“Take some time before you go
Think of Monday’s coming down
And the people that you knew
The ones that aren’t around
You’ve been fading day to day
I’ve been moving town to town

If I could give all my love to you
I could justify myself
But I’m just not coming through
You’re a pill to ease the pain
Of all the stupid things I do
I’m an anchor on the line
Of the clock that tells the time
That is running out on you.” -CC

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the transition at work took more out of me than i had hoped. i knew it would be tough… i didn’t know how tough. my frustration tolerance has worn thin. fighting on a lot of fronts… some minor inconveniences that send me up the wall (e.g., we have no pens at work?!) and some are more worthwhile battles (e.g., mental and physical health, relationships, etc.).

now that i am forced to tolerate certain emotions… i’ve realized what a big part of my mental energy is spent on worry. it makes me un-fun and lame. new goals will involve infusing that joy back into life.

things to look forward to:

  • surprise bday parties
  • standup comedy to support the Alz association
  • Darlingside in concert
  • having my car back
  • trips to nj/pa
  • time spent with adam
  • dinners with carmen
  • SPRING (soon please, soon)

 

Oh hey 2018…

Things to be grateful for:

  • Seeing Guster live with Naticia
  • Weekend sleepovers
  • Seeing WALK THE MOON live
  • Power Barre (as much as I hate it/fail at it)
  • Tap classssss
  • Crepes at Mr. Crepe
  • Brunch with a support group friend who has morphed into a friend-friend
  • Setting limits with people
  • Being vulnerable (eep!)
  • Reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (and having my world shaken)
  • Heart-to-hearts with Carmen
  • Calling my mom
  • Staying warm
  • Carmenere from Chile (2013)
  • Making Pasta al Pomodoro
  • Promising work prospects
  • Upcoming open mics (???)
  • Tiger cat
  • The capacity to still feel gratitude in this cold and broken world

“I would still like you the same… even if you were acting like a crazy person.”

#thatblewmeaway

 

6am. 7 degrees outside. Heat broken. Seems like a fitting end to 2017.

It is most certainly time to send off 2017.

The year started in Bucks County, with an argument, a lot of drinking, and a bruised knee. I tried to tell myself it wasn’t an omen for what was to come.

I took a job at a local school district in hopes of moving forward with my life in Pennsylvania… staying near family, cultivating friendships, and ultimately, saving a romantic relationship. Two weeks after I took the job (and canceled any plans for Boston), he broke up with me.

I’ve said this before, but I never expected Hatboro-Horsham School District to save me. I’ve been through three jobs this year, with a possible fourth on the horizon. That one was by far the most transformational. It put me back on my feet. When I think about all the mistakes I’ve made, surely canceling my plans for Boston was a big one, but when I think about my job at HHSD, there is something that has been redeemed.

In the midst of all this, I saw a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. I wish it had been under better circumstances; I wish we hadn’t been grieving so deeply. When her heart aches, mine aches too. We have mirror neurons but I believe we have mirror soul-stuff too.

Through the redemption that good friends and a good job offered, I was able to reassemble my life and my plans for the future… I saved money, planned my escape from Bucks Co, and acquired a job in Lexington, MA. I left PA in the middle of the night, with a heavy car and heavy heart. Boston or bust.

And the first half of 2017 was over.

Somerville was a lovely reprieve… I spent a lot of time on my fire escape, watching the sun set and convincing myself that it wasn’t a dream. I began playing guitar and painting again. I worked at my new private practice with passion and grit. Set better limits and ended toxic patterns. I acquired a helmet and rode my bike to Spy Pond. I went on dates. I laid in lakes and walked downtown on weekends.

It was so lovely that I never went back to NJ/PA until Thanksgiving. And to my surprise, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and love. Shortly after Thanksgiving, I read some old emails between my mom and I. She loved me SO much. And I was finally able to let go of all the hurt and anger. I remembered my best friend… I hadn’t seen her in so long.

On the job front, there was more uncertainty… brothel-gate and the prospect of losing what felt like everything. Be absorbed or bust. I cannot believe how bitter and warped some people can be… I cannot understand how someone drops a bomb in their lives like that. The effects continue to ripple outward… to family, practitioners, interns, schools, neighboring practices… It seems like it will ripple forever. There are some things that only God can forgive.

I cannot describe the wave of depression that hit me after I realized that once again I might have to re-evaluate (and re-organize) my career. I am so tired of rallying. To the friends that stood by me, I am infinitely grateful.

Christmastime, a promising relationship and more gratitude. More love. In addition to seeing family, I got to see some of my favorite people… Laura, Justin, Carmen, and Dean. My heart is full even if it is broken and hurting.

It is most certainly time to send off 2017. And welcome in 2018.

“Well I’ve been out walking
I don’t do that much talking these days
These days
These days I seem to think a lot about the things that I forgot to do
And all the times I had the chance to

And I had a lover
It’s so hard to risk another these days
These days
Now if I seem to be afraid to live the life that I have made in song
Well it’s just that I’ve been losing for so long

Well I’ll keep on moving
Things are bound to be improving these days
One of these days
These days I’ll sit on cornerstones
And count the time in quarter tones to ten my friend
Don’t confront me with my failures; I have not forgotten them”

“A great big bang and dinosaurs
Fiery raining meteors
It all ends unfortunately

But you’re gonna live forever in me
I’ll guarantee, just wait and see

Parts of me were made by you
And planets keep their distance too
The moon’s got a grip on the sea

And you’re gonna live forever in me
I guarantee, it’s your destiny

Life is full of sweet mistakes
And love’s an honest one to make
Time leaves no fruit on the tree

But you’re gonna live forever in me
I guarantee, it’s just meant to be.” -JM

Hi Mom,

It feels so strange and surreal to write this, and yet I’m hoping it will help me feel a closeness to you that I haven’t felt in a while. We are both in this world… mostly, and yet Alzheimer’s has put a wedge between us that is unreal in its pain, intensity, and confusion. We are in this together, and still not at all. Some days I think that we should be walking down Newbury Street, making dinner together, going to the aquarium, or simply just shopping at Target again. Other days, I’d be happy to call you and complain about how the deli got my lunch order wrong.

Tiger is doing well. I still remember how he was so sick when I first adopted him, and you said, “Don’t give up on him. He didn’t ask for any of this. Don’t give up on him.” It was the kindest, most compassionate thing you could had said and your advice has always stuck with me. I haven’t given up on him… even in the darkest moments when I think I’ve given up on everyone and everything (including myself), I am still happy to keep him well cared for, content, and healthy.

Work is going well… I love my colleagues, the work I do, and the families I work with. I’m really loving Boston and my apartment and friends. I wish you could meet them. They would think you are really smart and funny–just like a lot of my friends did in high school. I’m trying to work hard and make you proud and I hope you are. Some days I remember the intensity with which you pursued your career… my first time sitting in your chemistry class. I also remember all the extra hours you so diligently put in… both before school and during the summer. It seems not long ago when I remember your old lab, the musty summer mornings helping you sort beakers and flasks, thinking about what it would be like when I would someday go to high school.

And college. When you supported me through multiple major changes, and even a potential college transfer that I selfishly forgot to mention. You had to hear it through my guidance counselor when I needed a high school transcript sent. The thing is… I didn’t want you to know that I was unhappy. I remember your go-to phrase that somehow always only made me cry more. You would say, “Oh Ann Marie, don’t be sad.”

But I am sad. And worried and frustrated–and SO fucking angry. Because the most essential person was taken from me too early. We had years ahead of smiles and tears and shopping and arguments and laughter and memories that were taken from us. And no amount of fundraising or research or prayers will fix it. This broken, irreparable feeling of sadness… nothing will ever make it better.

Who will walk me through my next break up? Or help me plan my wedding? Or tell me my hair is too long or that skirt is too short or I’m driving too fast or reading too slow or sleeping too late? Who will tell me not to be sad when I am?

I don’t have the answers. And I know you don’t either but you always seemed like you did. You fought tooth and nail for our family and I’ll be damned if I won’t do the same for you. This… none of this is how it was supposed to be. Whoever dealt us this hand… I want to throw the cards back in their face, yell and scream and kick and punch. “You got the wrong mother-daughter duo, asshole!” And we would lock arms and run away and go out for margaritas. You would tell me boys are stupid and anyone who says otherwise can “blow it out their shorts.”

Nothing will ever be enough but here is what I can promise. I will always remember and honor you. I will garden with the flowers you taught me the names of. Petunias in the sun and impatiens in the shade. I will continue to write songs for you. I will do outreach for animals in need. I will be committed to making school better for the kids I work with. I will talk about you to anyone who will listen, and a few others who won’t.

And I will try not to be sad.

Love forever and ever,

Ann Marie