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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

‎When we were younger we used to have sleep overs in the basement, staying up late into the night watching wrestling on TV (why, I’m not really sure)! We used to talk and joke and fight and annoy and generally speaking, we had each other’s back.

But that was then, and this is now and now I don’t remember the last time we talked or joked and I can’t even begin to guess how to have your back.

There used to be inside jokes and sideways glances and kicks under the kitchen table. I used to hear a song and think of us sitting in your room, listening to it over and over on the CD player I wasn’t allowed to touch.

It never used to be a question of whether we were close or not – we lived the first 18 years of my life sleeping ten feet apart. Close? Of course – we didn’t really have a choice.

But then I moved and you moved and closeness wasn’t a given and when it became a choice, we both seemed to choose other things.

And now I don’t know how to go back. Or, if I’m going to be really honest, I don’t know if I want to make the effort required to go back. And that makes me feel bad. I should want to be closer to you, I should want to reconnect but I just can’t seem to get there.

I should try harder, could try harder, would try harder if only. There always seems to be something getting in the way. I don’t know where to begin, I don’t know where it will end. I don’t know how to start the conversation and the fear of awkward silences looms large.

It used to be so much easier. I used to know the short-hand of your life and the names and places and things that made up your world. Our relationship used to be one long conversation, and now it feels like painful cocktail party small talk.

Maybe one day I will find a way, we will find a way. Maybe one day I will decide the work and effort is worth it.

I hope so, because I do miss you, or at least I miss who you used to be to the person I used to be.

Maybe one day.

But for now I will continue to wonder and wish and contemplate.

What happened to us.

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‎”Why are you going so fast” she said, spitting the words out in such a tone that meant even I, a stranger passing her on the street, knew she wasn’t happy.

“You need to stay with the pace” he snapped back at her, running his hand through his hair in what I assumed was a sign of frustration.

I felt for her, standing there holding the hands of two young boys dressed in their baseball jerseys and matching hats. I surmised ‎that she couldn’t keep up because she was dragging the kids along behind her, only able to move as fast as their little legs and short attention spans would allow them.

I wanted to turn to him and tell him to relax, to give her a break, couldn’t he see she was trying to keep up? But of course I didn’t. They may have been having their spat on a street corner, in full view of dozens of strangers, but this was obviously just between them.

I guessed they were coming from the baseball game that just finished and then made the leap to assume they were probably tired from a day out and about, rushing to get home before the real meltdowns started, only to find themselves caught up in rush hour and‎ the mad crush of people trying to quickly exit the downtown core.

I felt for them, all of them. I immediately identified with her, having been in almost exactly her shoes on more than one occasion. I imagined that she got up this morning with high hopes and maybe even a little bit of excitement about the day ahead. A trip downtown, an afternoon at the ballpark, a day with the family. But all too soon reality probably set in.

Kids asking for this and that and the other thing. Unforeseen complications that inevitably creep up. ‎Something gets lost, something gets forgotten, someone gets tired or hungry or both. All of that and before you know it the day you’re living looks nothing like the one you imagined.

I also felt for him. I’m sure he was just trying to get everyone home quickly and safely and I’m sure his response to her words was more about frustration than anger. How many times had I been in the same situation? How many times had I been the one snapping, at hubby, at the kids, at strangers, when it really had nothing to do with them and everything to do with me? How come it’s so much easier for me to see these things in others but not in myself?

Why can I see it so clearly when it’s someone else, but not when it’s me?

When it’s me, I can’t see the looks on the kids faces when I get angry and snap and lose sight of the bigger picture.

When it’s me, I can’t hear the tone of my own voice and how it comes across because I’m to caught up in my own emotions.

When it’s me, all that seems to matter is what I’m thinking and feeling and how I’m reacting, rather than those affected by it.

I hope after I turned the corner she went up and kissed him on the cheek and suggested they grab a couple of cool drinks for the kids and sit on a bench and let the crowds pass. I hope he smiled and pushed the hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear, agreeing that yes, that sounded like a great plan, they would catch the next train, no need to rush.

I hope their day ended with smiles and good memories instead of cold shoulders and bruised feelings.

And the next time, when it’s me, I hope I remember her and him and those two little boys and what they taught me that day.

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‎Some days I find myself with a single word looping through my head, over and over again. Each time it happens it is a different word but I can’t seem to get it out of my head, can’t seem to move on to the next word unless I write about it.

For the last couple of days that word has been “missing.”

I sat at the soccer field the other night and acutely felt the absence of my parents. Thankfully they are both well and good, not “missing” in the most awful sense of the word but rather simply missing from our daily lives because they live 3,000 miles away. I watched my son score a goal and instantly thought “they missed it” and then “I miss them” and a happy moment became a sad one.

I’m realizing that you never get over missing someone. My parents and I have now lived on different sides of the country for more years than we l‎ived together. I have been missing them for half my life and it doesn’t seem to get any easier.

And when we are together it is great, and yet not the same as it was, or as it would be. It always brings with it the feeling of being temporary and fleeting. Even when we are together I find myself focusing still on the things they missed leading up to the visit, and all they will miss when they are gone.

I know I am lucky to have them; lucky they are well enough to travel and have the means and time to visit; lucky that at least a couple of times a year I can still place my head on my dad’s shoulder and feel small and cared for within his strength; lucky that I can hold the hands of my mother and my daughter in the same moment and be humbled by the completeness of it all. And I try, I really do, to focus on those things, on the gifts I have been given and yet all too often the other creeps into view, just beyond the corners. What is missing.

I am also missing my friend who is so far away. We keep in touch just the same as we did when she was here but I still acutely feel her absence during the most mundane parts of my day. She is still a voice in my head telling me I can do it and a hand on my back pushing me to continue but I sometimes fear I will lose it. That I will lose that sense of her and when the day finally comes that we are together again, it won’t be the same, that even though we are together, something will still be missing.

I sometimes feel as though I have defined my life more by the things that are missing than by the things that are present. Moving on often brings with it the need to leave things behind; it is often only after we say goodbye that we understand that in making room for the new we have created a hole.

Sometimes I write because I think I may have found an answer; this is one of the times when I write because I have too many questions.

So my heart will hurt a little bit today, as it does sometimes, and maybe tomorrow, when I wake up it will hurt a little less. And maybe there will be a different word looping its way through my head, one that focuses more on what has been found, and less on what is missing.

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‎As a general rule I try not to spend too much time contemplating what other people think about me. I would like to say that it’s because I’m particularly well evolved but, to be perfectly honest, it’s generally because I spend altogether too much time trying to figure out what I think about myself and it doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

So I fumble my way through things, assuming that people see me the same way I see myself. I assume they can see that I get scared sometimes and shy sometimes and silly sometimes and that I basically have no idea what I’m doing most of the time.

I assume that when I stand quietly, just outside the borders of the group, that they know it’s because I can’t find the words to make my way into the conversation and that it’s not because I’m aloof or stuck up.

I assume that when I don’t notice a new hair cut or a new sweater or five pounds now gone, they know it’s because I think they are beautiful before, now and in the future, and not because I don’t care.

I assume that when I’m curt or short or frank in my conversations that they know it’s because I’m feeling insecure and out of my element, not because of something they said or did to anger me.

I have gone through most of my life assuming these things; assuming that everyone else sees what I see. I assume they see me.

More and more though I’m beginning to question my assumptions; and the beliefs I’ve built on top of them.

How wide is the divide between what they see and what I see? And which vision holds the reality of who I am? Is it what they see, or what I see, or is it somewhere in the middle?

And if they don’t see me, the “real” me, is that their problem or mine? Does it mean I didn’t show them what’s on the inside, or does it mean they never asked to see it‎? Do I have a responsibility to ensure people have a true view of me, or do they have a responsibility to seek it out?

Obviously I don’t know or I wouldn’t be asking the questions. ‎But now that I have asked them, now that they have taken up residence in my head, I can’t seem to get rid of them. I sit across the table from a friend, a family member, and I wonder what they think of me. I wonder what they would say if I ask them.

But I know I won’t ask because I know, quite honestly, that I don’t want to know. Because once I know what they think I won’t be able to separate it from what I think. I know that when I look in the mirror I would no longer be able to see what I see, I would only be able to see what they see.

And if I’m only going to believe one version of myself, I would rather it be my own. For better or worse.

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‎I spent a large portion of my weekend five minutes from your house. I was there to watch my daughter in a hockey tournament and I couldn’t help but make note of the proximity.

Five minutes.

If things were different we probably would have stopped by your place between games. If things were different you probably would have come by the arena to watch her play.

But things are the way they are, so we won’t and you won’t and that will be that.

I briefly wondered what I would do if I ran into you somewhere, in line at Tim Hortons when I picked up a tea, or at the store where we stopped ‎for water. If we were ever in the same room for five minutes, what would I say? What would you say? What would we say?

I used to think about it all the time: what happened, what went wrong, whether I should work harder to fix it but time, with its infinite wisdom, has taught me to stop asking what I can’t answer.

‎So I thought of you only briefly and sent good wishes your way because for a time you were a part of my life, a good part of my life, and for that I will always be thankful. For a time we were in step, our lives running on the same path, side by side. But no longer.

Instead we will now forever be five minutes apart.

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So here we go again, something that seems to have become an annual tradition here at the Palace, my new year’s “realizations.”  While others make resolutions about what they want to see happen in the new year, I find it much more helpful to look back at the year that has passed and examine the lessons I have learned (or should have learned) from the last 12 months.

1) Tears don’t fix things, but that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable.  They don’t solve problems or heal wounds or right what has gone wrong but sometimes they help.  They help wash away the pain for long enough that I can get up off the floor and get back to what I’m supposed to be doing, even if just for a short period of time.  Don’t fight the tears; they come for a reason.  They come when the pain is too much to keep inside and it needs to be released.  Embrace the tears, welcome them and appreciate their purpose.  Let them come, and when they’re done, wipe away what’s left and go on.

2) I have no idea what’s going on in other people’s minds and guessing just makes things worse.  It’s hard enough to figure out my own motivation for doing things, let alone trying to guess what makes other people tick.  I assume I know you, I assume I know what you’re going through and how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking.  But I don’t.  I don’t have a clue.  I don’t know any of it and trying to guess is unfair to you.  If you want me to know, you’ll tell me and then we’ll deal with it together.  In the meantime, I’ll be over here trying to figure out my own shit.

3) I’m tired of being sorry.  I’m tired of assuming that I should be sorry for things, even if I don’t specifically know what they are.  I’m tired of apologizing for things I don’t think are wrong.  So I’m not going to do it any more.  And I’m not even going to be sorry about it.

4) There is very little in the world that I can control so I need to stop thinking I can.  I have spent a lot of time in the last 12 months thinking that if only I had done things differently, they wouldn’t have turned out the way they did.  Now I finally realize that I’ve given myself way too much credit.  I can’t control the universe or fate or karma or the thoughts and opinions of others.  I can barely control my own thoughts.  It’s time to stop thinking otherwise.  Maybe that will stop me from feeling like a failure most of the time.

5) Life is tough and it takes work, hard work, to get through it.  But at the end of the day it’s worth it.  It’s worth the hard work and the sweat and the tears and the back-breaking weight of it all.  Because there are moments that make it seem like not so much work after all, and that’s what I have to strive for; to push my way through the work to get to the reward.  And then to enjoy the reward when I get there and appreciate the work it took.  Even if it’s just for a moment, just for one breath or one giggle or one hug.  I will let those things fill me back up and give me the strength to get to the next one.  That’s what it’s about.

Now let’s just hope I can remember these lessons going forward, so that I don’t have to keep learning them over and over and over again.  Because I’m sure 2014 will have its share of things to teach me, whether I want to learn them or not!

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