There are so many thoughts swimming around my head right now. It’s been that way for the last 48 hrs. Over the last few months, I’ve dealt with so many issues and faced so many truths about myself, that it’s hard to not want to change. Of course, it is October, which is always a BIG month of change for me. I moved to Chicago the 1st of October in 2006. I moved to my beloved neighborhood in Chicago two years after that. And two years after that, I hit bottom and had to discard all the old things that I used to think were “me” and try to find a way to be happy again. The path to that happiness has been a bumpy road, but I cannot deny that my life is exceedingly better today than it ever was when I was that old version of myself. In some really unhealthy way, I always find myself feeling like I’ve got “it”. And then the universe likes to throw some crazy into the mix to remind me that I haven’t gotten it at all.
These are some things that are really clear to me today:
1.) This time last year, I was the only member of my family living in the Chicagoland area. Now my dear sister and her beautiful family are just an hour train ride away and my dad is just a half hour drive away from her. After a crazy month of work, I’ve gotten to see them twice this week and those visits have given me a great big smack in the face to remind of what is really important. I’ve gotten to hold my nephews hand, kiss him goodnight, kiss him good morning, sing songs with him, read books with him, and see his amazing personality as it increases more with each day. Each time I see him, he begins to trust me and love me more. His love is undoubtedly the biggest source of joy in my life today and I’m super grateful for it.
2.) I have been reading books galore that have been knocking the wind right out of me. My love of reading is not unknown to those who love me, nor myself. But it seems like lately, I’m especially moved by the stuff that I’ve been reading. I’m inspired in ways that I can’t begin to explain. I go through waves of inspiration at times and I never seem to find a way to channel what I find into something good. This time though, it seems that the message is pretty loud and clear and I have only one thing to do: write, write, write and write some more. Even if no one is reading this, I still need to write. Everyday. Just write.
3.) The last book I read was particularly moving, but also so full of despair in ways that I really hate that I can relate to. The book was “Truth and Beauty” by Ann Patchett, whose fiction work I absolutely adore. She has a way with words that cuts like a knife, straight to the soul, so that you almost feel like you’re living the words that she is writing. This particular book was a true story; the story of her friendship with the writer, Lucy Grealy. I was not familiar with Ms. Grealy before I read this story, but now I know that I will have to pick up her memoir, “Autobiography of a Face”. I love to read memoirs by women writers because I love to hear about how they struggle with their art and how they find a way to succeed in finally making it work amongst all the other struggles that come with being a woman. Relationships, family, money, fear of being/not being successful, etc. As much as I hate to admit it, I related so much to the way that Ann Patchett describes Lucy Grealy’s emptiness and her endless search to find something to fill her, to complete her. The story does not end in a good way, and while I know that I have some things that make me different than Lucy Grealy, deep down inside I suffer from some of the same stuff that were the cause of her despair. The despair that eventually caused her demise. I’ve gone through a lot of stuff this year and I’ve learned so much, but I can’t stop feeling this sadness that comes from feeling empty on the inside. It’s almost as if I need God to put up signs on the sides of all the buildings on my street that say this: “Lori. Stop searching outside of yourself for something to complete you, make you whole. You are wonderful the way you are, but until you can fully accept that as the most important truth, you need to do the following: Pray more. Hang out with your nephew and be his “Lolo” as much as possible. Clean and paint your apartment. Save money. Forgive yourself. Read as much as you can; whatever you get your hands on. Read it all. Work with others. Meditate. Do some yoga. Play your Ukelele. Ride your bike. Pray, pray, and pray some more. And if nothing else, be grateful for what you have, because it is way more than most have. I love you. God.” But, because God is not in the business of putting signs up on the sides of buildings, I get to find books like the one I just read. The most beautiful part of all of this, is that I am awake and alert and in the frame of mind that is open to a message like this. And for that, I am SO, SO grateful.
Sometimes I wanna laugh at myself when I get all filled up with this kind of stuff. I don’t know where it comes from or why I can’t seem to hold on to it when it arrives, but I do know that I’ve been holding on to more hope and self-assurance in the last 48 hours than I have had in months, so at least there is that. I think that coming here and getting this stuff out is the first step in making sure that these feelings stick around. If they don’t, at least I can come back to my blog in a few weeks and know that they were once here.