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Love and heartbreak

Bittersweet is an underrated word.
I try to gear myself up to meet my dad for dinner after time apart like I’m meeting a friend – excited and ready for a good time… because if I stop and think about how much I’ve missed him, how long it’ll be again until I see him I’ll be distracted trying to extract all I can from each meeting.

But as conversation twists and turns into conversation about his life, his upbringing and what he’s doing these days I see my father for who he is.
Not the first time, but the first time it was met with an adult compassion – like a human to another human not from a daughter to a father. It’s a surreal moment.
He talks about his late parents and his blue eyes begin to swell with tears. He talks about how he felt as a child, adolescence, and adult with a sentimental remembrance. Any bitterness he might have once felt, any frustration, any insecure inadequacy  is replaced with longing for more time.
I dread speaking about him the way he talks about his father more than anything in this world. I dread the feeling that he’s feeling, but if I’m learning still from my father it is how to look at the past and the people who you love with kindness, sentimentality, and understanding. How to be graceful in your mourning. How to honor their passing. I’m still learning from my father even now.
My heart breaks. I don’t see my father the way that I remember him as a child – not the image that my memory clings onto, but for where he really is at. Older. I try to ignore and brush off talks about his health like he’s being dramatic, but I can see he isn’t as limber as he might’ve once used to be.
That’s the strange part about living far away from a parent. Each visit hits you more and more that they’re living another life in another city, and you see it on their face when the too far and few between visits present themselves. Time has a new wrinkle, a new ailment, a new concern. Time is a visible thing.
The most heartbreaking thing you can do is love somebody.
I don’t mean that to sound like a hardened Bukowski statement, it’s an endlessly rewarding thing, but to love someone is heartbreaking.
To watch people you want to see happy trip over themselves, stand in their own way, is heartbreaking.
To know someone is heartbreaking. To know their past and present is strange, odd, and beautiful.
I am obviously not a parent, but I can imagine that it is probably one of the truly most terrifying, softening thing.

My dad tells me a few lessons that his father taught him, that it was important to him that you be mindful of how you treat people on the way up the ladder because they’re going to still be there around on your way down. To treat each person you know equally, disregard their status and wealth, treat them all with equal amounts of respect.
I didn’t know my grandfather all that well. Sure, I spent many holidays at their house, but we did not bond all that much. I don’t think he knew what to do with little girls. It wasn’t until after my grandmother passed away he started expressing more of an interest in who I was. And even then, it wasn’t much. But I feel as if I know him more now through my father, learned from him through his son. I think that’s probably how life just is sometimes.

Transient, bittersweet life.

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Free Fallin’

Someone mentioned to me the other day that I looked different.

I equated this to the fact that my hair was pulled against my face which is uncommon practice for me – due to laziness and the fact that your face is so exposed.

I’m playing the idea of growing out my bangs again. In some recess of my mind it fills some need for novelty in the familiar of everyday life.I know that in six weeks I will cut them again. This is simply an attempt at trickery with myself.

I was corrected.

“You’re wearing lighter colors than you usually do,” I was told.

This immediately struck me peculiar as I was feeling darker than is common.

I am a gal prone to dark moments of thought. Anyone near and dear to me know this fact. There is never anything necessarily wrong in my life, I just occasionally get gray like the winter days here. Prone to long bouts of rumination and introspection.

I was in this mood when I called a friend and asked to come over.

My only  attempt at understanding these moods these days is trial and error. I would have previously taken this mood as an indication that rest is required. That hasn’t made any more sense to me over the years as forcing myself to do the thing my mind says I shouldn’t.

So, fuck it, maybe my mood will be a burden on someone else, maybe that is what friends do. I’ll figure it out, but I’ll also stop being afraid to find out.

The comment did not strike me as odd because I was surprised I was wearing bright colors for being so sullen, it struck me odd because that’s a premeditated thing that I do. I always fancy up when I’m feelin’ down. That isn’t to say that I do when I’m happy to, it’s just a very common practice when I’m living a little too within myself.  Maybe I think that it will cheer me up, or at least deflect.

I hadn’t realized how obvious parts of me are to others. Parts that I think are so cleverly hidden.

I shouldn’t be so surprised though.

As I asked questions to this individual the tone I was met with was defensive like they’d been asked a million times, when I simply was inquiring. Of course they’ve been asked a million times…. by the own self.

As easily as I see others – others see me. That isn’t something that I think about that often. It is rather uncomfortable to, actually.

In thinking about how the external affects the internalr I thought about other sensory details in my life.

My mother has always found a sort of salvation in rock n’ roll. From as early as I can remember I’ve been a passenger in her car to blaring rock music with the bass cranked so intensely the whole car shakes.

Strangely, in her church I found an intense association with a certain sound of music as a very pure thing.

I’ve been compulsively listening to Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin.” Once I get sick of that, I alternate between various cover versions.

I remember being a child listening to this song and feeling some sense of freedom within it. It sounded like what I had imagined true freedom felt like. This free falling and a carefree approach about it. A wisdom in not fighting the fall, but just letting it happen. Of knowing the truth about yourself, but still enjoying the fall of it because you chose to be it.

The song sounded to me like sunsets, open roads, and a hot arm under the sun’s spotlight in an open window. The most romantic parts of being unbound.

As I grow older I’ve lived on both sides of this song. I have been the bad boy standing in shadows that doesn’t even miss her. I have been the good girl at home with a broken heart, crazy about Elvis. The muse for this entire thought being the two that inspired these vacillating roles.

In either side I am free falling.

As I listen to this song again I feel that similar sense of possible freedom. However, no matter what observations, what I think is absurd of society, what ideals I think should be upheld,  I have to reconcile this with the fact that I do live within that world. Standing on the outside looking in and unwilling to join does not work. Standing on the inside looking out and unwilling to join those on the fringes of society does not work. There are things to accept. And there are things to simply let go.

Balance is no new concept. Everyone knows it’s a goal to achieve, but I guess it’s a goal you spend your lifetime on. Maybe letting go of trying to get it sooner is part of the ‘acceptance’ and ‘let go.’ W

I don’t want to live in the woods and create energy from solar power. Fuck that. I am lazy.

I don’t want to shake hands with rude people and show them respect simply because they make more money than I do. Fuck that. I’m honest.

However, which can I stand?

I can stand wearing lighter colors and having people close enough to me recognize that when I look the lightest I need pressed the hardest.

I can stand listening to ‘Free fallin’ for hours on repeat, a little ‘hazy’ and allowing myself to fall down into the music.

I mean what more does one need than the freedom to choose to grow their bangs out?

If I really, really think about it, freedom for me doesn’t really mean abandoning rules of society. It isn’t escaping to become an outlaw. It isn’t about having so much money I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.

For me it is about being able to live inside with myself and accept the decisions I make and allow myself to freely fall with the consequences of those decisions – for better or for worse – and to accept the consequences – for better or for worse – because I did choose them. To learn. To not need less, to not need more, to want exactly what I have.

That’s what I think. I think that’s my free fallin’, but hell,  who knows. I’m over this hippy dippy shit now.