Jun 29, 2012

Growing back.

A shaved head starts to grow back fast! No wonder dudes with short hair get their hair cut regularly.  It's SO interesting to see this process, when your hair is long you don't get to see the difference so drastically.  It's also crazy to see this mystery color, my true color, appear.

Now, while I shaved it as short as can be it wasn't bald.  But in just under two weeks it's already a lot less Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta:

And a lot more Monchichi:

Jun 28, 2012

The always of opposites.

I'm starting to get it.  

There are "stages of grief".  They are supposed to come in a particular order.  Mine sure haven't.  My sweetheart wasn't surprised to hear that.  "You march to the beat of your own drum", he said.  He also reminds me how sensitive I am, how deeply I feel and that it's okay.  But becoming okay with that, accepting and nurturing that part of myself took awhile.  Oh boy, it can be hard.

"It must be hard for you to exist on this plane".  You've heard me talk about the intuit who said that to me nearly a decade ago.  It always stayed with me.  I think of it often.  While I now realize I didn't grasp what that fully meant until recently, my soul shouted YES! Someone gets it, someone knows! As I read and learn in my spiritual quest, I learn that it is literally hard for me to exist on this plane.  And that's just as real as anything else.

I've had a strange path, leading me to where I am now.  Finally learning to live authentically.  Deeply and truly authentically.

When my uncle died, the change was instant.  I can't stress enough how instant it was.  I also can't stress enough how profound the experience was.  Seeing life and death with your own eyes, and experiencing in a group, as a family...words fail me.

I felt everything slide right into place.  More visceral than I'll be able to describe.  It was like the invisible shade I had all around me (and didn't even know it) was snapped up.  Quick.  It revealed my truth.  I felt lighter.  It was simple.  It was so peaceful.  It was love.  It was right.  It was authentic.

Yet I would only get there through a death.

My "nonsense" cleared.

Over the next few days, the week of the funeral, the change in the way I viewed family and roles in a family happened.  A few posts back I talked about my mom.  I saw her through the time at Chucks bedside at the hospital in a way I'd never seen.  As a child.  As a sister.  When I saw her speak at the funeral, I saw her as one full of more compassion than you and I will ever understand.  I saw her as love and heartbreak.  I saw her as the mother, too.  I hadn't looked, really looked in quite awhile.  That's when my heart literally swelled with how proud I was of her.  How in awe I was of what she was capable of.  And that was my mother.  My mother.

I learn more about my dad all the time.  I begin to see beyond into the soul of him.  What he's endured in his life, what he gives to those he loves, the  inspiration he is to those around him.  I don't think he even knows all that he has to teach.  I bond with him over ideas and philosophies and books lately in a way I never knew I would.  Being able to share quotes, articles, videos and trips to the bookstore with our like minds has been nothing short of incredible.

(I also feel new appreciation for being the product of both of these people.  A real life manifestation of the physical and the nonphysical of them.  And of them in particular.  How interesting! Nothing is by chance.)

I saw my aunts and my uncle get their hearts ripped out.  I saw them cry.  I saw them comfort each other and be comforted.  I saw parents who I'd heard yell at their son more often than not break down with the loss of love and all forgiven.  I hear them say goodbye and speak their most private thoughts out loud.  Hearts were speaking...and weeping.  It was felt, and heard.  It's a binding experience and as I've been reading about death and life after lately I realize how lucky it was for Chuck to have gone surrounded by loved ones, in a home of a sibling.

I saw my sweetheart as someone I don't ever want to take for granted and was reminded of how fortunate I am to have the love of someone like that for the last seven years.  That's a big deal.  I know true unconditional love.  I know real love.  I know real partnership.  I know unwavering devotion.  When you have those things, they come easy.  There is no persuasion.  There is nothing up for discussion.  It just exists between a pair.  It just is.  There is a nonlocal communication between us.  The connection truly transcends.  And I want to keep that part of my life private for me more often than not.  It is my most preciously held aspect of my life.  Again, words fail me.  So sometimes I say nothing in this forum of blogging / internet.

Everyone was different that day.  I observed these roles in a family and started to really understand.  Cycles.  Of old and young, of parent and child, of life and death.

I was different.

I saw myself no longer boxed in.  The old, "If I wasn't an actress, what was I? If I wasn't a performer, what was I? If I wasn't Deena Marie and Deena Marie alone, what was I?" But what was I if I already was those things, yet always searching? Why the current of not being satisfied always running just below the surface?

I was suddenly freed from the lables I'd put on myself.  They'd been constraining tighter each year and I didn't know it.  I suddenly had permission to be whatever I wanted.  It was incredible! I don't know why that's when it truly hit me that I can do whatever it is I wanted, but it was.

I can't explain the free.

I don't have to be a label! I don't have to only do one thing.  What will happen if I don't do what is expected, and I really and truly tune into my heart? What if I strip off all the stuff and live simply? Appreciate the riches I have amassed and often overlook? Such as the people in my life.

We live in a world where amassing more in the physical / materialistic plane is the norm.  It is expected.  It leads to a constant state of me, me, me.  Of, "the grass will be greener if I can just get to the other side".  But after that side is another side, and another...and another.  We seek to be the best, the prettiest, the most loved.  We seek this love and admiration for the sake of strangers and wave a hand at the loved ones who matter most! It's insanity!

I couldn't believe the transformation when I realized that if I wanted to shave my head, I could! Because why not? Why do we tell ourselves no, talk ourselves out of things, scare ourselves, only think ahead?

My clarity has come in a tidal wave.  There have been moments this month where I want to throw my head back and laugh and shout to who ever is around me that I feel liked I'm unlocking the secrets to the universe!

I understand now that I am not my art, and my art is not me.  I can detach from what I create.  I can be immune to both compliment and criticism.  One can't exist without the other, but both can damage in their way.  In putting art out this way, it is a purely joyful experience.

Syncronicity is the invisible, magic thread of the universe.  Today I came across a quote in the new People magazine of all places by one of my favorite inspirations, Shirley MacLaine.  I know it was meant for me to see today.

"Acting is my avocation.  My questions, my search, that is my vocation."

You'll see it, going back in my blog posts over the years.  I would word it in ways like, "I hate the though I won't live to see secrets of the universe!" And "Science is where it's at! Pay attention in your math and science classes!" My search was just starting to brew.  To say I was scratching the surface was an understatement.  As it turns out, my search wanted me more than I knew.  "What you seek is seeking you"? Hmmm....

If you would have explained this new sense of awareness, this clarity to me a year ago, even a month ago, I would't have understood.  Everything in it's time.  I truly believe that.  I came across a new artist I've been really inspired by last week at the Art Festival, Lynden Saint Victor.  "We don't know what it is we don't know," was a quote in a story behind one of his paintings.

Other times I am so sad over this death I really feel like a day won't go by that I won't cry.  Then I worry for a minute that these kind of tears can't be normal.  But who is to say what is normal or what can possibly be expected?

I am being much kinder to myself, truly surrendering.  Experiencing each wave of emotion as it comes.  I have not lived in the moment more than I have this last month.  It happened so naturally.  I truly believe it is our natural state to feel present and to feel joy.  We are the ones who bring stress on ourselves, and the ones who can remove it and live beyond the surface.

I am learning about death as a miracle, as the other side of birth.  We can't have one without the other.  Opposites are all around us but yet they are so similar! Embracing that and being aware has been the greatest thing.  It's a huge comfort to me because I've always been sensitive to the juxtaposition in me and in life.  To know it has to be that way and that it's closely related is a sigh of relief and a huge hug.

I see the cycles and the circles.  I see now how I want to be as a daughter, a niece, a cousin, a wife.  I also for the first time truly see how I want to be a mother.  I didn't understand that before.  When I was living only in the materialistic, ego driven consciousness.  I couldn't do it.  I didn't want to do it.  I could't make sense of what it would mean for me to assume that role.  How would it change the identity I'd built? How would it change my role to my own mother? How would it affect my career? How would it affect me physically?

Having a step up into my higher consciousness and learning to dwell lightly in the body, I now crave it.  I know I not only want to do it, but that I can do it (and I think I have some pretty great thoughts to pass on).  I have a perfect partner for me in which to have such a profound experience with.  And now I see for the first time what it means to me, to manifest a new life with the one I love and who loves me.  The one I get to walk this earth with.  I desire participating and contributing to the cycles of life and death.  And I respect the time in which they have both come and will come, to me.  I am not only ready, but longing to step outside myself.  To step out and to give and share in every way.

Opposites.  Always opposites.  Happy and sad.  Taken for granted and appreciated.  Compliments and criticism.  Daughter and mother.  Life and death.

We need one to understand the other.

I'm starting to get it.  

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The Descent of Sophia Painting and story below by Lynden Saint Victor


"This painting is a mirror of the ancient Jewish myth of the soul journey known as The Descent of Sophia (the Goddess of Wisdom).

As the story goes, Sophia is a perfect spiritual being at bliss in the cosmos representing the soul. But she does not recognize the beauty of her true nature so she descends to the earthly plane to experience all of life’s trials, both bitter and sweet. During her journey she travels to the depths of despair as a prostitute only to be reminded of the joy she once knew. With her newly acquired experiences she ascends back to the cosmos only this time fully aware of the bliss of her true nature. Jesus story of the Prodigal Son is a mirror of this as well. It is Sophia who has now gained the wisdom of self awareness and is the messenger of that to all of us experiencing the earthly side of life on our journey back to the realization of our true nature.

In the painting Sophia is wearing aviator headgear signifying the journey upon which she has embarked. She is dressed on the top half in a golden blouse bedecked with jewels signifying the bliss of her life in the cosmos, however, her lower half is in the symbolic attire of the prostitute signifying her lower journey on the earthly plane. She has descended down on the balloon bringing down the embodiment of conscious awareness to a humanity still in it’s early stages of evolution operating within a sphere of instinctually programmed survival mechanisms signified by the little robot. As she presents the balloon to the little robot he is united with his conscious awareness and suddenly his caged instincts are released as signified by all the blackbirds flying out of his birdcage mid-section. All that remains are two love birds gathered together within the cage in the shape of a heart."

Jun 27, 2012

A gift...

So the next time you're faced with something that's unexpected, unwanted and uncertain...
consider that it just may be a gift.

Jun 24, 2012

One month today.

My heart still breaks.  
I still have fits of crying that rack me hard, 
hurt like hell and I wonder if they'll ever stop. 
I am still in shock of how bad losing a loved one hurts.  
I am still surprised that I had no idea.  Although why would I? 
I can't believe all the change that's happened in the last month.  

Dear Chuck,

Guess what?! You'll never believe this.  In the last month, I SHAVED my head! If you saw it, you'd look at me like I was nuts and say one of the phrases you always say, "have you gone mad?" I've been to visit grandma and grandpa twice and climbed up a mountain by their house.  We're thinking of getting a cat.  A cat! What do you think of that? What do you think Noodles will think of a cat? We're looking out for Lacey.  We've all been with her a lot.  We're checking on her, we're helping her.  She came to Dave's play.  It happened to be on Fathers Day.  We went out to eat first.  It was a really good day.  She loved the show.  Lo bought her a cute new shirt she wore to the show.  We all talked about you a lot.  We talked about you loving cake and she told me about the deals you can get on day old cakes at the bakery.

I've been to your apartment twice now.  I love it and I hate it.  It smells like you.  It makes me sad and it makes me happy.  At first I didn't want to remove a single item.  I wanted everything to stay intact.  I don't know what for.  In case you came home? I must know deep down you won't.  But your apartment still feels so alive.  So full of the energy of you.  Your baseball magnet is on my fridge.  The key decoration Lo had bought you that was on your wall is at my house now.  I think I've found a place to hang it.  I am going to take back some of my furniture you had and put in my house.  Now I feel like it's incorporating you and I can see it everyday and I like the idea of that.

I hope you liked the speech I gave at your funeral.  I hope you know what you've sparked and inspired like wildfire since you left us.  I hope you know that while we'll survive this, we'll never get over this.  Guess what else, you'll love this.  I sleep with Lon, your blanket, on my bed every single night!

I asked Lo if she remembered one of the pranks I pulled on you, we called you and when you answered we played some old song that you know on a record in her room.  We didn't say anything, we assumed you'd think it was a person from high school or something.  You kept saying, "who is this?" And you wouldn't hang up and we were trying so hard not to laugh.

Remember the morning you called me, not too long ago and I told you to stop calling and get a Facebook? Ha ha ha! You said you couldn't get one.  I asked why and you said, "I'm an outlaw!" And told me you were wanted!

I was looking through the pictures on Claudes phone in Leeds and found some of us, Lo took them on her camera phone and sent them to me and of course I forgot to save them.  I am so glad to have found them.  It hit me hard to see them, but I didn't say anything.  I just sent them to myself.  I'll post them for you below.  I found another that Lo had taken and sent me, again one I forgot to save.  It's you with a donut I brought you, ha ha! Those were the last times I was ever at your apartment when you were.

Time sure plays tricks, Unc.  One month feels like so long ago and just like yesterday.  You'd love to hear the way grandma talks about you.  "My kingly son", she said the other day.  Wow, Chuck.  Wow.

When Lo and I have gone on walks, we see a lot of special things, mostly animals.  It reminds us of you.  This little dark squirrel ran along the top of a fence, almost alongside us as we walked for a good stretch of time.  It just felt like it meant something.  We saved a huge butterfly, and saw a family full of baby ducks on that same walk.

Sometimes I am hit by strange thoughts.  I'll suddenly remember that there are messages on your answering machine and it strikes me as so odd and surreal and sad.  Or that you have a new bottle of juice and a frozen pizza in your fridge.  Or that your phone number is still in my phone.  Or if your most recent job and co-workers know that you're no longer here.  Or I'll think of the "thumbs up".  I haven't even been able to tell that story here just yet.  But I will.  Or I'll wonder what Anna is doing.  I thought there was something so special the way you said to us in the hospital, "I want to live with her", when she walked out of the room.  I really thought you might.  She looked so sad at your funeral.  You know what I realized at the funeral? How powerful a hug is.  How sometimes a hug translates something you can't say in words.  I had a few of those that day.

I've also been wondering what you felt like those last few days.  I wonder if you were in pain...and at what point you were no longer aware of us around you? I wonder what will happen when your 61st birthday approaches in four months.  Or what happens at Thanksgiving.  Or Christmas.

I wonder if at some point a family runs out of tears.  I don't know.

I got Claude otter pops in Leeds and they reminded me of you, too.  And of the 4th of July and your little white houses you guys lived in.  I can giggle about the joke we pulled on you a few Christmases ago, the snowballs at the window, one minute and cry about the fact that you are no longer here the next.  That you're in a permanent spot.  A beautiful spot.  But it's permanent.

I'm having a hard time with the permanent.

I am both happy and sad at all times.  You are still so very much with us.

Love you, Unc.

Rhino.  Con.


You: Get me a texas donut! Me: WTF is a TEXAS donut?!
*goes to Dans bakery, finds HUGE donuts...called Texas donuts alright!*

I found a recent Christmas pic too, very well could have been the snowballs at the window Christmas! Bryon is sitting on you like Santa, ha!

Here's that little mountain by Grandma & Grandpas I climbed to the top of.  I called Claude when I got there & he took a bunch of pics.  This one is my favorite.  I'm posting it for you before I post it anywhere else.  It was a tiny mountain.  I don't know why, but it meant something to me and (my new bald head) to do it and it reminded me of you.  And I'm wearing a bandana like you!

Jun 22, 2012

I shaved my head.

I did it.  On Monday June 18, 2012 I had my head shaved.  No, I haven't lost my mind.  No I didn't do it for a role.  No I didn't do it for modeling.

I did it because it was on my bucket list.  
I did it for me.

If you know me or keep up with my blog here then you know that my uncle passed away recently.  Five weeks ago our lives changed.  The change was instant.  The change was permanent.  The change was profound.  It marked what had already been a little over a year of spiritual growth and transition for me.  

That day I felt a definite end and beginning all at once. 

I saw with my own eyes that we are not our physical bodies.  I detached from the ego.  Worrying about externals was suddenly foreign to me.  It was time to propel to reinvention.  It was a time to mourn and to heal.  

It was time for rebirth.  
A new normal.  

I felt completely different and have ever since.  I wanted my outside to reflect the change that is happening internally.  

I wanted to get back to the essence of me.  
I wanted what is natural.  
Inside and out. 

Shaving my head was something that I'd always thought would be liberating.  Who hasn't thought that starting your hair over would be nice? We do so much to it! We worry about it looking right.  Every day! Being the right length.  Dyed the right color.  Spending thousands of dollars to be what we want it to be.  Adding fake hair.  Maintaining it.  Who doesn't wonder what their natural color is? I seriously didn't know at this point.  It's been over a decade.  

So what it would be like to start over? Healthy hair this time and not have to worry about upkeep? How freeing.  But we talk ourselves out of these things because it's not "normal".  It might not be "convenient".  People might think we've lost our marbles.  

When Chuck passed, any fear I had about not following my heart or responding to what calls to my soul left.  I realized the more we confine to what is "normal" the more we box ourselves in and the unhappier we become.  Sometimes it takes years before we realize this.  I was fully ready to begin anew.  

I was no longer scared.  
I felt no need to fit any mold.  
I will only listen to my heart of hearts from here on out.  

* * * * * *

There are two quotes by Steve Jobs that pretty much sum it up for me right now...

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.  Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking.  Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary."

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart."

* * * * * *

Thank you to my dear friend Tyrel Knight for shaving my head and suggesting a photo shoot right after.  These are my favorite kind of shoots.  Truly capturing a moment.  Something meaningful.  


Jun 16, 2012

"Love liberates, attachment imprisons."

"Love liberates, attachment imprisons." - Deepak Chopra

If you can't read the full Q & A's below, drag the three pics to your desktop and open there.


Jun 14, 2012

Two filters. Body & Spirit.

The Miracle of Forgiveness: Connecting back to spirit
by Marianne Williamson

"THERE ARE TWO BASIC filters through which to view all things: the filter of the body, and the filter of the spirit. To the extent that you view your life only through the body’s filter, you are bound to the body in a way that does not serve you. Being bound to the body, you are at the effect of the body’s appetites, whether they are healthy or dysfunctional. But when your eyes are lifted, giving you the capacity to see beyond the body to the realm of spirit, you’re given power over your body that otherwise you do not have. Dwelling lightly within your body, your body becomes light."

*Dwell lightly*  Do I have your attention? Good! Now read on...

Full Link: http://www.healyourlife.com/author-marianne-williamson/2012/05/wisdom/inspiration/the-miracle-of-forgiveness&utm_id=HYLFB

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie

Jun 13, 2012

So how are you?

Naturally, I'm still learning how I feel and react when someone close to me dies.

I'm still hit by waves of guilt.  Every time the weekend comes and Sunday approaches is when I feel especially sad and a little panicky.  This Sunday it will be one month since Chuck passed.  One month! I don't like feeling far away from the event.  It makes me nervous that one day I will forget and I don't want to.  I don't want to lose my memory of him and I don't want to forget what I saw that day.  I haven't finished processing (I know there's no such thing as "finished") but I guess I feel like I can't catch up with my emotions a lot of the time and I don't like that.  

I guess I am still not ready to integrate back into life but have to.  Next week I am going with my parents to stay with my Grandparents again.  I need more of that time away.  In nature.  Stripped down.  I need to be outside, take long walks, read books and write.

Whenever you're reading something it always feels like it's the exact right moment you're supposed to be reading it.  And it is.  I read "Beatrice and Virgil" by Yann Martel last week.  Within the first few pages I felt the connection of the juxtaposition in the beginning of the book.  I feel I've been living in a world of opposites for a month.  I have dual feelings at the same time about so much of this.  How strong and weak a physical body is at the same time, for example.  

"God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches you by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly - not one." - Rumi

It's true.  One teaches us more about the other.


The other big thing this week is the, "how are you?"

In person, in fleeting moments.  In a text.  In a message online.  I didn't know how impossible it was going to be to answer the simple question, "how are you?"

I have no answer.  I have no answer that won't require several paragraphs.  Maybe even a page or two.  

I find myself replying "I'm okay", because what else is there time for in that fleeting moment? And then I feel bad because it's a lie.  I'm lying.  I don't want to lie.  I don't want to cheapen what I'm feeling.  I don't want to answer in a way that isn't authentic and respectful to what happened.  But the problem is, it's just too complex to honestly answer in a moment.  So what in the world should I say? 

Again, I'm brought back to "Beatrice and Virgil".  What I wish I had, I realized is my onelongword to describe my Horrors.  My onelongword that encompasses all that happened and is still happening.  The Horrors that happened to my family. 


The guilt is the one feeling I never expected.  If I go to an event or work on a shoot or do, well, anything for pleasure I feel guilty.  

I can't even think about the guilt that washed over me the instant I learned he'd passed.  All the phone calls I never returned.  The times I had a bad attitude about his doctor appointments.  When I scoffed at his invitation for a sleepover.  He wanted me and his daughter, my cousin, to sleep over like old times.  The closest we got to that sleepover was the saturday night before he died.  And I left at 1 am.  Would one night of my life have been that much of a burden? Or two nights? 

I can't even think about it.  
I just can't yet.

My family has been brought close together.  It's been a long time since I've spent this much time with them.

That makes me happy.
It also makes me sad.
Because of what brought us together.
All this togetherness.  And now one is missing.  

So you see, there is still this juxtaposition in me.  Along with this guilt is a strange peace.  I feel his passing was the closing/beginning of a strange year and a new chapter.  His passing marked that.  Finally ended something for us and began something for us at the same time.  

Maybe I shouldn't feel like this, but who's to say what I'm "supposed" to feel? I feel like if I don't learn, and if my family doesn't, his death was for not.  Now I know everything is happening as it should and his passing was meant to happen just when it did, but I still feel it.  

Devastated and freed at the same time.  

When the strange peace comes over me, I am very aware of what I did learn.  I started a slow climb to self - actualization one year and two months ago.  Now I am at such a peak of the process I can barely believe it.  I can hardly contain myself.  I have detached more from ego in the last month and few days than I knew was possible.  I feel different callings for my life and I feel a slowing down and a sense of content that I've never had before.  I feel the closest I've ever been to what I always call, "discovering the secrets of the universe".  

I'll write more about this later.  Much more.  

Right now I'm halfway through "The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence" by Deepak Chopra.  A life changing book that I would never have been able to understand, embrace and be so terribly excited by until exactly now.  

There are all these little tidbits in there that are so personal I'd rather not mention them.  At least right now.  I've learned that there are some intimate things I I need to share and put out into the world in hopes others can learn from them, or find comfort, or maybe even inspiration.  And there are other intimate things that are so precious I've stopped mentioning them all together because they're mine. 

The first of many blurbs I'll be sharing from this book: 

"Even creativity is orchestrated through intent.  Creativity occurs at the individual level, but it also occurs universally, allowing the world to periodically take quantum leaps in evolution.  Ultimately, when we die, the soul takes a quantum leap in creativity.  In effect it says, "I now must express myself through a new body-mind system or incarnation."

Thank god for science.  Science is so magical.

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality." - Carl Sagan

If that doesn't take the worlds out of my mouth, I don't know what does.


But back to the question, "how are you?" I guess my answer would go something like this:


That's all for now.  

Jun 7, 2012

What comes of it.

What comes of it is a new, easy perspective.

What's simple really is true.

It's so whole, so encompassing, the easy simplicity life requires.
Why is it so hard for us to see that until we experience something like this?

Going back to normal doesn't exist.  Embrace the new.  Embrace the not normal.

What sympathy, patience, compassion and understanding can be learned from this.
Don't let go of that.

A heightened awareness of mortality.  I can't even explain what that feels like.

The need to be only with others who want to be with you.
There is no time or need to force anything else.

The experience of feeling everything just as it comes.  No need to prepare yourself to feel or be anything other than what you are.  Right this second.  No need to push down, block out.

A strange appreciation for the fragile connectedness to those you're related to.  Whatever your feelings, however often you see them you are all part of the same tapestry of blood and memory.

An awareness of all that you have and how lucky you are.  You see it with everything else cleared away. You feel so grateful you wonder "why me" and you no longer want for more.

Living in the present.


Oh yeah, and everyone should have an animal.  They posses the power to heal and comfort.

It's kind of unreal.

Jun 6, 2012

Still there.

I went to Chucks house for the first time yesterday.

This was an apartment I used to live in, years ago before I got married.  I'd always thought I'd like living alone.  I didn't.  At that particular time in my life, anyway.

I left things behind.  A television.  An entertainment center.  A bookcase.

I thought that was it.  Yesterday I realized there were smaller things.  You need to look closely to see the smaller things.  My old cutting board.  My salt and pepper shakers.  Chuck had kept them all this time and had been using them.  I liked that.

I don't like the idea of his place being taken apart.  I don't want any items removed.

My dog still knew what apartment to go to.  When you walk in, you're hit with the smell of Chuck.  It's still so strong.  It's like he's still there.  The apartment doesn't feel sad or empty at all.  It feels good.  It feels full.

I wanted to take it all in.  So I could have the memory.  I wanted to look closely.  To see the smaller things.  Like the picture of me my senior year of high school on display.  A dvd of "Breaking Dawn", clearly brought over by his daughter but so out of place for someone like Chuck it made me smile.  I noticed the tiny baseball magnet on the fridge.  It was the most appropriate thing I could think of to take when asked if I wanted something of his.  Partly because baseball and Chuck are synonymous and partly because I only wanted to remove the smallest item from this museum of memories.  It's now on our fridge.

Then I remembered to look for the mugs I'd given him for Christmas a few years back.  They were so appropriate for him and so unattractive to me in taste that it was kind of a joke gift.  I thought I was so funny.  But he loved them.  So I decided not to reveal the joke.  And I found I liked it better this way.

I found them.  I took them home.  Now I love them.

Jun 3, 2012

I'm going to need a minute.

I just got back from spending the last few days with my parents and cousin at my grandparents house.  They live about five hours away in a quiet, calm place right smack in the middle of nature.  Other than the burial and quick service on Saturday morning, we hardly left the house.

Chuck is now laid to rest in a very small, spacious, rustic and western cemetery.  It is so beautiful and has the most peaceful vibe.  Hardly any graves compared to what you think of when you hear the word cemetery.  No grass, all dirt.  Tall trees in the midst of red rock.  So strangely perfect for him.  After we left the cemetery I felt okay.  I felt right.

Since the funeral thursday I still feel my heartbreak, but also a strong sense of peace.

I spent the rest of the day sitting on the back porch.  I did little else.  My dad and I listened to the first hundred pages or so of "Life of Pi" on his phone.  He'd downloaded it but hadn't gotten a chance to listen yet.  We listened for a long time, staring out into nothing...nothing being a gorgeous landscape.  It was the first day in a long time I can honestly say I've been aware of being present.

Doing nothing.  And being totally in the moment.

Actually, it's been starting to happen since last week.  On Sunday, when Chuck left us.

If you read my previous blog, and the speech I gave at his funeral, http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2012/05/ode-to-our-chuck.html then you'd know that it was the day when everything changed.  Totally and completely changed.  The world really is now seen through a new filter.

For me, and for my immediate family who was there that day (and who I was closest to growing up).  My mom.  My dad.  My cousin  Lacey (Chuck's only daughter), my aunts Farah & D'yana (my mom's sisters) my uncle Larry (my mom's brother.  More of my younger cousins.  All on that side of the family, the ones who were in and out of my childhood home practically daily for the first nineteen years of my life until I moved to New York.  While there are some I may connect with more, or keep in touch with more...when I think of the word family, it is that group.  They may drive me crazy.  We may gossip.  We may avoid.  We may reach out.  But one thing I was certain of that day last week and haven't been able to stop thinking about since, is that no matter which one of us might have been laying there, the others would have surrounded them just the same.

Family is a strange thing.  A mysterious group of people meant to be connected to each other...for whatever reasons.

I felt myself mourning and healing at the same time.  Having no computer to distract me.  No work to worry about.  I am craving more.  I am not yet ready to integrate myself back into life.  I am in need of so many things right now.  But for once I can tell you exactly what those things are.  And for once I feel no pressure.  No rush.  I just know that now is the time.

I am still in need of hibernation.  I am seeking what is natural.  What is minimal.  Only what is necessary. I want nothing false.  I want no current relationship to continue that isn't genuine.  I want authenticity.  I want to get back to the bare bones of me.  And build on it.  It is time for change.  For transformation.  To become something else.  To shed a skin.

I've never felt such an absolute shift of my soul and the way I see and react to what the world has brought me and has yet to offer me.

When Chuck left us I knew nothing would ever be the same.  And I mean that so profoundly, that saying those six words, "nothing would ever be the same" don't touch it.  It's as big as the earth cracking open and suddenly you find yourself on a brand new continent that wasn't there just a minute ago.

Things also seem foreign.  Absurd.  I have seen so completely with my own eyes now that we are not our physical bodies that the idea of buying mascara or paying for a haircut or color or updating my facebook status superfluously seems absolutely absurd.  Absurd! I compare how absurd this now feels to me as if I was handed a book in chinese, asked to read it and tell you what it was about.  My brain cannot make sense of this.

A chain reaction that will alter everything from now on has been set in motion.  We were picked up, spun around, and set down.  Dizzy, sad and exhausted on new paths.  I can only hope (and I do feel) we're now facing in the right directions.

Something else happened do me on thursday.  My mom spoke at the funeral right before I did.  If you know my mom, you like her.  Everyone that meets her does.  She is the type of person who possesses the skill to have a conversation and make friends with anyone and everyone.  She likes people and they like her.  In fact, they love her.  Sometimes so much that I have to remind her to pay attention to me.  I'm not saying this because she doesn't.  She does.  We are as close as close can be.  But probably because I am an only child.  And as I've recently learned, still in major need of my mom.

Another thing you may know about her, if you've ever spent time with her, is that she cares.  She is the ultimate caretaker.  She has sacrificed more of herself, time, life and youth to give to others.  To give to a fault.  Because she cares.  And loves that deeply.

I found I'd started to resent this.  She wasn't doing enough for her.  Why doesn't she pursue her passions more? She wasn't spending enough time with me.  Why would she rather run all over town with Chuck, driving him to endless doctor appointments and getting his groceries?

But then I saw him get very sick, and I saw the way she never left his bedside.  I mean never.  I saw her as a child.  As she must have been at five years old, right down to her ponytail, wanting to be with her big brother.  I felt I was observing something different.  And terribly intimate.

When she spoke of all that transpired since his turn for the worst last September, she spoke from the heart.  She told what she (and more often than not what only she) observed.  Both late at night in conversation when Chuck was scared to go to sleep and spoke of regrets, and at the endless doctor appointments.  About how our big invincible Chuck was scared of the needles constantly prodding and poking.

I'd never seen her in front of a crowd like that.  She was determined to deliver her words with dignity, for Chuck and not break down.  She was determined not to wear black and stood glowing in the most colorful new dress.  I was so nervous to speak next I thought my heart was literally going to beat out of my chest.  I could see it pounding.  But seeing her up there gave me strength.  And as she talked I found myself do a complete 180.  What she had spent her time doing that I'd found an annoyance to me, suddenly seemed so absolutely amazing, it took my breath away.

Never, have I observed such compassion.  Who does that?! Who would do that?! I was proud.  I was so proud to be her daughter.  To be a part of her.  I found it strange to think, really think, about being half of my mother and half of my father laced with bits of all these other people I'm connected to by blood.  For the first time I wanted it.  I embraced it.  I didn't want to rebel against it.  I wanted to look like her.  I wanted to be me at my most stripped away.  I wanted to see what my natural hair color was.  I wanted to be just what she and my father made me, and nothing more.

I am shedding a skin both internally and on the outside.

I'm going to need a minute.

I guess that's all I want to say for now.

Oh yeah...and I want to write more.