike those around him. His world is only about his wants, his needs, his anger. Dad gets angry. It doesn’t happen often. Usually it is over trivial things that have importance only to him.
I couldn’t find him. I called his apartment that morning on schedule. By 11:15 I was beginning to worry. I called the neighbor. The horror thoughts raced through my mind. Maybe he fell and couldn’t get up; maybe he felt faint and then passed out; maybe he had wandered off: maybe he died. After the fourth ring the neighbor picked up. She scarcely got out a hello before I blurted out, “have you seen my Dad today?” Yes she had. Right before my every morning call he had an episode of weakness and a sudden feeling that he was going to pass out so my Dad( king of can’t remember shit )dialed 911 unassisted. She had tried to get over to his apartment before the first responders came but they beat her to his door. She tried to reach me but my cell went straight to voicemail. After the third try she left a voice message of her own for me to call her ASAP.
The paramedics took him to the hospital ER and thus my life, his life changed forever. He was admitted with the possibility of a mild case of pneumonia. In all likelihood my Dad would be just fine after a few days of meds. He would once again return home to live in harmony with his altered reality. That, however; is not what happened.
My mother died June 11, 2007. I started taking care of my Dad the day of her funeral. Maybe that’s the day his soul gave out. He couldn’t handle that she passed. My Dad loved my mother with his whole being and when she died I think he broke. He has never been quite the same,not for one minute or one second of any day. As time marched on he got a little more forgetful, a little more fearful, a tad bit more frail. I took on more responsibility. I made out the grocery lists. I made sure his pills were matched out correctly. I made out the bills. I took him for haircuts. I took him to all his doctor appointments. I shopped for his clothes. (Yes I have great taste) I took him to church. Just me and Dad against the world. Until this last trip through the ER.
My father, whom I have cared for and loved and did my best to keep safe was being taken away from me. Okay so maybe that’s a little harsh. A case manager and a social worker at our local hospital felt that my Dad was now too frail of body and mind to be allowed to be released on his own recognizance and needed to be remanded to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To be placed in a facility with around the clock supervision. Yup, you guessed it, a nursing home.
I can’t lie. I have thought about it. I am getting tired. I am not Wonder Woman. I wanted to fight the good fight. I didn’t want to give up on the man who never gave up on me.
Does in rain in YOUR shower? It does in mine everyday.