Things you don’t realize unless you really spend some time alone
There is no need to speak.
We have an inner dialogue speaking within, for some more frequent than others, for some verbally than others. Mine has been quite frequent and verbal. So much so that I am indeed one of those people who, not only talks to oneself, but also answers oneself. It is embarrassing to admit. But the more at ease I am with it, the less I feel the need to do it aloud. i can hear my thoughts… if I need the rest of my mind preoccupied a little more.
In my childhood I did this with stories… first imaginary friends, make believe scenarios for every occasion… pretending to be in movies, books, etc. As my skills progressed, I took a liking to writing fiction. I would constantly imagine plot twists and character details. Perhaps this is why I grew up writing my life story in every journal and loose letter I’ve saved and lost over the years. It isn’t that I think I’m particularly special or interesting… But really, if you document and correlate the details of anyone’s life, you can find interesting connections. Particularly for me, who gets so bored so easily. Amazingly, this boredom has been a hindrance more often than not. Many days when it did not feel worth it to leave the couch… or when I was in grad school had no couch, bed. I was depressed. I was suicidal.
I can say these things now. Because I really know, although I may have my blue days or even weeks, I will never want to end this story of my life in only one or two volumes.
I have been waiting too much of my life for a definitive moment. Something to put a “happily never after” on… What’s it all about? 42?
I went to my great-aunt’s funeral a few weeks ago.
There are these moments in time, when you find touchstones. Sometimes they are people. Sometimes they’re sequences of coincidences leading to a realization. My great-aunt Viola, aunt Vi, I learned the rest of her family called her- or Grannie (like Little Red Riding Hood), her funeral certainly was one such touchstone.
Aunt Vi, as I love to call her now, though I never did in her life, was an incredible woman. I have liked to think that my brothers and I were genetic mutations, improvements upon our gene pool. But here I found proof, beyond my self-deprecating parents, that we truly are of exceptional stock. Everyone whose face turned down upon hearing I’d recently went to a funeral has gotten this summary:
“She was 100 years old in July. She was in relatively good health, living in her own home, with her daughter and son-in-law, who were in worse health than she was herself. She had a stroke in August and had another couple months with her family to say goodbye, when she died in November. She outlived two husbands. The first one died of MS. She had all her faculties, a great memory, and never forgot who she was. She was volunteering in senior centers into her nineties. Amazing woman.”
A family member speaking at the funeral ceremony said it best, “Long live the queen.”
I was just astounded by how proud I for knowing and sharing blood with the woman. (I feel this way about my mother as well, and people are always intrigued when I speak of her as well… But it’s nearly impossible to make my mother fathom this.) I felt like the matriarch mantle had been thrown like a bride’s bouquet- and I was the only one there with my arms open wide to catch it.
Call me crazy, but I went through a lot of stuff during this woman’s last year on earth. I saw her twice during the year before she passed… not towards the end. I found out she died on Facebook. -And to some extent, I’m glad I missed the unpleasantness. For better or worse, things happen however they are going to happen. My grandfather died without my saying goodbye. My grandmother died shortly after I visited her in the hospital. Neither was preferable. People die. If we knew when it was going to happen, we would be more prepared for it.
…The year I’ve had… working on finding that definitive moment- every day there are these… from the moment we decide to get out of bed in the morning… and there are days I don’t. Choices. Life is nothing but choices. That’s why everything is a test. Inaction is a decision as much as action. “Do or do not, there is no try.” (-Yoda) I can do whatever I want. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. If it doesn’t; Did I give up? Was there an necessary element outside of my control? Was I dependent upon other individuals to achieve my goal? …and then, there will always be chaos in the world- which can never be planned for, influenced, or completely avoided.
But the good news is that, for the most part, there are rules. Some of these are rules are natural, others we mandate as individuals. We choose our own standards for which rules we expect others to live as well. This is how we determine who ought to be strangers, acquaintances, friends, and lovers… The chaos part lies within ourselves. We do not know why we love people we shouldn’t, even family.
A friend of mine and her mother are always at odds. Her mother does her more psychological harm than good, and my friend simply blames herself for not being able to help her mother… This describes at least 3 friends of mine.
How do we reconcile the details? How do gain control and not forget who we are in the hustle and bustle of life?
I’m a speech pathologist. Even before I was trained in teaching through multiple modalities, I understood that in order to learn anything, I had to experience doing it repetitiously, read it, write it, say it, hear it… and that is how I think memoirs are written. The art is i the editing. Cleaning something up, making it sound better. But the ideas… the ideas have to flow like cheap whiskey.
Write what you know… and although I never try to be interesting, I am always looking for things to keep me interested. This process, recorded is rather fun to look back upon… and what else will I have to do in my eighties? (Supposing I live anywhere near as long as my aunt Vi.) I’m pretty sure that is the answer.
November 29, 2011