It has been… A YEAR. I say that with capital emboldened letters here because this year has brought both incredible growth, happiness, and adventure but also so much sadness and self contemplation for me… It’s been almost a year since I started this glitter-filled blog, full of recipes and loves and personal reflections; back when I first began I couldn’t have imagined where this year would bring me… Just when you think you know a thing or two about life, just when you think you’ve got a thumb on a few things; suddenly and inexplicably, life says “OH NO YOU DON’T!!!” The really interesting thing about that for ME is, even with the knowing of the trickery of life, it can and will throw a curve ball at you when you least expect it… Life can STILL, and I can only assume always will, surprise you in both amazing and devastating ways.
This blog entry, for me, is more therapeutic, so you might not find in it’s words, my usual upbeat ponderings, at least not overtly upbeat… So, if what you are looking for here is more of the same, I would say “STOP NOW!!!” That’s the beauty of the blog, YOU decide if it’s worth reading today or not! I will proclaim that in my humble opinion, blogging, writing, and even sharing troubles with a friend is one of the best ways to recapture your personal happiness… “A trouble shared is half the trouble.” Because let’s face it, even someone who spends copious amounts of time trying to find their own happiness as well as others can get down every now and then… and this Queen of Glitter has been feeling all sorts of shades of blue! I have been meaning to write this blog for the past 8 months, no better time than the day before the start of a new and fresh year!
The beginning of this year marked my very first adventure to another country… Where? Cabo, Mexico… Not very far or exotic from the beautiful Northern California surroundings I am usually in… But I loved it. For the first time I realized, well not realized, but saw and smelled and tasted how rich the world is. How amazing people are and it was with that first trip that I knew there weren’t going to be many places I wouldn’t want to adventure to if given the chance.
Next we went to New Orleans, I visited my grandparents in Texas, we did a trip to Disneyland, one to Maui, and most recently to Boston… The Boston trip was a follow up to our AMAZING DC trip last year, and again I felt so humbled, so blessed in that moment that I was able to go to these places. To see Plymouth Rock and an original tea chest that was floating in the harbor during the Boston Tea Party. These trips have left me with a since of history, not just of our own country and people, but of myself…
In the middle of all of this, I decided to open my very own business. It was a big decision, I had worked for someone for 13 years in the beauty industry and woke up one morning and just said, “NOW.” I think it was a combination of things that led to my decision. People had been telling me for years that I should do it, even my husband had asked me every year since I had known him. I can’t say EXACTLY what prompted the decision for sure, but once I made it, I was like a dog with a bone and worked my way through it… In our house we say “Put a pot on your head and run into battle” (you get the idea).
Can I please just say that was a lot of work? I really didn’t complain about it to anyone and I’m not complaining about it now, but I think because I just, DID it, it looked easier than it was, and I have to say emphatically, IT WAS NOT… There really wasn’t any TIME to complain, and anyways no one forced me to start my own business, I had no one to blame but little old me! 🙂 I spent my evenings researching (by the way, there doesn’t exist a list or book out there that outlines how to open your own business, so if you want to be a millionaire, think about writing that!!!) and my days executing. I was still working full time while I was starting my business and each day was like feeling my way through the darkness, but I had this truth in the back of my mind, “YOU CAN DO THIS!” (Not to mention a husband who always believes I can do anything) About 2 months after I made the decision to open my own mini spa, I opened the door to Treat and haven’t stopped since…
My business has been such a success, and God willing it will continue that way. It’s been hard, it’s been tiring, it’s been a learning experience and I have no doubt it will continue to be, but every month these amazing people and FRIENDS have filled my books and made it possible for me to pay my bills and make a living doing something I love. I just have to put in this post how thankful I am, how filled with gratitude and awe for the people who are in my life, the ones who support and uplift me. These amazing people who come to see me and hear about my life and tell me theirs, who trust me and are trusted by me. People who tell me their truths and allow me to tell them mine… These people who make my job more than just a job, YOU who can tell me a story, or a fact, or a piece of your life and impact how I live mine, how I see the world, to know that the simple act of sharing a kindness can change another persons life… How can I be so lucky and blessed to have you? Ok, I’ll stop gushing and continue…
So I’m sitting here listening to the Carole King pandora station because it reminds me of what I really want to say here… What I really want to put out into cyberspace without any expectation of return but just to finally put the words to paper and maybe where my life is right now in this moment is why I am finally able to do it…
In March, my Mom died.
My mommy died :(.
As I sit here writing these words with tears spilling out of my eyes. I breath the air in and hold it and what I want to do, what I have done is cry her name out. I’ve cried it alone and in the dark and in the shower and I’ve kept the pain a secret because there was so much about her that was dark, and painful, and abusive… But also, there was so much love and laughter and I can’t help but feel like the strength she didn’t possess had flowed out of her and into me… I only realize these things now, as I get farther way from her death, the more I think about her.
Shortly after my Mom died, I went to dinner with a friend who had lost her own amazing Father suddenly, a very different kind of passing than the one my Mom endured… What she gave me was a poem her Dad had written and a candle… She said “Not now if you don’t want, but sometime, this candle will be here with this poem and when you’re ready, you can light the candle and think or write or do whatever you feel about your Mother.” That candle has sat in my desk from that day to this, unburned but not unnoticed… I know it’s there, waiting, but some things are too painful and there doesn’t seem to be enough time and space to REALLY go through it, so each time I feel brave enough to light the candle, instead I refold the poem neatly back in and place the lid over the top. Sometimes I think I look stronger than I am, have to be stronger than I am… I most of us do.
The older I get, the more I realize that my Mother, My Family, the ones who I spent my entire life trying “not to be like” because of what my mother had become, the ones I felt like had mortally wounded me, the things I sought and still seek therapy for; that family of my youth really was, a great family. So much of my youth was about this wonderful family, especially the ones in Texas who are and have been just as good as any family is today… It’s not easy to be close when your so far away.
I am not giving my mother a pass. She was an alcoholic and it was very painful for me, still IS painful for me, so much so that I had to choose to not have her in my life. Let me explain. When I was a little girl, my mother and I moved out here from Texas… Of course I didn’t know why, but all I knew was that I was with my mom and that was all that mattered. When I was a tiny, my mother was IT, she was the Alpha and the Omega, she hung the moon and raised the sun. Many of my closest friends and even my husband don’t really know this because by the time I met most of you, she had gotten so sick and I was so tired of trying to save her… I had grown resentful and bitter and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t save herself… I had felt abandoned and isolated by the rest of my family because I alone had to shoulder the burden of my Mother… But it wasn’t their fault, not then and not now. My Mother put us as far away as possible so that no one could help her, and me, like a small town teenager could only imagine of the day I could escape my captivity…
But before all that, I remember watching my Mom putting on her blue eyeliner and drying her hair… I would put on her work jackets with shoulder pads and pumps and dream of the day when I would be just like her. I loved my mother. My mother LOVED Christmas. I’ve never known another person alive who loved Christmas like my mom did, and because of that, I’ve always loved Christmas too. Even when it was just her and I in a one room apartment, Christmas was ALWAYS elaborate and magical, and I don’t mean presents, it was the tradition of it all… I remember sitting, even in high school when she was sick with her disease but had a moment where she was just my mom, singing Christmas carols together. She would laugh and always knew every word… I’ll never be able to ask another person about those moments, they were ones shared between her and I alone…
At Easter, from the time I can remember until I moved out of the house, my mom would hide Easter eggs with me… I can see it in my mind right this moment, oblong spheres of pastel blues and pinks hastily hidden in bushes and pots with me complaining that I was too old for this and her just laughing and telling me if I was warmer or cooler… These are some of the very best memories I can recall, and so many more are coming to me as the days go by…
But, I literally waited my entire life for my mom to die. That’s an intense statement, but my entire life I waited for the phone call. When I was little I would cry at the thought, desperate and in despair that she would not be with me. No child should have to fear that, but I did. My mom would kiss me goodnight, every single night, I couldn’t even go to bed unless she did. Before I finally had to walk away from that house of despair, I remember her falling to the floor and me picking her up while saying “Mom, I am so afraid that you are going to die soon”… To which she replied as ever “Don’t worry about me, I’m going to be around for a long time.” Once I got older and she got so bad I secretly hoped that her misery would end, and mine too. I had such guilt over that feeling.
I realize now, and pretty shortly after I got the phone call, finally, that she had died that the anger I had felt towards her, the words of pain I had shared for her with others had been for me.
What I mean is, those words and feelings protected me, and I am grateful that they did because I had to be strong enough to walk away from her sickness… I thought I had lost all hope for my mother. I thought that I had accepted that I would never have a mother, I thought that I had mourned her when she moved back to Texas and sometimes lived on the streets… What I realized when my husband told me of her death was that somewhere, down at the bottom of my heart, there was a tiny grain of hope. There it was, still in there, and it burned like a searing white flame in my heart. That little flame is what caused the most pain after her passing.
I don’t feel the guilt that I thought I might have for how we left things, her and I. I really don’t feel that type of pain because where she is, I know she knows my heart, I know that she knows I loved her, love her still, and I know that she knows that I had to keep her at a distance from me and from the family I was trying to create with my husband. I want a good life, a full life with joy, not struggle… And I had to make that decision to turn my back not just on family, but on my own Mother. Life is hard enough without constantly fighting the people who are suppose to have your back, especially a Mother. I know that my Mom knows now that I had to choose my life, my happiness over hers, and I had to give her the freedom to do the same. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, and I wouldn’t wish that choice on anyone.
What has been amazing about my mom’s death is that so much of that “protection” has fallen away now. I am astonished, not only about letting go of so much of the pain and the forgiveness that has come, but I’m also finally able to remember some of the wonderful times. I think this is what causes me to oscalte between fondness and sadness.
I know now that there will never be anyone who loves me the way my mother did, even in her sickness. I think of her so often these days, mainly because my new spa is located near the area that I spent so much of my childhood, so many of the “Good Years” and I can see us, her and I at the grocery stores, driving down the streets… I see the cookies she loved, Sandies, the woman could eat an entire bag in one sitting… I can see myself rolling my eyes that every single time I had a problem with anyone it was because “they were jealous of me”, she always said that… I could never understand it, but it was because my mom really did always see the best in me. My mom thought I was so neat and beautiful and what I cry about now is that she did lose me… and I can’t beat myself up about that, but my heart hurts at the thought of her realization of that. I can’t imagine losing a child to death, but to lose one by choice…
I think some people think that I am the type of person that shares everything with everyone… The truth is, I’m not… I do hold things back and in, because some things are so sad and tragic that I just can’t imagine putting it on someone. Not long after my Mom died in March, I found out my Dad had died too… I really didn’t have much of a relationship with my Dad and so I didn’t cry about it like my mother, but it did effect me. I thought, OK, I’m 30 years old and now I have no mother and no father and I never will. I will never be able to ask my mom about what it was like to be pregnant with me or what I was like as a little girl. I would never have grandparents kin to me that might match the amazing ones that I had growing up.
My mother will never hold my child or look at me with a mother’s adoration, I’ll never be able to fold into her arms like I did as a child and be comforted the way only a mother can. I’ll never have those people in my court. I can’t say what it’s like to lose your parents when you are older or when you have children of your own or other familial relationships like siblings that are and live close and are empathetic and nurturing, especially since the rest of my family are so far away, but what I can say is that when you find out that you are the ONLY thing left behind from two people who ended their lives addicted and down-and-out, two people who left nothing behind, not a cent, or a ring, or a family album or heirloom, just you; it does get into your head. It’s a moment that makes you feel alone in a crowded room. I’m not throwing a pity party here, but I do think I am allowed a moment of pain in this tragic tail, this life changing moment.
It’s been something I have dealt with internally for several months, just letting little bits out every now and then to ease the pressure in my heart like tremors to release pressure in the fault lines. I couldn’t even bare to go to the funeral or gravesite, and I know it looked like coldness, uncaring to come people but… Even now the thought of her in the ground sends me into a panic. Instead, it comes out when I hear Carole King or James Taylor’s “You’ve got a Friend” or when I pull out the ornaments that I remember hanging on the tree with her. Death is so hard, it is soooo painful. But it’s also so beautiful. I have learned so much about myself since the passing of one of my dearest friends 2 years ago, and now my mother. I am so filled with joy that even though I may cry about her because of that hope that I didn’t know was there, I also have these memories that I hadn’t remembered for years. Maybe it is “rosie retrospection”, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
This Christmas has been especially hard for me. Not only have I missed my mother in ways I never thought I would, but my beloved grandmother was diagnosed with ALS, a disease that means she most likely won’t live for more than 5 years, and I don’t think it will be a peaceful time for her. I can’t speak with her on the phone anymore because the disease has taken her speech… I use to talk to my grandmother just about every day since I was 13. I miss her so terribly. Even though she would drive me nuts, besides my mom, she was the closest thing I had to a mother and I am devastated that I cannot help, that I will now lose this connection to myself, and I am devastated for her all at the same time.
With all this sadness I feel compelled to write about, now, at the end I want to say how dazzling I think life is. How wonderful my life is.
I have a husband who I miss the second he walks out the door, we have a happy life in spite life’s curve balls, and I know that I would not be where I am, or who I am today without his love and his support. He has been the one person in my life who has put the pot on his head for me and me alone, because HE sees my true heart and desires. I want to say that to the world, I think I tell him enough, but I want to say it here. You are my heart. You make me laugh so much and hold my hand and my heart when I am in despair and I hope that I do the same for you. Thank you for being there this year, my rough year, our rough year.
I also want to thank my friends. And when I write this, you know who you are. The ones who send me a text to tell me that they are there if I need them, the ones or who hug me and allow me to be me, crazy and emotional and so so full of love with so much love to give. Even the ones who don’t do those things often, but who I know would do anything if I would be brave enough to ask. Thank you for accepting my love and giving in back in spades to me. Thank you for reading this and being there and being daring enough to endure with me and for seeking your happiness with me… My next posts should be fun and light and fresh, and I just know 2014 is going to be amazing. I have hope:).