I’m sorry it was at your expense.

Thank you for parking in your usual space. You backed into it with your Camaro, despite the fact that today it was blocked off with orange cones and yellow warning tape to prevent people from driving into any of the trenches that have been dug in front of the multi-units where work is to be done. I couldn’t stop you, because there was a car in front of me that you were blocking, and it seemed that you were simply inconsiderately holding up traffic to make a K-turn. But, in broad daylight, you were inconsiderate to your car, knocking over the cones, breaking the tape, and plowing over the trench until you were securely in your familiar space and the front of your car scraped bottom. Because, dammit, that’s where you always park.

I said to myself, “I can’t fu**ing believe it! What an a**hole!”

Then I saw the symbolism, and said:

“But that’s what I do.”

*Southern for “getting ready to”

 

I pick a book off the library shelf—Change the Way You See Everything by Cramer and Wasiak. Cool photos, inspirational ideas until they get to be too much. I read a little more. Concentrate on the positive and stop trying to prevent and fix, it says. What???? Preventing and fixing is bad? That’s what I do. I’m furious. Back to the library you will go.

A few days go by. A few days of being at work, trying to prevent and fix, followed by a couple of days with a gnawing feeling that things are unpreventable and unfixable. Meanwhile, the people around me are content with working in pleasant, meandering ways.

I’ve noticed that the words that piss me off the most are often the truest.

I pick up the book again. This approach to things is definitely not me.

Yet.

When we were kids, we liked to dig in the yard. I scared my little sister once by telling her that the cluster of roots we found was the devil’s hair.

Up was good. Down was bad. Up was heaven. Down was hell. People climb the ladder. People fall from grace.

“I don’t understand where heaven is in space,” was a dilemma nobody would ever help me with as a child.

What is failing? Is it falling?

When we build upon sound underpinnings—great! When things fall apart because they are not based on a solid foundation, that is truth—great!

Hitting bottom when up is good and down is bad sounds awful. Hitting bottom on Earth in the Solar System in the Universe is the natural result of the wonderful force of gravity.

It is Mother Earth pulling you close into her arms and giving you a big hug.

Every Christmas, the people who are spiritual but not religious have to figure out what this all means. Like me, for example.

Each kid responds differently to religious upbringing. As adults, neither my latex (late-ex-husband) nor I ended up as fans of organized religion. While the Catholic little girl had desperately tried to fit as many Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s in before falling asleep to help the poor souls in purgatory, the Lutheran boy had been bored with services but happy with the church strawberry festival.

Who knows what combination of Catholicism, environmental pressure to do everything correctly, and genetic predisposition toward perfectionism shaped me.

Our church was old and beautiful in an inorganic way. Its spiritual feeling felt other-worldly, like a lonely trip into space. I would go there for confession, when I would list the human things I did that were called sins. I would dwell in the sacred atmosphere, feeling elevated as I left in the state of grace.

You can cognitively reject doctrines, but it’s amazing how you can continue for years reacting to the normal imperfections that make up the fabric of Life and of you and of others as if they were sins.

Last night, my daughter and I hung the ornaments on our Christmas tree. Some represent times in North Carolina. Some are from when my latex and I were dating. Rural North Carolina was not a good fit for me. My husband divorced me. A lot of imperfection. But those same ornaments represent a lot of good things, too. And those bittersweet ornaments will proudly be on the tree with the sweet ones, because Life is like the tag on the pocketbook that knows that the imperfections in the leather are natural and in no way should be seen as flaws.

In my opinion, religions have a lot to offer if they aren’t taken literally, and the symbol of God in human form is no exception.

Maybe God is in our trying, not in our trying to not make mistakes.

There is no security. Your security is in not expecting it.

Since an incident in October of 2008, I’ve gone through separation, family therapy, therapy with what became left of the family, pouring my thoughts onto paper, pouring my thoughts into cyberspace, lawyers, divorce, realtors, job interviews, moving companies…

I love where I’ve landed.

The visual of my experience is no longer the streaks from motion. I’ve stopped and things look different now.

I am starting to see through the eyes of a realistic woman. I am not a cynical woman. I am a woman who wanted to see magic and who got hurt by that.

I am a woman who knows that the world is already magical, and that it is best experienced while looking through clear lenses.

Plan B

This evening, my daughter and I went to the store to buy bagels, and she showed me this decorative spatula. I started crying and put it in the cart. I told her I hadn’t been able to post on my blog for almost two months, but that I’d take a picture of this and write. I finally was able to see what’s been happening through the haze.

After a stressful clinical, I finished my phlebotomy course. A few days later, I was offered a job (not in phlebotomy—maybe part-time someday?) that is right for me that has good benefits, bought a house with an iffy closing date which I need to move into before the closing on this house. Our family dealt with all the issues of the house I’m living in now (the homeplace owned by us siblings) going on the market and being sold. My new job is interesting but stressful since I don’t know what I’m doing yet. When I look at my finances, I see that things will be very tight, which is wonderful because a few days ago, before I decided to apply for early retirement benefits from my last NC job, they looked impossible. In the middle of all this, I flew out to South Dakota for my brother’s wedding and had a fun weekend.

Plan A was security, security, security. Which I found was a f**king lie.

Plan B is real life. Which I’m finding I’m pretty good at.

The spatula will hang in the entrance of my new home, welcoming all to my “Plan B”. It will have a special, sacred, dedicated place.

Then, as real life gets real, I might find I need to take it down from time to time to help me scrape by.