Friday, June 26, 2015

"Forget your perfect offering....

.....There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

This week has been stressful, a bummer, challenging, awakening, enlightening, joyful and most of all a reminder of the profound and complex beauty of the soul. So many people I know are hurting or lost or sick or scared or stressed right now. People I love dearly and who love me back. I was starting to really feel kind of empty, honestly. I hated it and kept trying to remember how to have faith. How to find the joy in the tiny moments of a perfectly cooked noodle, a cat snuggling my face or singing Whitney Houston songs at the top of my lungs. It helped but didn't heal. I've been trying so hard to not feel sad about the world and to see the good but I just was starting to go blind to anything positive.

Don't life is wonderful. My health is decent. My family is loving and smart and supportive. Jason is my best friend and amazing husband all in one. My friends are warm and kind and funny. My job is great. I am good. LIFE is good. But the felt very painfully NOT good.

Then I got the news this morning that there is no more "gay marriage" there is simply and perfectly now only marriage. My friends are now legally allowed to have the same kind of life long companionship that I have. That my parents have. That their parents had. All of a sudden I started filling up again. I was literally vibrating inside with just pure happiness and pride. I read all of my friends , gay and straight, celebrating this historic moment online. I ran into a co-worker, Molly, in the bathroom while I was trying to de-splotch my face from crying and she said "I know. I feel so emotional too! My aunts are married and now.....I'm just so happy". My Aunts. It just added to my joy.

Here they are! They got married last summer and have been together more than twenty years! What a beautiful family they make!

Then a little later I watched our President eloquently eulogize a good man who didn't deserve to die. Who died because of the color of his skin. Let's not mince words. That's what happened. Then he started to sing Amazing Grace. And I remembered. I remembered what faith in this gorgeous universe felt like again. I remembered what my true beliefs are. The darkest times are filled with light and grace and humor and connection. I have to say I just feel so much better. I feel safer. I feel warmer. I feel like myself again.

It would be beyond naive of me to think that the world is just now nothing but good. It's still pretty horrifying. I mean...some dismal tragic shit happened today as well. It's also still very very beautiful and filled with bright souls that just want to love and be loved. I'm holding onto that today. Like turbo vice grip style. (also the working title of the sequel to the buddy cop film based on a dream I had by Extant's writer Mickey Fisher, Top Cops OH how rude of me...let me pick up that name I just dropped.)

So today let's love it up. Ignore the vitriol by the other side. They are just afraid and that's ok too. The world warrants a ton of fear. I'm terrified at LEAST half the time. I get that. For crying out loud I'm just trying to add spinach to smoothies and sit up straighter and I feel like I'm dancing with the devil. Change is hard and you don't know how it ends. Be kind to those that disagree. The last thing we need is more hate. I'm working on it too. Today made me want to try and be a better friend, wife, sister, daughter, niece and aunt. Less judgement. More deep breaths before speaking something negative to make SURE I really need to say it. Less worry and more trust. More spinach and less noodles. Just kidding. ALWAYS more noodles.

That's it. I love you all. Being alive is the coolest. Keep your faith, whatever that means to you. Stay up later than you should and talk to each other (hi you) More importantly listen. Comfort. Challenge. It will be ok. It really will! I believe that again with all my heart. What a relief!

Now turn this up to 11 and dance like Whitney would've WANTED, GURL! Today is great.

Monday, June 08, 2015

What of a much of a witch of a wind.

I'm off today and watching a storm roll in.  It's so crazy to me how it changes.  The wind whips up, the sky turns an impossible grey and boom!  Weatha's comin'.  (Said in a bad east coast accent ala a Kennedy).
I have always been terrified of storms.  I also have always loved them.  That feeling you get in your belly pit that says "hunker down!".  I like how everything stops and snuggles up.  Windows need to be closed.  Pets comforted.  A radio turned on for alerts.  
I could probably start a whole new blog just based on all my favorite storm stories.  Although they are never really about the storms.  They are about who you are hunkered down with.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rainy and relaxed

After a weekend of moving half our apartment and cats to a new apartment (ours is being renovated), two days of our cats forgetting they are brothers and hissing all night long, one migraine and a week of work I am doing this all day.  And loving it.  I don't even care about sentence structure.  That's how chill I am.  Also my cats love each other again.  Enjoy your Saturday, friends.  I love you!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throw Back Thursday: Two Bikes, One Viola

In sixth grade you got to be a cadet. Cadets got to fold and unfold and fly the flag every day. They got to announce the bus arrivals over the loud speaker. But their most important job was ensuring the other elementary school kids only crossed the street when it was safe and supervised.

I loved joining things. I didn’t always love the work part though. That was the same year I was so bad at the viola that my orchestra teacher made me hold my violin on my lap during the concert for two of the songs. I was GREAT at fake playing and let’s face it the other kids weren't exactly a bunch of Shoji Tabuchis.

I couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents before the recital so when the time came I put my viola on my knee as instructed and bawled my face off for the rest of the concert. My parents had been on me to practice more since I think that viola was about $4568998.29 to rent but they were so sweet that night. They agreed with me that embarrassing a super early bloomer with a VERY unstable emotional threshold was just plain mean.

Point being, I have always tended to like ideas more than realities.

When the time came to be a cadet I was so excited. I remembered my sisters telling me about the badges you get to wear and how there was a whole closet full of rain coats and hats you got to choose from in the event of inclement weather. Safety stops for no one. Not even Mother Nature.

There were lieutenants and captains. Captains had way more responsibility and were highly respected. Usually you had to EARN that position through exemplary work but for the first round they just chose alphabetically. My last name was Allen so I was automatically a captain.

I don’t really remember the instructions and duties of this position because after they said “Crescent Allen will be Captain” I flew away to a place where I was famous for singing AND acting AND running the best God damn unit of crossing guards this side of the Wisconsin River.

Much like the viola I didn't really do that well. Not only did I not do well…. I did not well FAST. You needed three demerits to be kicked off the force and I had two the first week. I know one of them had to do with me talking to boys instead of making sure a pack of first graders didn't get hit by buses. (Talking to boys has been getting me in hot water for years but just try to stop me!)

Whoa! You know what I just remembered??? The teacher that ran the cadets was the OTHER orchestra teacher! I CALL CAHOOTS! They must have just been jealous of my uni-brow and imperfect complexion.

I think I made it another week before getting my final demerit bumping me down to a mere lieutenant status. I was heartbroken. I now had to answer to my best friend who in the same short amount of time had been SO great at cadet-ing that she was promoted to Captain. I wished her well but wished the teacher NOT very well. Sorry to talk so tough but that’s just the truth.

The year went by and my passion for flag folding had faded. I enjoyed announcing the bus arrivals but only because I knew everyone got to hear my voice over a microphone which has always been a hobby of mine. At the end of the year there was an all-district cadet picnic. The only real reason I stuck it out. There were prizes…so many prizes. I remember winning three pair of fluorescent socks of my choosing for a bean bag toss. But that was only the beginning. After lunch and the games there was an assembly in the auditorium. Every elementary school was there. There were two giant prizes based on actual merit and performance. A trip to Noah’s Ark Water Park and a trip to Washington DC. Captain Deanna (my best friend) won the trip to DC. She deserved it. I believe safety went up 60% while she was in office.I was happy for her.

Then there was a raffle drawing that every single cadet in Stevens Point, Wisconsin was entered in. There were at least 600 kids there. A simple drawing from a hat for a brand new Schwinn 12 speed bike and there would be only one winner. I won the bike. I WON THE BIKE! EAT IT ORCHESTRA LADIES! I remember shaking so hard as I came up to accept the award that I was sure I was going to faint/barf, a bad habit of mine at the time. I had to stand up there for the singing of the national anthem and I have to tell you….I've never been so proud to serve my country as I was that day. Maybe I didn't earn or deserve that bike but dammit I won it randomly and THAT’S the real lesson in all of this.

When we got back to our school I stopped by my locker and got my viola case, got my bike off the bus and wheeled it over to where my other 12 speed was. I then attempted to balance the giant rectangular case on my handlebars of the old bike while I used my other hand to steer the extra bike next to me. It wasn't easy but it was the most triumphant ride I've ever taken.

My dad just happened to be driving by and pulled up next to me and had that face I've seen him have a million times over the course of my life...…the “I’m not even sure how to address what you are doing right now but it looks dangerous and stupid and completely NOT thought through” instead he said “Crescent. Where did you get another bike?” I held my head high and said “I won it Dad. I won it for being a cadet.” He started laughing and said “well good for you CT! Do you want me to put it in the trunk and take it home?” I declined the offer and kept on riding….wiggling dangerously down the street into the summer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Things I Like About Being 40

I've gotten really great at crying. That sounds depressing but I mean it in a positive way. I used to hold in my cries so hard that it would feel like all my organs were trying to push out of my throat. Now I just let it out and it's just the best. Watching the final Madmen last night I got to the phone call between Don and Betty and he called her "Birdie" and I just let it fly. Barking loud sobs while also sort of saying "Oh DON!" at the same time. Felt amazing. I highly recommend it. Let go of that stupid "I promised myself I wouldn't cry" bullshit and just get it out! I do it with happy things too. At my Dad's recent surprise 75th birthday we had all his siblings from Kentucky come up for the party. When he saw them all come up the stairs I tried to get a video but you can't hear anything anyone is saying because of my wracking joy sobs. It was just such a happy moment! THEN his baby sister found his BABY BOOK from his CHILDHOOD and that did it for me. I just leaned on him while he looked through it and let my face pour water like an Italian fountain. I'm still not sure how everyone else stayed so dry eyed. I told them they had hearts of stone through my sobs. I did. My mom brought it up the next morning and said it was the funniest thing she's ever heard which is EXACTLY what a stone heart would say! Just kidding. My mom's heart is made of pure squish and love.

Another thing I love is that once I turned 40 I went BLIND! I tried to read the pasta specials at the cafeteria across from my office and no matter how I squinted I couldn't tell if they were serving Bucatini, Capellini or Mussolini,. FINALLY I got to get glasses! I love them so much. I've wanted them my whole life and they look so great on me. Sorry but they do. I just wear them to read or when I want people to see me wear them because of how cute they are. Or when I just want to have them on so I can take them off and look like I'm thinking about something really important and fancy like "Did I remember to put the covers on our three swimming pools and to pay the diamond polisher?.......I did. Phew." then put them back on with a relieved double nod. Or if I'm feeling more "of the people" I'll whip them off in a panic and say "has it really been FOUR years since I last read Orwell? read it last week silly smart woman." I usually act out these moments for Jeffrey and Seeger only because they really appreciate live theater.

The best "lordy lordy I'm fairly comfortable with 40" realization has been that I'm doing ok. I'm doing fine. I look good enough. I like the color of my hair and my new bangs. I feel good most of the time. My crippling panic attacks about cancer and death are few and far between. I'm able to manage them with love and care instead of self annoyance. I am surrounded by love and love my surroundings. In a strange turn of events this peace and ease with myself and life has given me more ambition and desire to improve and do new things than when I was constantly mad at myself for being so aimless. So we'll see where all that lands. Or not. Regardless I am happy right this second and most other seconds. The few that I'm not I'm looking at as opportunities to grow instead of horrible places to exist. It's working for me for now and that's exactly where I am. Now.

Until we meet again (hopefully tomorrow because blogging daily is on my newly written goal list)......

Love as usual,

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A Happiness Placeholder

I know I never write on here anymore but I realized this morning on the train that we are the happiest we've ever been right this very second. Jason co-owns a really cool restaurant that he is shaping and creating. He's using exclamation points in texts instead of periods. He is happy to head to work on the space every day. We are doing fun things all the time and remembering to really appreciate them. It's just a great summer. I know this isn't how it will always be but it is today and I want to make sure that's documented so that when things are hard again I can go back and be reminded of the intrinsic roller coaster nature of life.

Anyway, that's all for now. Short but sweet. The sweetest it's been in a long time. It won't last forever but I'm very grateful for today. And my cats. And noodles.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Movie That Nearly Ended A Marriage

Megan and Jason and I had dinner together last night and the topic of documentaries came up. I was going on and on about Walk Away Renee. A very depressing story of mental illness that I, of course, loved. Both Megan and Jason had horrified faces as I described the main plot. Woman gets shock treatments as a girl and is never the same. Son moves her all over the country to try and find the right facility to help her. It’s the feel bad movie of the year.
Anyway, I loved it.

This conversation lead to the story of “the day Jason was the maddest at me in our entire relationship”.

I had just found out I had to start chemo in a few weeks. I was still healing from surgery. Things were tough to say the least. All I really felt like doing was distracting myself with movies and Jason would patiently let me pick them and watch them with me. I was already sort of on thin ice for picking Up as a Sunday afternoon pick me up film. I was a hysterical sobbing mess about 30 seconds into it and it only got worse. Jason wasn’t much better. After it was over he just looked at me and said “JEEEZE CRESCENT!”

A week or so later I decided maybe documentaries would be better. We watched a couple that were just okay. Then I rented Dear Zachary and was nearly divorced by the end of it. Having been burned in the heart by Up, Jason sat me down and looked me in the eyes and said “before I agree to watch it….what is it about?”

“Well this guy gets murdered and his best friend tries to make a movie to show his still alive son what his dad was like. It’s supposed to be really sweet.”

“Hmmm ok I guess.”

If you haven’t seen it never do. NEVER! It’s not sweet. It’s the most depressing movie of all time.

Jason was already prickly about the murder part. He was angry that this crazy woman was still free and had obviously killed her husband. Then out of nowhere the woman kills the child. I know. I had no idea that happened AND refused to believe it. Jason slowly turned to me with rage in his eyes. “Are you kidding me?!” I said “wait…no. That can’t be what happens. I think it’s a twist.”

It wasn’t a twist. Jason was furious with me. It was hilarious. I felt like I had cheated on a math test and gotten caught, or stolen some lipstick from Walgreen’s or given my little sister that I don’t have a black eye from horsin’ around.

“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO WATCH THIS AND WE ARE ALREADY DEPRESSED ENOUGH HERE! WHY WOULD I OR YOU NEED TO SEE THIS! Honestly Crescent…. I’m just really mad and disappointed.” I think we watched the end just for completion sake but he iced me out the rest of the day.

It still makes me laugh so hard to remember even though it was so not funny at the time. It was like poor J was just hanging on for dear life. Wife has cancer, she can’t have kids, starting chemo, just had surgery… but he always kept it together for me the best he could. He’d cook dinner. He’d drive me to appts. He’d let me cry so hard I sounded like a new born baby. He was amazing. Still is. But every man has his limit and Dear Zachary was Jason’s. Seeing something so horrifying and sad just lifted the lid off of his blazing hot hatred of anyone being treated unjustly. It’s one of my favorite things about him even though I have seen it break his heart a million times, the world being what it is.

Thankfully we did NOT get divorced that day. In fact I think that was right around the time I rented Old School and showed it to him for the first time as a peace offering. He laughed harder than I’d seen him laugh in years at that stupid movie. We spent the rest of cancer watching Anchorman, Step Brothers, Old School (basically three times a week) and every other 7th grade humor film we could find. We’d had our fill of real life and real injustice. It was time to usher in the era of fart jokes, prat falls and bits about darts in necks…and we’ve never looked back.