Dec 1, 2016

This Girl


This girl. The one with the lopsided pigtails. The one with the slightly crooked smile. I miss her. Sure, parts of her still exist within me. Her innocence. Her curiosity. Her empathy. And her innate need to always root for the underdog. Those things will never change.

But other things do change. It's inevitable...

I look at her face - smiling and proud - and I want to tell her so much. Be careful. Love hard, but protect your heart. Trust, but not too much. But maybe those are lessons we need to learn through experience. Maybe she needs to feel the pain and the loss in order to...what? Be who I am today? I smile, but not as much as I used to. I laugh, but sometimes I hesitate. I think way too much. I dissect people's words and try to decipher meanings when I should just accept them and the feelings they bring me.

These are the changes within me that I don't like, the ones I've been forced to face. The ones I'm working on reversing. It is difficult, and I truly have to work at it. The first time I caught myself laughing after my marriage ended was the strangest sound. It had been so long that I almost didn't recognize myself. Living in the moment is hard when you're waiting for the other shoe to drop. I tell Griffin every day to love hard. Take the risk because the benefits are so worth it! But I am not so good at taking my own advice. I hide behind my fear of rejection and my fear of not being good enough for someone again...and I hide behind my books, and writing, and words. It's safe here. But it's not what I want.

I want the laughs that come from your toes. I want to believe what people tell me. I want to shut off my brain and live in the moment. I want to open my heart and love hard, and not worry about rejection.

I'm a work in progress - we all are, really. It will take time and some work, but I have faith I will get there. And when I do...this girl will be whole again.

Nov 5, 2016

All the Feels



When Griffin was around three-years old, I used to say that he felt every feeling 100 percent. Love, anger, joy, sadness. Whatever he was feeling, it coursed through every fiber in his little body. I guess I shouldn't be surprised...he is my child after all, and I was the same way.

I guess I still am.

I don't know what it was about today, but man, I felt all the feelings. Maybe because it was a Saturday without Griffin, which meant that my house was silent. Believe me, I have plenty to do. There's writing, and laundry, and going to the gym. I have about a hundred books sitting in my bookcases that have yet to be read. I still have boxes in my garage that need to be unpacked. Keeping busy isn't the issue. The issue is when I stop being busy. The issue is when the sun starts to set and the silence takes over.

I went outside today to get the mail, and I was dreading it. Why? Because it was gorgeous out there - the sun was just beginning to set, and the sky was this amazing burst of orange, pink, and blue. The temperature was mild. I could smell burning leaves in the distance. I actually stopped on my driveway and thought This is the kind of night that's supposed to be spent with someone. And I'm not going to lie - it hit me. Hard.

I know I've said it before, but it's the truth - the last five years have been a roller coaster. I spent the first three trying to save a marriage that never stood a chance. I realized that the only thing that could be saved was myself, so that's what I did. Over the last two years I started to write again. I rekindled old friendships. I laughed - oh my God, I laughed! I finally feel like a whole person.

And yet the smell of burning leaves makes me start to cry.

I'm embarrassed to admit that there's a void in my life. I miss having someone. I've had five years to prove to myself that I can be alone. I can take care of myself (and Griffin). But I don't want to be alone anymore. But I know that nothing is guaranteed. Maybe I had my chance. Maybe I should just feel lucky that I experienced love once...even though it ended horribly. Maybe I shouldn't be selfish and try to find it again.

But maybe I should believe in second chances. And maybe...just maybe I'll find someone who doesn't mind that the colors of the setting sun or the smell of burning leaves make me cry.

Feb 12, 2016

Time To Go Home



Where do I even start? I sat down to write this and I immediately felt rusty. Out of shape. Like I'd been in some sort of writing hibernation for the last few years. I guess that was the case. I wrote a couple of posts during all the turmoil, but my heart wasn't in it. Neither was my head, really. I've decided that it's time to start fresh. So here I am...

So here's the deal: I got divorced over the Summer. Sounds simple, right? Actually, signing my name on the official papers wasn't nearly as traumatic as I anticipated, but that was only because of the three years leading up to that moment. I'm not here to blame anyone or rehash the details, because in the end, it doesn't really matter. In the end, two people know what went wrong, and we each have our burdens to carry and our hearts to heal. I'm only discussing this because I've been away from my writing for way too long, and oh how I love to write. But I put it aside - completely ignored it in fact - because of everything going on in my life. I sacrificed it in order to fix a marriage that could never be repaired.

So yeah, divorce. It's not the easy way out that so many people think. Maybe for some people it is, but I think those situations are rare. I've heard people say that going through a divorce is like a death. It sounds kind of silly, but it's true. I grieved. I am grieving. I'm grieving the loss of my marriage, my best friend, my family. I'm grieving the loss of the person I used to love - because he now no longer resembles that man at all. I'm grieving what used to be, what was supposed to be, and what should have been.

When I signed that piece of paper that legally ended my marriage, a piece of me died. I know that sounds melodramatic, but hear me out. It's not what you think. I'm not talking about being so closely entwined with someone that your life is over. I mean an actual part of me - of my spirit - died. Ask my family, or anyone that knew me as a kid. I always believed in the good in people. I always trusted. I never thought anyone would intentionally hurt me. Naïve? Possibly. Maybe no one should go through life having blind faith in another human being. I did, though. I liked that about myself. That's the part of me that died...and I really hate that. I feel different, like I'm trying to adjust to a missing limb. I'm trying to find my balance and learn how to maneuver through each day.

So what does this all have to do with writing? The divorce, and the three years of turmoil leading up to it, have become the proverbial elephant in the room. I've tried to sit down and write, but I can't see past it. I think I needed to face it head on. I spent three years putting everything into saving my marriage, and in that time I ignored so much. I ignored myself and my writing. But that stops now.

It hasn't been easy, and as much as I'd like it to, it's not going to magically go away. I will continue to grieve and make my way out of this pit slowly but surely.

And I will continue to write.

Jul 22, 2014

Six

Dear Griffin (aka Doodles, Buggy, Doll Baby),


Today you are six! Every parent says the time flies by, and while I always believed it, I never knew just how fast it would happen until you came along.

This has been one roller coaster of a year for us - so much has happened. By far the biggest milestone was that you started school. Watching you learn to read and write has been amazing. I can't even begin to count the number of scraps of paper I find throughout the house (and even in my purse) with your writing on it. They are filled with questions: Mama do you like hot dogs? Do you like the Cubs? They are filled with observations: Sponge Bob is funny. Legos are fun. No matter how many notes I find, I can't get myself to throw them away. Each one is a little piece of your personality.

I am proud of how you adapted to the social aspect of school. One of my biggest fears was that you would end up with my painfully shy personality, but you jumped in with both feet. In fact, you did more of a cannonball. No fear. Meet the Author night at school? No problem. You even sat in front and asked questions. Fiesta Dance Party? Of course. I only wish I had my camera as you danced your heart out to Copacabana. That is one of the many things I love about you - your complete lack of concern about what other people think. You don't look around to see if anyone is watching. You don't worry if someone is talking about you. Someday that will change...it always does. But for now, it's the most awesome thing to watch. I wish I could be just a little more like you.


This has also been the year of "imagining." You've always had a vivid imagination, but this year you took it to a new level. At least twice a day you take time out to imagine - as in, "Mama, I'm trying to imagine here." In case you forget, that's my cue to go into another room while you pretend to fight ninjas or Transformers or some other random bad guys. Sometimes you are the ninja. Imagining usually involves some fancy kicks, rapid fire sound effects, and on occasion, your "light sword" (which is really just a mini M&Ms holder). I'm not allowed to enter the room while you imagine, and you've been known to give me the stink eye if I stop and watch you.


Oh...and it is so much fun to watch you. Sometimes I think I could do it all day. Watching you imagine, play at the park, and splash around the pool are some of my favorite times with you. Since the day you were born I've said that you are an all-or-nothing kid. You did (and still do) everything with gusto - scream, cry, laugh. There's rarely an in-between. You even feel with gusto. Your empathy amazes me...and at times, it even scares me a little. You feel for everyone, even complete strangers. Just the other night as we were leaving the ER, you saw a man laying on a gurney in one of the rooms. "That poor man. I hope he's OK," you said. I squeezed your hand and said, "Me too."

Six years. It's amazing to think all we've been through together, especially during this past year. I know it hasn't been easy, but I like to think we managed to push through this together. I really didn't think we would make it past that first night in our new place. I tried to be the tough one, but it was you who came up with the brilliant idea: "Let's do things like we used to do at our other house...like sleep next to each other." And we did. And in the morning things looked a little brighter. We survived.

You have carried way too much on your tiny shoulders this past year. You are a little boy. Your world should be filled with giggles and trips to the park and fighting ninjas in your backyard on a warm summer morning. I don't want you to worry. I can do that for both of us. It's my job. Someday I hope you can understand that everything I've done - all of these decisions I've made that you haven't liked - has been with you in mind. Every single one.

This letter has taken on a much different tone than the previous ones I've written you, but this has been a much different year for us. We will continue to push through like we've done in the past - together. Sometimes at night when I'm trying to get you to calm down and fall asleep, you pull my arm over your body. I have a little secret for you...I need that comfort as much as you.

And remember - I will carry the weight of your world for as long and as far as you need.

Love,
Mama

Aug 4, 2013

Writer's Block


Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down...

OK, not really, but you've got that theme song stuck in your head right now, don't you? You're welcome.

This actually is the story (or maybe just a quick post) of how one of the things I love the most has taken a backseat to life. And believe me, I'm fully aware that no one reading this has ever asked themselves, "What the hell has happened to Tracy's writing? Did she ever finish that last novel?" In a nutshell those answers are nothing and no. So if someone asks me how many novels I've written (and for the record no one has ever asked me that question), I get the pleasure of giving the stupid answer of "three and a half." Gah! That half really screws with me.

For as long as I can remember, writing was how I dealt with the thoughts swirling through my brain every second of every day. It was how I worked through my emotions. It was how I got to escape from reality - whether it was boring or just too overwhelming. But now? I can't write. Part of the issue is that I don't have time. I swear, if a single person tells me that in order to be a successful writer I need to make the time to write, I will have to kick you in the shins. Seriously, come a little closer.

There are 24 hours in a day. I work eight of those. If I'm lucky, I sleep six. When I have Griffin, I'm cooking, bathing, entertaining, reading, monitoring, building Legos, and snuggling. Somewhere in there I'm supposed to be cleaning and doing laundry. I spend time on the phone with debt collectors, negotiating payment plans and promising them that they will get paid. Someday. I deal with banks and credit card companies and even Medicaid. I fill out paperwork on what seems like a daily basis. And then there's the little matter of getting my house ready to sell and finding another place to live.

Oh...and I worry. A lot.

In the beginning I tried to write. I tried to schedule it in, but grew frustrated when the words wouldn't come. My mind wandered to the stack of bills on my desk or the list of phone calls I needed to make the next morning. In the last few months I've decided to put my writing on hold until life settled down. Considering how long I've been in this mess, I have no idea when I will start again. But I will, and that's what matters to me. The ideas are there. In fact, I still walk around with my notebook in my purse, jotting down plot ideas, character traits, or bits and pieces of awkward conversations I've overheard.

Letting go of that pressure is one of the best things I could have done.

I will write again. And when I do...look out because I've lived through more in the last 18 months than many people do in a lifetime.