Monday, March 18, 2013


Cut flowers are not my favorite.  Receiving roses on Valentine's Day is a nice sentiment, and has traditional appeal, but honestly they just wither up within a few days.  I also can't help but think about how flower shops overcharge all the poor men on February 14th, by jacking up their prices, and from $15-$30 to $40-$70 for a dozen thorny stems. 

I'm not an ungrateful gift recipient.  I appreciate all tokens of affection, and try to show my appreciation.  Yet, in the back of my mind, I am often thinking they are kind of a waste of money.  And, then I think about how sad they look when their heads droop and the edges start to brown, which happens within 3-4 days.  They are still red, but they've given up. They aren't so happy with their fate either, knowing the moment the gardener snipped them from their plant, they were goners.  It was only a matter of time.   I think, "I really shouldn't throw them out yet, I just got them." And what does that say, throwing out a gift, you know?  I'm always tormented by my roses, and their presence becomes depressing in a way.

For our 10th anniversary last year, Sam bought me an orchid plant.  And instead of being the thankful and the loving wife I should have been, I was grumpy.  I was grumpy because I had been gifted an orchid plant 5 years ago, and it had died, and died fast.  It might have began with two blossoms,  and those fell off fairly quickly.  With that first orchid plant, I followed the instructions exactly and it just died for no gosh darn reason.  And I felt guilty, because I thought I had killed it somehow. I ended up keeping a brown stick thing sitting in a pot for a few weeks, thinking maybe it wasn't really dead and that it would "come back." But it was dead.  I had to throw it out.  

And from that day on, orchids and me, we weren't friends.  I spoke negatively about orchids for all the years following.  I said things like, "Those gosh darn things...  They look so pretty in the store and then they die.  Gosh darn it."  (I probably said nothing of that sort.  I don't say, "Gosh darn" in real life, but I did say other choice words about those darned fancy flowers, and Sam should have been listening).

So, when Sam came home with a pink orchid plant with a few scattered blossoms on curving branches, I thought, "Does he even know me?!"  Does he know my history with this exotic plant!?"  He had to remember.  I asked him why he would buy me an orchid, and crestfallen, he said, "Because it was beautiful, like you."  And Stella had helped him pick it out.  I said, "These things just die.  I'm just going to kill it.  You know I just kill these things."  (I'm sure I sounded like a biznitch, because I was being one.  I must note, however, that this was our 10th anniversary, and he bought this last minute and had not made any special romantic plans for us that day.  He just went to work.  It felt like a big deal to me, and it didn't seem like a big deal to him at all... See Tin Snips and Love Coupons.).

Yes, I should have said, "Awww, and given him a hug," but instead  I grumpily read the directions again:  I chose a place, different from last time, on our kitchen windowsill, and I plopped it there.  I decided to put two, not the three instructed, ice cubes in it every week.  And I just kept doing that.  And It kept not dying.  I mean it didn't die.  Low and behold, almost 9 months later, it is glorious and more beautiful than it was when the poor thing was cursed upon arrival to our home, on June 21st, 2012. What does that mean? I don't like it when people push symbolic meaning onto all things, however this plant sure seems to beg for some deeper (or not so deep) analysis:

1.  I didn't kill it.  I am not an orchid killer.  One can be quick to judge his or her abilities.

2.  Its stems have been heavy with lovely, deep fuchsia blossoms through summer, fall, winter, and now spring.  It hasn't stopped, or given up, or wilted even a little.  So, why can't we all blossom this way?

3.  The first plant died, this plant is a miracle.  Maybe it demonstrates how life can surprise all of us.  Don't expect the worst.  Try...  Keep trying...  And maybe it will blossom without too much help.

4.  And finally, when I went to take pictures of the beautiful orchid plant it became eye-poppingly clear Sam has gifted me a plant that looks so much like the female sexual organ, it's almost a bit pornographic... I mean really...  Look at it!  My analysis of this is that Georgia O'Keeffe knew what she was about.  Our bodies are beautiful.  Women need to see them that way more often.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Absence of Color.

I don't think I have ever, in my entire life, seen anything as black or white.  Everything has always been complicated... and I think too much.  My brain doesn't see one answer or the other.  I see everything all at once, and I'm overwhelmed.  I see every shade of every color.  I see the struggles of everyone around me.  I don't remember the last time, even in the depths of my depression, that I thought only of myself;  I still could respond to other peoples' pain, and the battles they were fighting.  I never consciously let go of other peoples' feelings.  I feel all of them on top of my own, and that often makes me feel more overwhelmed.  Or at least I think it does.

I am so unable to block out the suffering, or perceived suffering, of the people I love, I can become obsessively focused on them, worrying about them, and not concentrating on myself at all.  OCD.  It's easy for a brain that just wants to be healthy and happy to focus on one thing, and pretend the rest isn't really happening.

And I understand that that might be the reason I haven't moved forward far enough through my depression and anxiety.  I sometimes pretend some of the bad things don't exist.

But still, sometimes, I wish I could shut out other peoples' troubles, and focus on my own.  I want to be "fixed" and perfectly "normal" and "happy."  I wonder if I need to focus on my own problems, and then maybe I wouldn't become despondent, I wouldn't shut down.  Maybe just my own tragedies wouldn't be so overwhelming?  But I don't know how to fix myself.  I don't ever really give my brain the option of coming up with a solution.  I let myself sink into darkness.  And I kind of know that focusing on other people lets me ignore my own sadness.  I'll be honest.  My tragedies are overwhelming.

What if I focused on myself?  What if I stayed in my own head, and obsessed over my own troubles?  I'd lose it.  I'd lose it.  I'd lose it.  Because the last few years have been plagued with tragedy and sadness.  It is said that bad things come in threes:  Well my family has far exceeded three "bad things."  I'm hoping Mr. Life just forgot, and somehow tallied ours by years, and not tragic events.  Because that would mean that next year is going to be super, duper great for our family;  the year of miracles and beauty and magic and jubilation.  Tragedy has struck us for three years.  So we fucking deserve a break.  Omne trium perfectum?

And, If I saw the world in black and white, wouldn't that mean I was seeing a solution: It's this one or that one?  That sounds great.  Infinity = no solution.  Crawling down an amalgamate rainbow tunnel, well, it makes me dizzy.  But I guess I'm glad life hasn't just turned to brown --mixed too much, instead of just blending one into the next, layering one problem onto another-- just making a sludgy muck...

When I'm healthier and stronger, I hope I can see each one separately, and look them over with clarity.  Because I know that color or the absence of color... those are better than a quagmire of mud.  You can't sort that shit out.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Just in case I die.

I'm having surgery on my sinuses.  Surgery under general anesthesia is something I've undergone a few times.  This is the first time I have felt the weight of those consent forms, the ones that warn patients that they might die during surgery, in my hands. 

A long time ago, when Michael and Stella were just babies--newborns in fact, tiny little creatures that could barely see my face, but surely recognized their mother's smell and sound--I wrote a long letter listing all the things I hoped for for my children, in the event that I died and was not able to raise them myself.  This seems like a morbid thing to do, as I was in the midst of celebrating new life,  but the first moment I realized that I had someone(s) other than myself to take care of and someone(s) who couldn't take care of himself and herself, all that I wanted for for them to live and breathe and experience and just... be, appeared to me in a list.  First a list, then a series of images of them at each stage in their lives.  I wrote it all down.  I can't find it.  I can't find that darn letter. 

And now they are 6 years old.  Six:  Young, but so independent and determined.  They are already who they are.  They are wonderful; the epitome of beauty, inside and out--they know that inside matters more.  

I'm having surgery tomorrow, and I have been labeled by a few doctors now as being in the 1% club.  I'm the one who is that tiny fraction of a statistic who ruins the 100% accuracy of that statistic.  I go against what's supposed to happen. 

And I realize now, (as I go under the knife again), that instead of that long list of about 1000 things I want them to know, and do, and be, I just want them to be who they are, and simply know that I love them with every beat of my heart, and every flap of my "angel wings."