Stella

Zero Percent Chance

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I used to fantasize about having the perfect vacation or an impeccable wardrobe. Or maybe, I would write the next Harry Potter series. All things that were possible. No matter how small the chance of it happening.

Lately, I’m sad to report, my fantasies have one common theme in that they will never come true no matter what I do. I can’t work towards it. I can’t manifest it. I can’t use a wish or a magic bean on it. There is a zero percent chance. Because what I fantasize about is my mom being alive.

Sometimes it is around what it would be like to get a phone call from her. To hear utterly infectious laughter. Of her asking me what’s new. Mundane questions around how the job is going or what Roy is up to. Or even darker still, I imagine what it would be like to call her and tell her she is expecting her first grandchild. To start planning her trip out to stay with us. Putting a mental list of foods I would want her to make me when I saw her. To stand in the kitchen with her and actually commit her delicious recipes to memory. I try to reconstruct the softness of her hands or the concentration she would put into putting on her lipstick. And sometimes, just sometimes, I will bury my face in the sweater I took from her closet just to imagine her warm embrace.

But unlike happy, dreamlike fantasies, I am living in a nightmare that will never end where I suddenly am the girl with no mother. There are tears and the loss of my breath. My body twists and lurches into the fetal position without my brain telling it to. The grotesque and gapping hole that I’ve tried in vain to stitch back together completely tears apart and explodes at the seams. Not to say that anything has been repaired or that I am even close to whole. No, I will never be whole again. The day my mom died, is the day I forever lost a piece of who I am. That’s what happens when you love someone so intensely, so unconditionally. I try to embrace the grief for what it is. A weird, messed up badge of honor for how much I love her. And I tell myself things like, if I didn’t love her this much, it wouldn’t hurt like this.

As I write this, you can imagine, the tears are steadily falling down my face. It feels destructive and cathartic at the same time. Sometimes I try to mask my grief with busy hands and endless to-do lists. Only to have the grief find me again in the quiet stillness. It feels odd meeting it head on. It hasn’t been that long since she’s been gone, but the grief has changed. I remember the time where it was all that I was. I sought out others who had experienced this level of grief, of losing a parent, a mother. I poured over their stories. Whether it was an essay or a few short lines written as an Instagram caption, it felt reassuring to me that after weeks, months and even years, that these people were still broken. Not because I wanted them to hurt, but it gave me a sense of relief that it was okay to miss her with such a fierce intensity.

So, this is dedicated to those people that shared their stories that I so hungrily consumed. In some weird and possible unintended way, you are part of my healing. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, we have something in common for always. This is also dedicated to those who have just recently lost someone. Of course, I would not wish this on anyone, but it’s the truth of the world. It is hard. You might think that you will never smile or laugh again. That the thought of such lightness makes you feel sick with guilt. But, it will be less hard. No, you will never be better. But it will be less hard.

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And another one

hoodriver

We are at the close of another year. It seems like no matter what I do, time just seems to go by faster and faster as I get older. I finally get what every adult was trying to tell me when I was a kid. Where’s the pause button?

I started off the beginning of the year with the same resolution that almost everyone else tries to adopt, a blank slate. Let’s just face it, this is unrealistic. I think the most important lesson I learned this past year is that life is really messy, but the shit you go through makes you who you are. Sometimes, it is just that, shit. It’s mind boggling, enraging and downright devastating. But we are resilient.

We pick up whatever pieces we can. We mend the broken seams. And then we grow. It is super easy to look back at the nice, rose colored memories and think of those things as our only defining moments. All the while, the lumps in our rugs are mountainous with the flaws we sweep under it. But it’s all of it, the good and the bad, that collectively make up our lives.

Let me predict a couple of things for 2018. There will be successes. There will be failures. The only new year’s resolution I am making is this: be comfortable and embrace who I am, lumps and all.

Oh, and stop eating so much candy.

Thank you, President Obama

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“Yes We Can. Yes We Did. Yes We Can.” – President Barack Obama

This past weekend, I began an attempt to organize my office. I began recycling junk mail and creating a pile of papers I wanted to keep. But like all my other “attempts” tend to go, I got distracted when I found one of my old journals in the desk drawer.

I gladly picked it up and began to skim the pages. A bright red sticker with the words “I Voted” jumped out at me. There was a piece of blue construction paper glued onto the page with a folded up newspaper article tucked underneath. I slid out the article before I began reading the words I had written in 2008.  (more…)

Blank Walls

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The room that I spent most my childhood was a little girl’s dream. The walls were artistically covered in soft pink and rose colored paint strokes. It was whimsical. Pretty little white frames held sweet images of flowers and Precious Moments characters. When I was an obnoxious pre-teen that thought she knew every thing about this world, I had the faces of boy bands plastered over the little girl pink walls. But even at that age, I was careful only to collect and display the best posters.

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Quiet

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Quiet can be a reprieve from the crazy world. It can provide solace and comfort. Between words said, it can say the things that cannot be spoken. It is sometimes heavy and laced with dread, panic. It can be the answer and the unfulfilled question.
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Cold Brew Coffee

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I think it is safe to say that I love coffee with all five senses. I’m an addict, okay?  It’s not even about just drinking it to get my caffeine fix, but it is also the process of getting the final product. It is part science and art mixed. So, it is very lucky I moved to Washington where they truly worship coffee. There is nothing like starting off a cold, wet day with a hot cuppa joe.

However, as the glorious summer weather rolls in, we tend to set our sights on something a little colder. My weapon of choice? Cold brew. It is smooth with little to no trace of acidity. But don’t let that fool you! Apparently, the caffeine content is much higher.

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This is Now

I am one of those people that tend to dwell on some awkward incident like waving back at a stranger because I thought they were waving at me. Sometimes, those thoughts turn a little darker and focus on bigger things in my life that I, and this is a dirty word, regret. The words of “what if” and “if I had just” fill my brain until I can’t hear anything else. This motto is my attempt to shake off a past that is already written. There’s no changing it. All you can do is take the successes and failures and create a roadmap for today. It’s about making the past useful in making smarter decisions and knowing that you will have more failures and bigger successes. It’s not starting over; it is picking yourself up.

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