Closeness

“Are you close to your brother?”

I was asked this question a number of times during my late teens and then after my brother moved out.  My knee-jerk response was, “Yes”, and then I’d sometimes murmur, “I mean, I guess…”  The truth was, I didn’t know.  It FELT like we were close.  I mean, we spent every day of my first sixteen years together, being homeschooled kindergarten through graduation.  The thought that we weren’t close sounded ludicrous.  But each time I was asked, a niggling little voice said, “Are you?”

I know now that we are not, and have never been, close.  It seems so clear now, looking back.  Close would be sharing thoughts and feelings.  Close would be telling secrets you don’t tell your parents.  Close would be talking to him like I talk to my guy friends.  Close would be anything but a shallow, “Hi, how are you?  Good.” relationship.  But I’ve finally come to realize that is, indeed, just what we have.  All that we have.  All my life I had a false sense of closeness because I love my brother, and I was in close proximity to him constantly.

But we were not close, we never shared or opened up.  He knows less about me than even new acquaintances do, and while he sometimes drunkenly opens up to me, I know that it is not me he wants to open up to – just someone.  Because if I don’t answer, he calls our sperm donor, or anyone else, and will tell them whatever it was he was going to tell me.

One of the books I have on grieving a child says that siblings are a very important witness to our lives…a validation of our childhood and growing experiences.  But it seems I have no witness, and I have no validation.  I am alone.

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Memories of Grandma

Kundo Clock Edit

There are so many wonderful memories I have and things I loved about my Grandma…

The day she re-married Grandpa.  She looked so beautiful with her beaded shawl and her blue bouquet!  Grandpa couldn’t keep the mist out of his eyes.

Playing Shanghai Rummy with her and my aunts and uncles.

The way she’d always find ice skating on TV no matter what time of year.

When she used to come pick me up and drive me to work with her.

Her grabbing a red rose out of a vase and holding it between her teeth and dancing around.

Her John Wayne fandom and how she’d always let us take home two or three of his movies she’d taped off the Western channel.

The smell of her and her house.

Finding out she used to be great at the jitterbug.

Going to Chicago with her and Grandpa.

Playing Speed Scrabble with her at the ritzy hotel.

Designing Christmas and birthday cards for her and Grandpa to send to their friends.

The time she took us to see Into The West.

Her voice.

Playing the old Nintendo with her – and getting beat!

How football games were always white noise at her house.

The sparkle in her mischievous blue eyes.

I love you, Grandma, and I’ll miss you forever!  Kiss

You Know You Have Big Boobs When…

You can perform magic with them.  Yes, ladies and gentleman, I can make a CD completely disappear, using only my cleavage!

You can hide things UNDER your boobs, and they’ll stay there.

You have really, truly, lost things in your cleavage before.

You walk toward a mirror naked, and realize why they’re called “knockers”…they really do knock together with each step!

Your boobs are a convenient popcorn catcher at the movies.  And yes, you can lick the popcorn up off your boobs without having to reach for it.

Your entire hand can be hidden in your cleavage.  (And my hands are not dainty.)

You jump off the bottom step and your boobs give a resounding SLAP!

Your boobs don’t fit behind all restaurants booths – sometimes you have to just pick ‘em up and set ‘em on the table.

You hide your hands under your boobs when they’re cold.

Making Happiness

Written 6-5-10

I had pain in my chest last night.  In my heart.  It lasted maybe twenty seconds.  I wasn’t worried, for the first ten seconds…after that, I started trying to remember what the last thing I said to my brother was, and if I’d told Mom I loved her today.  I was on the phone with my boyfriend when it happened, listening to a song together.  I thought how messed up it would be to die out of nowhere like that, with him listening.  I got this clenchy feeling in my stomach, knowing I’m not ready to die, and though I did not worry about God or where I was going, I did feel fear.  Fear to be found like that, fear of the unknown.  Fear that my life could end when I haven’t made a difference in this world.  When I haven’t got a clue what my purpose was, or has been, or if there even is one.  It felt so unfair to die like that.

Well, I didn’t die.  But I feel more fragile now…and more bold.  I want to KNOW I told my family I love them, and I want to know that the day I die was a good day.  I want to love, and feel loved, and be okay with dying…not because I’m despondent and want a way out, but because I know I’m ready for whatever happens.  I’m not afraid of dying but I am afraid of pain, and I’m afraid of dying before I know what life is all about.  I know I’m loved, and that’s what life is to me…but I don’t think I’m finished yet.

I  want to be honest, true, and open with the people I love.  I want to take time to smell fresh air, to stop and cook my own food and enjoy life…not to be in a hurry, always having something to do next, never feeling like I have free time.

My days off when I venture out to take pictures are sooo amazing.  Because time doesn’t exist.  I start so early, I feel like I have the whole year to go exploring, to wander, to go over the next hill or down that never-ending straight road.  To meander wherever I feel like, to keep looking until I find somewhere I can really enjoy new food and see new people and experience new things.  I can stop on the side of the road and wait for that little baby cow to wander closer, I don’t have to just snap a picture and run.  There are no responsibilities, no time constraints, nothing but freedom.  I want to live that way every day.

I want to be whoever I want, do whatever I want, and love life without fear.  I want to be honest and happy.  I want to know my time here isn’t wasted.  I want to spend more time with my brother, just hanging out doing nothing.  I want to make friends.  I want to actually live, not just float along.  I want to explore.  I want to love myself.  I want to belong somewhere other than home.  I want to get skinny and healthy and happy.  HAPPY.  I want to be happy.  I want to make happiness for myself.  And I will.

Things I Used To Believe

I thought pickles were pickles, I didn’t find out they were cucumbers until I was twenty-three.

I thought vegetarians only ate vegetables until I was probably sixteen.

I thought Michael Jackson was white until I was a teenager.

I thought it was illegal to drink ANYTHING, and drive.

I thought the Arby’s sign was a giant weirdly-drawn cowboy hat, and it took me years to figure out why they said “I’m thinkin’ Arby’s” when they had that hat floating above their heads.

Until I was probably thirteen, I always wondered what honeydew melons had to do with the list Mom would make for dad on weekends…  “The Honey-Do List”.

I couldn’t figure out why artichoke hearts weren’t red and bloody, while they seemed like a vegetable.

Once in a grammar book I came across the word “sandwich”, and told my mom they spelled “witch” wrong, and what was a sand witch anyway??  I thought it was samwich.

I couldn’t understand why it was okay to eat grapes when I was little, but not drink wine.

I thought sheep, dogs, etc. were born with docked tails.

I thought my mom was joking when she said she made me a baloney sandwich…for years I heard it in the phrase, “What a bunch of baloney!” and thought it was only a word.

My friends were baffled when I said I’d never heard of Ramen Noodles.  We called it Itchy Bon.

I thought coleslaw was Cold Slaw.

It dawned on me at twenty-three that pancakes are called that because they’re cakes made in a pan.

When I was little we went to TCBY and I pointed out “Ice Cream Sundae” on the menu and told my mom they spelled Sunday wrong.

I was in my late teens when I asked for those “special” giant marshmallows…only then did I discover that all my life I’d been eating miniature marshmallows without knowing it.

I was baffled that a family friend wanted to eat at an Indian restaurant…he wasn’t an Indian!

I was confused when I ate corned beef for the first time and there was no corn.

I thought lobsters at seafood restaurants were like fish at the dentist’s office…  Thankfully I figured it out on my own and never had my little heart crushed when I was young.

The Sledding Hill

I remember being woken up in the middle of the night, when it snowed.  Everything outside my window would be blue and shimmery.

We’d stumble downstairs and dig into the coat closet underneath the stairs, rummaging around for the basket full of snow clothes.  Snoopy hats and thick gloves that were too big for me…  Several layers of clothes, and hiking boots that were big enough to be my brother’s.  Fuzzy pink earmuffs.  And off we’d go, into the snowy night.

Sometimes it was windy and cold, other times just quiet and still.  Our sleds scraped over the fresh snow behind us.  We’d tied ropes through the front so we could pull them.  Mine was pink and my brother’s was orange.  Snowball, our Samoyed mix dog, would thunder around us, kicking up snow and chasing out sleeping rabbits from under the bushes.

We’d follow dad up the road, past my best friend’s house, and all the way to the main street where we’d fight past our heavy snow clothes and climb onto the wall made of stone and brick.  Then we’d carefully march up and down the steps of the wall, over the big humps of the posts, and on, the frigid air tingling in our noses.  Whoever went first was lucky, because they got to shove off the piles of fresh snow from the fence posts.  Early on, I was so small I had to sit on the posts and spin around to get over them.  When I was older, I could step up onto them, or over them.

Sometimes we could see the stars, but sometimes it was still snowing and there were huge clouds covering everything.  Dad would help us off the wall before we reached the ditch where the cow skeletons were, and we’d start on the long trudge up the sledding hill.  It was all covered in weeds, and even cactus here and there, but it would snow so much, you didn’t really notice.  It took so long to climb up the hill, but when you reached the top, the air was so crisp and you had such a long way to sled down the hill, it was all worth it.

Sometimes I’d be scared, looking straight down that huge hill all the way to the bottom, or be afraid I might slide all the way into the ditch.  But I never did.  Sometimes dad would sit behind me, or push me so I’d go fast.  Sometimes my brother would go with me, and sometimes we would race each other.  Snowball would run along beside us, trying to climb into our sleds on the way down.  We’d laugh and scream and our voices were the only sound in that huge empty field.

It was fun sliding down the hill but took so long and it was so hard climbing all the way back up again.  My boots would slip in the snow and so I would try to walk in dad’s footprints, but they were always too big for me to reach.  But up I’d climb, over and over, until we couldn’t breathe from the cold and our noses were red and our toes were numb.

Then we’d climb back up on the wall and make the trek back home, where Mom would always be waiting for us to tell her how much fun we had sledding, while we drank hot chocolate and tried to warm up.  Then we would finally curl up warm and tight in our beds again and fall asleep, waking up the next morning to a beautiful white world.

Several years later, bulldozers leveled my sledding hill flat and built a school where it should have been.  But every time I drive down that road and look at the wall, I remember walking on it through the snow in the dark, and smile.  I will never forget the sledding hill.

Falling In Love With Women, My Bi-Sexual Journey

Note: The majority of this was written in March 2012, and is essentially a recounting of my falling in love with women. I am currently and very happily in a relationship with a man I am deeply in love with and am proud to call my Daddy. :)

I was raised a very sheltered, conservative Christian, and was taught my whole life that not only was homosexuality a sin, but that gay relationships involved zero love, only selfish lust. I blindly believed what my parents shoved into my head until one day I saw a thread on a message board asking…

“How could it be wrong to love another person?”

That stopped me in my tracks and I asked myself that question over and over. As I learned more, it was obvious that my parents had been lying to me. The strength and courage it takes for gay couples to step out together into such a hateful world could only be inspired by love.

I had an inkling that I was bi in 2007. I stuffed it down because regardless of my new-found realization that gay love existed, I couldn’t deal with the guilt of even considering I might be bi-sexual. I tried to convince myself that the reason I was looking at girls everywhere I went was to compare my body against theirs – and when I was younger, that was true – but eventually I couldn’t deny that doing a full body scan and being unable to stop staring was simply not a normal thing for a sweet straight Christian virgin girl to do. ;)

I looked in the mirror one day and said it out loud. “I’m bi-sexual.” It felt alright. It felt powerful. Still scary though…the knowledge that if I accepted it, I would never feel free to live my life the way I wanted. I would always be hiding that part of myself.

I worried about my Mom finding out. She had dealt with so many things that my brother had done, going against everything we were taught, but this I knew she could not take. If she ever found out…I don’t think she would be angry…I think her heart would break. I knew she would never get over it. So I kept trying to imagine it away, thinking maybe it was just a “phase that people outgrew”, to quote Valerie’s letter in V For Vendetta.

A year later, I met someone online – one of those paranoid people who wouldn’t let out a stitch of personal information, including age, location, and gender… I didn’t mind because we would talk about everything else for hours at a time. It only took a day before I was flirting, and I assumed that because I felt an urge to flirt with this person, they must be male. It continued on for a week or two and I started feeling very attached. We stayed up until dawn chatting, so many nights. There was no doubt in my mind that a connection like that would only happen with a guy.

I was wrong. When she told me, I was stunned, and for ten whole seconds I thought, “Oh my God, how do I let her down easy??” Then I realized that my feelings hadn’t changed at all. Despite our initial claim that we were both straight, it was obvious that was untrue and I could deny it no longer. Needless to say, I fell deeply in love with that almond-eyed, dreadlocked, pink-lipped girl. We moved onto Skype. Life was finally beautiful and nothing else mattered. She wanted to come live with me. The prospect was three years away and it was she who was worried that I wouldn’t wait, that my feelings would change. Unfortunately, it was the other way around.

She ended it and smashed my heart on the ground, then spit on the shards, ground them into the dirt with her little studded black boots, and then begged me not to stop being her “friend”. I tried – of course I tried, because I would have given anything just to spend one hour around her. But I had no idea how to just be a friend, and I would lash out in anger when she hurt me, which was often. Things became very turbulent and we spoke less and less. Sometimes she would disappear for three months at a time…then pop back up and talk to me like nothing ever happened. I’ve been in relationships since, and I even thought I was over her once, but when I ended a seven month relationship with a guy a year or two ago, it wasn’t him I mourned…it was still her.

So despite the road toward accepting my bi-sexuality being a bit rough, I finally reached the point where I dove into it and didn’t look back. I’m not threatened by it anymore. Although I may never choose to physically act on it, or tell the people around me, at least I am alright with it and I have no qualms saying that I will love that girl forever.

For awhile I did think she was the exception. Before her, I never really connected with another girl, and after her I’ve been a bit gun shy. There were a few girls I worked with in the past two years, that I had crushes on. What attracted me first was personality, and later, physical appearance.

One girl was bouncy, bright, and so amazingly funny. She had stunning anime hair and the most innocent, joyful smile I have ever seen. Another girl was quiet and fierce, she had a lot of issues simmering under the surface, and I felt protective of her. She told me she loved me several times, but obviously she wasn’t saying it the way I would have liked to imagine. The last girl was Southern, dreamy and sensual. I could have fallen asleep listening to the slow rhythm of her voice, she was adorable and sexy all at once, a tomboy who had no idea how mesmerizing she was.

I never told any of them how I felt or that I was bi, mainly because it’s a small town and I didn’t want my conservative family to find out. Trusting a girl in person with that side of me would jeopardize my relationship with my family and right now is definitely not the time to let that happen.

So I kept quiet, and since then, I’ll honestly admit that my attraction to women is mostly physical. I admire from afar, partially because I know that’s all I can allow myself right now, and also because I have trouble relating to girls. I’m not a girly girl so I don’t want to talk about high heels and lipstick and I don’t want to go get manicures together. Maybe I’m sexist against my own gender for assuming that’s what female friendships are like, but I’m always much more comfortable with men, and I surround myself with them and open up to them easily, but with girls I feel we have little common ground.

Where does this leave me? I catch myself staring…in a restaurant, at the mall…it’s subconscious and I have to laugh at myself when I snap out of it and wonder if anyone is watching me, watching “her”. Women are so intriguing and beautiful. Men seem easy to relate to, understandable, approachable. I hate my body and have never felt feminine or pretty, so that contrast in most women appeals to me, and intimidates me. The girls I fall for always seem so much different from me, so unique and unattainable. I enjoy watching them, appreciating the little things about them, loving them from a distance. But I see them as beautiful mirages I will likely never touch.

And that’s the story…for now.