Here Comes Susie Snowflake

It’s Christmastime!
I heard Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” last week. The season was official for me then. If I had any one of the ponchos that Grandma had crocheted for me when I was a kid, I’d still be wearing it around my waist like a skirt and prancing around the house to Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”! (The ONLY version worth listening to.) 
(Hmmm…I must have something…)
There’s something about Christmastime…  I love it just as much as my Birthdaytime—and I love my Birthdaytime. But my Birthday is a personal thing; I love having it all to myself (except for Gandhi, Groucho Marx and Sting—but two of them are no longer here, and the third did not send me a card. Still not bad company, I think). And it’s fair; keep one holiday to myself, share the other.
There’s magic in Christmas, and I believe in magic. Last year I talked about Christmas with a friend of mine, and wrote about a bit of my perspective after that conversation (Christmas, Like Life is Meaningless). I still feel that way; my slant today comes from the beginning of the season.
For those who want to “Bah Humbug” right away and immediately warm up to the common gripe that Christmas is too commercial, and too much about greed, and has lost its meaning, etc., I won’t disagree with any of you on that totally. But there is still so much more about it, and it’s that other stuff that I focus on.
Is there anything more exciting than that first feeling that Christmas is coming? The happiest music (even the sad stuff), and the lights…
I love the lights (oooooh SPAAAHKLEY!). One of my favorite things to do is lay under the tree, all warm under a blanket, and just stare up into the lights…
The collective mindset around Christmas time is more positive, and it’s palpable. Even the most jaded people can’t deny that—even if they believe it comes from foolishness (I always was a fool). But think about this: who appreciates Christmas the most? The children, right? Whose beliefs are the most pure? Theirs. Every single year there are new children being born, and every single year their parents put on Christmas for them. And they believe. They haven’t learned yet to water down anything, and their collective, unconditional beliefs will always overshadow those of the hardened, fearful, stressed-out adults, no matter who is in the majority. The purest magic is always the strongest. This is true of any day, really, but Christmas brings it all together at once. And even those of you who want to poo-poo anything I’m saying cannot deny that you do get even the tiniest happy tingle when you see a child’s eyes light up in wonder and awe at a special ornament, the lights, Santa…a light that’s magic all by itself. Sometimes it makes us remember when we used to feel like that—and even if the moment is quickly replaced by whatever we feel took that light away, we have remembered it for a moment. For that one moment we believed again, too.
I will say the same thing I said about my birthday this year: I’m not where I wanted to be by this age, I certainly have days where I’m upset that I don’t have what I want, I’m not financially secure, I wish I’d done better, blah blah blah, whine whine whine… and I’ve had my share of disappointments and tragedies (just like everyone else), but even that still never takes away from the excitement, anticipation and hope that I get this time of year. And it’s never stopped me from feeling it every other year (even if some years were a teensy bit more diluted). To be able to continuously feel that hopeful anticipation every single year says something to me; it says that no matter how…disappointed I may feel at any other time (and I’m not talking in terms of material possessions or gifts—at any point throughout this piece of fluff), I still believe…in everything. And the fact that it keeps coming back every year means that I never fully lose it. Which also means that my life can’t be that bad, can it?
Of course, I may have just programmed myself to believe that by listening to Andy too much. But even that’s not a bad thing. Repetition is what helps people learn…or allows them to become brainwashed, desensitized—whatever (even that is a type of learning). Yes, that is a bit of a downsized generalization—but it’s true. We tend to focus on the less positive side most of the time, but it works on the other side as well. That’s how children come to believe what their parents believe, how we learned our ABC (next time won’t you sing with me), the reason affirmations can work, how those of us growing up on Sesame Street learned to count to ten in Spanish, and how we learned Jenny’s phone number (you just sang it, didn’t you?)…if something gets drummed into your head long enough, it becomes a lesson, a belief, a reality, a truth.
Christmas gets drummed into our heads, too. And the first number of beats we hear are positive, over and over and over. This type of repetition is never bad. Wanna talk about affirmations? What words do we see everywhere at Christmas? JOY. HOPE. FAITH. LOVE. BELIEVE. REJOICE. Simple reminders of the good that we may think we skip over with our “Christmas is too commercial” attitude that our subconscious notices still. A type of programming? Maybe. In this case, so what? It counteracts the negative. A good message is a good message, no matter where it comes from.
Many people believe that people are nicer at Christmas (I didn’t say all), and that’s a good thing, too. It encourages more people to notice it when it’s happening, and to be nicer, too. It’s as contagious as a smile is. The more it happens, the more it will happen. Take the smile wherever it comes from.
And I will continue to inundate myself with the lights, the music, and every single variation of “A Christmas Carol” ever made (“Why? Because I like liiiiife!”). It makes me feel good. I treasure being able to feel this way.
Keep hope. Have faith. Be nice. When things seem dark remember that lights shine their brightest in the darkness.

And the lights are SO pretty…

Thank You

Happy Thanksgiving!

I apologize for that picture, but I find it fitting in so many ways, reasons I will not share and instead keep in my head. You may be thankful for that!

I am very fortunate in so many ways. I am thankful for so much, even if I can’t seem to be as big a person as I’d like and say that I am thankful for everything. But I’m trying. (Fuck you, Yoda! There is “try”!)

This is an incredible outlet for me. I’m thankful for being alive during this time to have this option.

Thank you to the Universe. I will try to be more grateful (do I have to repeat myself, Yoda?)

I want to thank you. Thank you for stopping by. For wasting moments of your life you will never get back. For being brave enough to stare into the abyss. For thinking I’m ridiculous. For commenting on my ramblings. For agreeing with me. For disagreeing with me. For not complaining that I swear too much (this doesn’t apply to you, Mom). For not telling my father I talk about him.

Just, Thank you.

On Putting Out

I am changing. These changes I’m going through have begun to alter what I put out in attitude, in appearance, in being…and of course what I write. My writing itself hasn’t changed, but my inner privacy settings have. I have let out more of myself in the past number of months than I ever have before. It’s been scary, I have to admit. The shame I felt regarding full (fuller, at least) acceptance of myself still makes me hesitate before I hit the “publish” button-of-no-return on this blog. And, still, what is the hardest to let go of is what I feel the most necessary to be put out–don’t get any crazy ideas of reminding me what other things I need to “let go” of. I already know. One thing at a time, dammit!

There’s a funny shift that goes along with the type of change I’m experiencing. People that know me a little are getting to know a newer me; people that know me well enough are seeing what appears to be a reinventing of myself—but it’s not: it’s just me being more real—and people that know me really, really well just still continue to put up with me (I LOVE you guys!).
To those in the middle, those that know me and thought they had an idea of who I was, these differences are more noticeable to them.
Let me state for the record that this began a few months before the ‘blip on the screen’ that has happened recently. Not that that hasn’t had any effect on things, but it wasn’t the original stimulus. The original push came when I got the job that I have now, as a copywriter. The one that gave me my first pay check for using my own words. Even if the subject matter is not of my own choosing, I am writing about it and getting paid to do so. A paid writer. The first step. I’m still digesting that. It changed how I was identifying myself. Slowly, yes, but it was making me consider myself differently. I’m working from home, too. Since then there’s been yet another slow evolution of the set-up in my apartment. The first few came from the hokey-pokey residence of my older daughter—sometime she’s been in, sometimes she’s been out, and now she’s in…and shakes it all about. (You know I had to finish that!). The change in my schedule has been extreme, as well. I’m realizing daily how much of a difference there has been and how much there can be. It is still amazing when I really sit back and think about it. Blip notwithstanding, adjusting the sails has been a daily process for me.
Back to the funny shift I mentioned earlier: part of the butterfly effect of my dance along the edge of my own chaos has not only been my perspective of myself, but the reaction it causes.
Which brings me to my subject of putting out.
I’m not trying to show anyone a ‘new’ me, like enforcing an image, nor am I trying to create some type of reaction in anyone; I am letting go of my own limits. I will try to fly. And I will fall (obviously now with a bigger audience, since I’m letting you all in—I hope you have your popcorn ready). And I will try again.
I’d mentioned a ways back about the new treatment I’d been getting; some people treating me with kid gloves as if I were something fragile and some people horrified at things I revealed. I think I find that second reaction the funniest. Because I’d been thinking about that (and talking, too). To some, my change began and is a reaction to the aforementioned blip; that I’m using this as a sort of ‘tool as a woman scorned.’ Nope. That just happened to be the first event since things started changing for me, and therefore, the first that has been revealed. I’m expecting to do many more stupid things–and write about them, if my past is any precedent. Just wait.
But what this got me thinking about is all of the books I’ve read and the songs I’ve listened to that I’ve really connected with—especially the writers of them. The faceless people I don’t know who’ve been able to articulate some emotion that I couldn’t. If you think about it, it does make it easier when you don’t know them, or know too much about them, doesn’t it?
One of the ways I used to communicate with my father most effectively was by writing him letters. I stood the best chance of him ‘hearing’ me through them, because he couldn’t see me ‘get emotional’ and shut me off. Sometimes black and white words on paper eliminate the mental clutter that can get between one person and another, or one person and many others. How much of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech would be really heard if it were delivered by Robin Williams using his “Mork” voice?
Have you ever tried to listen to a live speech and been distracted by an idiosyncrasy of the speaker? I know that if a word that is used over and over again is pronounced wrong or with a funny inflection, I get distracted enough to miss the point of whatever is being said.
So, now, some people are having a tough time with some of the things I’ve been saying, or some of the subject matter. They know me or the people around me that I may be referring to. It can be a little off-putting without distance, can’t it? If one unable to take that step back and be objective, any ‘message’ is essentially killed by the messenger, and instead of the resonance that can be felt in shared emotions, there are opinions made that there’s mud-slinging going on, dirty laundry is being aired or a situation is being set up where people may feel they are attempting to be swayed in a particular direction…either way, any real context is lost. The way I see it, good advice, shared comfort, guidance, a new perspective, etc., can come from anywhere. I don’t care if the person talking to me claims to be Elvis; if he has something that I believes is of quality to say or something that resonates with my soul, I will listen.
Every storyteller, every songwriter, every author and every artist leaks out something of the inner mess that they may be, to varying degrees. And when they were where I am right now, they were probably going through this as well. I talk/write about my own experiences; if I happen to refer to someone in (or out) of my life or a certain situation, the focus is still on me and how I’m feeling about it, reacting to it, or trying to work through it.
I have way too many favorite songs, and many that have just echoed through me during my life (even if I didn’t understand the subject matter when I was younger)—so, to keep this from being a novel I won’t mention any of them as examples (because I can’t just choose one or two). William Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhoodalways pops into my head/life at the oddest times, especially the verse made famous in Splendor in the Grass:
                “Though nothing can bring back the hour
                Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
                We will grieve not, rather find
                strength in what remains behind…”
Does it matter what he is talking about specifically? What prompted him to write that? No. What any of us get from any word or song or piece of art is personal to us. Any comfort, feeling of unity or shared emotion comes from our own personal store of experience. And we are grateful for that. Where would we be if the people that put out books, music and art that soothed our souls in some way stayed silent or kept it hidden for fear being looked askance at by ‘those who know them’? I personally don’t know how I would have made it this far if there were no music to comfort me.

I’m not saying I’m here to do any of that for you, either. And I’m certainly not selling anything. The only thing any of us have to offer is ourselves at our most authentic. That is what I’m trying to be. I may fuck up (I bet you thought I’d make it through just one blog without that word, didn’t you?), but I will keep trying. 
And that is what I’m putting out.

Yeah, I Remember.

I came out and admitted I was a writer, and have been enjoying and embracing the little ‘confirmations’ I’ve been getting along the way, even though some of them aren’t as fun as others.
Writers and artists are the record-keepers, the keepers of time. We remember things…things that affect us, that touch us in some way. It’s even hard to explain why they touch us, because sometimes it’s not the obvious black or white feelings that stand out. When I write about the past, my family and friends sometimes wonder how I remember so much—when I’m arguing with someone, they hate that I remember so much. And I’ve been kicked out of many trivia games (especially the family Christmas games at Mom’s house!)
What I remember and why I remember has nothing to do with intention. I don’t try to remember, I just do (when I try, I have to write it down—and pray I find my notes again, later!).
To those I’ve argued with, believe me, what I remember is just as much as a pain in the ass to me as it is to you! The strongest memories always have the most feelings attached to them. Duh. But it really is worse for us. Associations between words, emotions and situations are stronger. They say writers experience life twice. That is true, because in writing we are reliving it all over again. But it’s actually more than that; it’s not just the experience and then the writing of—there are so many fucking revisions involved. And even the smallest things can trigger these moments of remembering; a word, a sound, song, smell, an outfit, the weather…anything. When something triggers a happy moment, life is great. We’ve all had those moments where we’ve been surprised by a memory of something (“What ever made me think of that?”), but it happens to the record-keepers more. And in odd circumstances, the mood can be felt before the memory returns—whether or not this is fortunate depends on the memory. There’s a sensation of feelings and…I don’t know…and the sensory associations of the memory settle on you, and you feel the memory before you even remember it.
I’d been feeling…something these past couple of days.
–I’ve already admitted I have issues, so we don’t have to get into that!
But it’s been sort of nagging at me. It can be hard to explain sometimes. When I have something I want to write about, it is front and center in my head and until I get it out it can interfere with anything else I have to do (actually, everythingelse). People think I’m extremely scattered at times—I used to think that, too—but I’ve realized that when I seem to be my most scattered, I’m actually at my most focused—but on something else, onething, whatever that thing that my mind is working on (or out).
I’ve been scattered outwardly the past day or two (more than usual), and I’ve noticed it, but I couldn’t find the point of focus that I knew was there. There were those “on the tip of my tongue” moments, where I could almost figure it out…and then I’d lose it.
My friends and I have been discussing the idea of ‘signs vs. coincidences’ lately because of something that had happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I believe in signs. I do not believe in coincidences. The way I see it, you can’t believe in both; it’s either one or the other. I get signs all of the time—not that I always understand them at the time, mind you. Usually, it’s not until much later that I get a clue. My experience two weeks ago was a short period of many signs at once. Tonight, I realized another a wallop of one that I did not see that day.
Twenty minutes after that, I remembered
–Even if it’s a memory that does not bring a good feeling, there is at least five minutes of elation: that’s why I’ve been feeling like this!
But then you are stuck on the memory.
A year ago yesterday, something was reintroduced and the idea of a promise was planted.
It’s been a year, from the tiny seedlings of intrigue, to possibilities…to nothing. On the plus side, a solid time frame gives it a sense of an end, and sometimes that is a good thing. It helps a little, anyway.
At least now I know why I’ve been feeling this way, and that is also good.

That’s why I’ve been feeling like this!
(Whew!…?)
So my store of useless knowledge may have beat you in a game and my ability to remember statements verbatim may have pissed you off.
But I can also remind you of something you forgot that makes you smile.
I have to hold onto that last thought. Because sometimes, too, I think you got the better end of the deal.