‘Tis the Season to Stop Being a CRYBABY!

Last night I felt so sorry for myself. Around midnight, I wormed my tired body under the bed covers and cried myself to sleep lost in the reflections of my day… I don’t mean to depress anyone, especially during the joyful holidays, thankfully this morning I was pulled out of my self-absorbed slump by a smack of sad reality. I had an awareness of how life actually exists for some people as opposed to the idealistic notion of what life should be or could be. If you’re interested, I’d like to share  a bit about that realization…

Saturday, December 7, 2013:

I woke up around 6:30 a.m. After thirty minutes of “snoozing” my alarm, I finally crawled out of the uncomfortable guest bed in my house. I no longer sleep in the bed I shared with Michael. For the past three months, I only go into our room to change and get ready. Our bed is now covered with piles of clothes I’ve decided not to wear. (Hey, I intend to find hangers and hang them back up in the closet one of these days!) The decision to stop sleeping in that room is a step I’ve taken to try and heal… move my life “forward,” you know? (It’s going to be almost two years soon!)

I gave my Buffy a pet on her head and told her I loved her. I filled her food up and made my way downstairs to find Lola, my other roommate. Grrrr, I found her on the couch! I sweetly said, “Good Morning, Lola,” but I also lightly scolded her for laying on the couch because she knows she’s not supposed to sleep there. While I pulled her off the couch, I explained to her that she has to go outside to potty and get fresh air (even though I felt bad because it was such a chilly morning). I decided to “treat” her with wet food. She loves it. Truth be told, I was being lazy because opening a can of dog food seemed much easier than pouring a heavy bag of dry food into her dish. Did I mention it was cold?

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My two roommates… party animals, right?

After feeding two pets, it made me realize I should eat too. I looked in the fridge and felt disenchanted with the few options I had. Most of what’s in my fridge needs to be thrown out, however, I zeroed in on a “fresh” bag of Chocolate Bark Thins I had in there. I broke off a piece and skipped the idea of making a “real breakfast.” (This was the second morning in a row that I ate chocolate for breakfast!) I then sat at the kitchen table and spent about an hour working on the online class I teach. It’s almost the end of the semester for all three of the schools I teach at. I have to say, it’s been the most overwhelming semester of my career. I know I took on way too much this time but it was a conscious decision I made to keep myself distracted and busy. I blinded myself silly with work but now that it’s coming to an end, the blurry truth is coming into focus. I have really come to despise the holidays.

Breakfast of Champions

My second alarm went off at 9:00 a.m. Time for the gym! I recently got back to working out. My semester had been so busy I didn’t even have time for the gym. I had to put it off for a while. Surprisingly, I really enjoy working out. I take a weight training class that kicks my bootie but I like the idea that I’m building muscle. I guess I think if I get stronger physically, it’ll help me become stronger mentally. I’m not so sure that’s been the outcome but I repeat that to myself  when I feel like another bicep curl is impossible! I’m not the “strong” woman people are so kind to tell me I am but I do try my best to become that person. I truly believe working out helps me.

When the gym class was over, I checked my phone and saw that Deja had sent me a text message saying it was raining in L.A. I looked up and noticed it was raining in Lake Elsinore too! I love the rain but I always think it’s much better when you’re able to enjoy it with someone you love. I rushed home to let poor Lola back in the house and made myself a protein drink. I took another futile look in the fridge and wasn’t surprised that nothing new magically appeared but I was surprised the Chocolate Bark Thins had lost their appeal. “I’ll eat later,” I told myself.

I still had work to do but working from home has never proven to be very productive. I can usually think of work that needs to be done for the house that will take me away from doing the work that needs to be done for my job. I stayed in my stinky workout clothes and drove over to the empty high school to focus on “job-work” for a few hours. I got a lot done but after one of the custodians came in and teased me about “doing free overtime,” I decided to wrap it up and go back home.

When I opened the house door, I heard Lola’s tail thumping on the couch. She was wagging her tail that I was home but too lazy to jump off the couch to greet me. I looked at her disapprovingly but decided to let her enjoy the comfort of the couch. I thought, “Does it really matter?” Lola’s pleasure in life is laying on a couch. Who am I to keep her from being comfortable and happy?

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Who can resist those sweet beagle eyes?

At about 4:00 p.m., my tummy grumbled. I took yet another fruitless peak in the fridge. I tried to remember the exact words to this quote: “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein. Yep, I’m certifiably insane. I sat back at the kitchen table and looked at the work I needed to finish… I felt ornery and thought “screw it!” I went upstairs to shower, get dressed and tried to think of something I could go do by myself. See, I know I have friends and family I could call and ask if they want to hang out but I’ve been trying to get comfortable with being by myself. I haven’t been by myself for a while. I  had a “friend” that I spent a lot of my time with after Michael had passed. He was a great guy who would make cookies with me, spend time with me, comforted me when I needed it, and encouraged me eat real meals. He helped me not feel so lonely. Unfortunately, I think trying to establish a relationship with a heartbroken-widow took its toll on him. I don’t think I’ll be seeing him around anymore. It’s sad but I can’t imagine how challenging it must’ve been for him to try to be with a woman with so much unresolved grief and unrequited love for another man. Life is cruel.

Around 6:00 p.m., I drove to the shopping center in Corona. I started a little shopping but seeing all these people out as couples or families kind of bummed me out. I gave up on shopping. I walked over to Starbucks to get a Peppermint Mocha and a cup of fruit. My first “meal” of the day! As I sat by myself at a table outside, two guys walked by and joked, “By yourself?” I nodded yes and looked down at my phone. I’m not sure if they were trying to be flirty or if they were just being friendly or if they were just drunk, I just know I wanted no part of any of it. I put in my earphones and looked over at the adjacent theaters. Wondering what was showing, I walked over and saw that “Old Boy” was playing. Michael and I both loved the original Korean version of that movie. I wondered what Michael would’ve thought about Spike Lee doing a remake. The showtime was perfect and I decided to go see it. This was the first time I had ever gone to the movies by myself. It really didn’t feel that weird. I think it helped that I was the only person in the theater when I arrived.  I chose the very back row. A couple came in a little after and sat about four rows ahead of me. Once the previews began an older man walked in and asked “What’d I miss?” None of us answered him. He sat closer to the front of the theater but once the movie started he got up and sat in the row in front of me. WHY?! People always do that! There’s a whole empty theater and you decide to sit RIGHT in front of me? Grrr…In any case, the movie was okay. As soon as it was over, I really wished I could talk to Michael about it. He was the best when it came to movie discussions! I was flooded with sadness and wasn’t ready to go home feeling that way. I decided to go to Barnes & Nobles until they closed.

Driving home I was consumed with thoughts like: “How did my life get here? How did I lose the life I loved so much? Why am I here by myself?” Geeze, what a crybaby!

Sunday, December 8, 2013:

I woke up this morning to just about the same routine as the days before. I sat down to work at the kitchen table but decided to check in on Facebook first (my guilty pleasure when I have time).  I noticed a group message. I usually ignore group messages but I decided to read it because it was from a man I respect. Donnie Brainard.

I met this man, Donnie, through my dear friends, the Dietz’s. Chester and Veronica made arrangements for Michael and me to see Motley Crue with them at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas.  At this time, Michael was very sick (about three months before he passed) and there was very little my dear husband would get excited about but MAN was he excited about this!? Before the show, we had a wonderful dinner at Nobu. Donnie met all of us there and generously took the bill for everyone. What a nice guy, I thought.

LV Motley Crue

Chester, Veronica, Donnie, Me, Michael

However, one of the things I really took away from meeting Donnie was that he had a family he loved with all of his heart. Most notably he focused much of his conversation on his daughter, India, that had very special medical needs. He shared his deep love for his little girl and expressed to us how much spirit she retained despite the daily pain she faced. Donnie was doing everything and anything to help India live a happy and healthy life. I remember looking in Donnie’s eyes and instantly recognized the same sad desperation I saw in my own eyes when I occasionally took the time to glance at myself in the mirror. He was being positive about her treatments and telling us how he would do whatever it took within his financial means to make her life comfortable and happy. He’s an amazing father.

This morning I read his message that his India was in need of an intensive surgery. I’m so sad his family is going through what they are going through. I am optimistic for them but I know they’re struggling in many ways. In his message, he was humbly reaching out for support. This man and his family deserves the graceful generosity of others right now.

I realize I’m not the only one experiencing “Holiday Blues.” But WHO are we to complain about how hard our lives FEEL when there are others experiencing how hard life IS. I try my best every day to temper the pain of losing my Michael. I know the pain I feel now is nothing compared to the days when I lived terrified that I was losing him and there was nothing I could’ve done to have kept him here one day longer without suffering. Reading about what Donnie, India, and his family is going through made me ashamed for feeling sorry for myself yesterday.

All I can say is to please enjoy the holidays with your friends and family. Be grateful for loved ones presently in your life and think fondly of the ones who once graced your life. Personally, I have to remind myself to not take for granted what I have despite what I have lost. I have come to believe life is all about helping others. There is comfort in reciprocal generosity and gratitude. Michael taught me that message in everything he did and he continues to teach me that each day he’s been gone.

Friends, if you are feeling giving this holiday season, would you please consider helping this family? Thank you so much.

Please read Donnie’s link below:
http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/she-doesn-t-deserve-this/114808 

All my love,

Michelle

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12 Responses to “‘Tis the Season to Stop Being a CRYBABY!”

  1. Linda Calvillo Says:

    Ditto and I love you DIL!

  2. whoa. just found your blog and enjoyed reading the raw truth of your heart. thanks for sharing. i just quoted you on a facebook status. bless your heart. i’m so sorry for your loss.

  3. At this time I am going to do my breakfast, later than having
    my breakfast coming again to read further news.

  4. Thank you for sharing this Michelle. Much needed.

  5. Today, while talking to my class about figurative language and analogies, I realized that the empty refrigerator I repeatedly visit serves as a metaphor for me! (It’s true writing is therapeutic.)

    I keep looking in this fridge expecting something that’s no longer there. I look over and over but it’s gone and it seems nothing else is appealing or will satiate me in the same way. However, I think I need to be grateful for what IS IN there. I have to throw out the things that are “bad” and make space for the things that complement what remains.

    Wow. It’s just a KitchenAid refrigerator! Maybe I’m reading too much into it! Haha!

  6. tracy podboy Says:

    this was beautiful…

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    definitely will come back later on. I want to encourage
    you to continue your great job, have a nice weekend!

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  10. Justin Bird Says:

    The adbots and lack of any posts in over a year are a bit sad, but I’m here to lift the mood with wonderful gloom. I dedicate this short story to Mr. Calvillo. M.C. rule the world.

    _____________________________________________________

    I don’t know why I do it. I don’t think it matters. Maybe it’s because I have only one more thing to lose. I don’t think it matters. Maybe I was justified in doing this. I don’t think it matters. Maybe something is wrong with my brain. I don’t think it matters. Perhaps I only think it doesn’t matter because there’s something wrong with me. I don’t think it matters. Yes, I think that must be the answer. I don’t think it matters. I like it.

    Content with my answer, I reach across the table and grab the severed head by its long, brown hair and stuff it into a duffel bag. A small smile creeps onto my lips as I zip the bag up and walk over to the decapitated corpse lying in a pool of blood on a tarp on the ground, and I fold the edges on both sides of the corpse over its torso to cover it up. One at a time. Nice and neat. Even. My smile grows bigger.

    I twist the tarp by the corpse’s feet, nice and neat, and reach for some duct tape to wrap around the twisted part of the tarp. Perfect. Nice and neat. I can practically feel my eye glisten with joy. I walk around to the neck and twist this end too, again wrapping tape around it. Fuck. The tape isn’t even. My smile vanishes. I angrily rip the tape off and throw it aside. I try again. Better. There we go. Perfect. Nice and neat. My mouth twitches.

    I unclip my tape measure from my belt and measure the distance between the two lines of tape, then wrap a new line at the half-way mark. Perfect. I repeat for gaps between the middle and the feet and the middle and the neck. Both perfect. Or are they? The one between the feet and the middle looks wrong. I measure it again. No, it’s right. I’m fine. I’m alright. My smile returns in full force as I clip my tape measure back onto my belt.

    I blink a few times, then look up at the clock. I should finish with this soon. Leo will be waking up soon. I spend a few minutes cleaning and putting away the knives, then I turn my attention back to the tarp. I open the door to the cool air outside, then turn back around, kneel down for leverage, and pick up the tarp. I’m grateful that she is smaller than me. I didn’t have time to cut her into smaller portions tonight. It would have taken far too long to measure out all of the portions.

    I slowly walk outside, encumbered by the relatively heavy corpse in my arms, and make my away over to the truck. I heave the body over my shoulder and it makes a thud as it lands in the bed of the truck. I hope the noise didn’t wake anyone up. I don’t want Leo getting into trouble. I don’t waste any time dwelling on the thought, and I walk back into the apartment to grab the duffel bag, then I lock the door on my way out. I climb into the truck and put the bag containing Clara’s head on the passenger seat before sliding the key into the ignition and backing out of the driveway.

    As I drive to my destination, I periodically glance down at the bag. Leo will be happier like this. She deserved this. She tried to cheat on him with me. She deserved this. I don’t think it matters. No. Yes. I blink a few times, then focus my attention on the road, no longer letting my eyes drift to the bag. We’re almost there.

    I pull up along the side of the lake and step out of the truck, quickly walking to the bed. I open the bed of the trunk and promptly grab the tarp and drag the corpse toward me. I can’t waste any time. I pull the body out of the bed and it falls to the ground. Grabbing the tarp again, I drag it over to the lake and roll it in, pushing it into the lake. I spend a short time worrying if the body will be found and if it will be identified, even without the head. I normally have  more time to plan these sorts of things, but this one just kind of happened. I wonder if she told anyone that she was visiting Leo tonight. I don’t think it matters. I watch the tarp holding the body float away, then I blink a few times before turning around and getting back in the truck.

    I open the bag and look into Clara’s dead eyes for a moment. Leo would thank me if he knew, but he never knows. I have always been looking out for him, but he never knows. I have been like a brother to him, but he never knows. I blink a few times, then zip the bag up and drive away. I drive further away from Leo’s apartment and take a turn down a dirt row into a small wooded area after about ten minutes. I park the truck, then grab the bag and step out of the car door. I walk around to the bed of the truck again and grab the shovel and I get to work.

    After I have finished digging a hole, as near enough to symmetrical as I can get it, I gently place the bag containing Clara’s head into the hole and begin to pile the dirt back into it. As I bury the last of Clara, I ponder on where things went wrong. I can’t understand it. Leo and Clara loved each other very much. They were perfect for each other. Why would she have done this to him so suddenly? I don’t think it matters. She deserved this. Leo would thank me if he knew, but he never knows. No. Yes. I blink a few times.

    I pack the dirt down, finally done, and I get back into the truck and drive away. I feel happy. I have always been there for Leo, ever since he was eleven. Ever since his mother beat him. I stopped her. I have always been looking out for him, but he never knows. I have been like a brother to him, but he never knows. I pull into the driveway and I turn the car off. I blink several times. Leo is waking up. I get out of the truck and walk over to the dumpster. I take the glove off of my right hand and I throw it away. I take the glove off of my left hand and I throw it away. I walk to the door and unlock it, stepping inside. Everything looks perfect. Just how Leo left it. Leo will never know a thing. I walk into Leo’s room and make my way over to the empty bed. I lay down and blink a few times. Leo is waking up. I close my eyes, and when they open again, they are his.

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