ga; alex.addison » swallowed by the sea

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ga; alex.addison » swallowed by the sea

the start of the season

Once again, it has been a long while since I've written here. Sometimes I wonder "how can that be?" when this place used to be a place of safety and understanding for me. I once composed entries in my head as I walked across my college campus. I used to be unable to jot all my thoughts down once I got back to my computer and this empty page. Sometimes I knew nothing at all until my fingers danced across the keys. Now my life is an endless stream of sameness. Wake up, get ready for work, go to work, come home, watch TV, do various things on the computer, feed the cat, and go to bed. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. I guess that's pat of getting older, you fall into routine and the things that were once part of it aren't any longer. They're some strange, faraway dream you once had but can't quite remember.

I think it's become easier to dodge my own feelings and thoughts in an attempt to get through the days, weeks, months. Sometimes I just rather not know what's going on inside me. But then there are times I wish I could come back here with the ease I once had. Maybe it was easier then because I was constantly alone with my thoughts and needed a way to get them out of me. Now I go to God with those things and seek His truth and answers. Not that there isn't even confusion within that. Sometimes in an effort to discover more, I get lost in the opinions of others. And it just leads to a listlessness that I don't know how to pray around. No one ever said spiritual growth came easily. He only ever promised us rest.

Anyway, I came here today because I wanted to document good things that I wanted to remember. And that's a good reason to come back here--maybe it will help me to keep coming back after today. I hope so at least because writing in here has helped me with memory and for delving into thoughts I usually wouldn't. I've always expressed myself better in the written word than the spoken one. And I've been in a bit of a funk lately-one that I don't completely understand. But one that might stem from the time of year it is-the time of Trinh's birthday and of course, the holiday season. Last year, after many tears and prayers, Trinh was put into the hospital and released from the facility I work at. This was the first year I have not seen her on her birthday. Nor have I seen her since March which feels strange itself. She taught me so much in the five years we were together-that blood is not the only thing that bonds people together. That you can love someone purely and deeply without a blood bond. That you can find joy in all things, even the sad ones. And one day, when we're in heaven, I hope we find each other and say all the things we could never say to one another. Loving her made me a better and more patient person. No matter where I go, I'll always carry her in my heart. And I'll probably always well up a little inside when I think of her.

That's not the only thing though-last year my grandfather, Lee, passed away shortly after we returned from a trip to Ireland. He suffered from Alzheimer's for years, but he never completely forgot us. I miss him this time of year. We put out walnuts like he always did. We bought a squirrel ornament last year in memory of him. He loved the squirrels that ran around the yard and he had names for them. Seeing that ornament on the tree is almost like having him here with us. I know a lot of people are sad this time of year because of lost loved ones but for me it's the opposite. It's a time to remember the people who we loved. The dove ornament with his name on it is hanging near the top of the tree. We all have ornaments with our names on them-it's something grandma did for all of us. I think it's fitting that his ornament is a dove, a symbol of peace. He was an intelligent and gentle and patient man. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and really listen to some of the stories he told. He always told long stories and it's something I miss now. I miss the way he stuttered over some of his words and the way he held a pen (he was left handed). I miss the way he said "Nikki Nikki Nikki" or "it'll all come out in the wash". Or the way he'd hug me tightly when we hadn't seen each other in a while. I miss hearing him laugh at Archie Bunker and Family Feud. It's always the little things you remember about someone and I think it's those little things that keep them with you. In the end, he found God again so I know we'll see each other again.

For Christmas this year, for the first time, we got a real tree. It's different than what I'm used to. But there's something special about seeing the lights twinkle off real branches and over beloved ornaments. And it was fun to hang them with mom with Christmas playing in the background. There was a quiet serenity to the ritual this year. Christmas means a lot to me as an adult because of all the meaning behind it. When I remember it's a celebration of the birth of Christ, it makes me well up inside. Having the tree up already is nice, especially since today was the first day of advent. Its been a good start to the advent season. I feel my spirits lifting, bit by bit as I write here and reflect on the past few days. I know I still have so far to walk but God will not let me fall astray.

Until next time.
disney; ariel » part of the world

it is well...with my soul

On rare occasions, I diminish into silence, into solitude. Once, it was a grand part of my life. I would go to class, come to my dorm room, and become a hermit until the next day. What may be a lonely thing to many was a blessing for me. Sometimes the room would be silent and other times, music or the television would vibrate around me. No matter what I chose, solitude stood at the forefront. And most times, I was content. Though there would be times of loneliness, I had this journal and a group of good friends to keep me company.

In recent years, my alone time has become extinct. At work I am surrounded by people and I have to be available all the time (socially speaking). So I have grown accustomed to speaking when I would have melted into the background before. So much so that I was beginning to believe my introverted tendencies had deserted me. But I've discovered that I only speak to alleviate awkwardness within myself. It feels more like a mask than a true part of myself. So I have been working on finding a balance between speaking and silence. I'm beginning to remember that sometimes it's better to say nothing than to contribute to conversations I have no true interest in. It's funny how I studied psychology and social psychology in college but I still fall into these kinds of traps. Ah well, maybe I'll find a way back to myself so I won't trip into these holes that only make me feel worse instead of better. I think it's because social interaction is unavoidable in my work environment and in the past, I could avoid people I did not care to speak to. It's not the case now. So I try harder than I should.

But social expectation doesn't end at work, it extends to my home life as well. I'm constantly surrounded by family. Which is not bad in and of itself, but I don't have many occasions to truly be alone. I can lock myself in my room but there are still...sounds. The constant noise from the tv and interaction between other family members. I did not realize how much affected me until today. Today I was truly alone, with the silence of the house. And it was glorious. I curled up on the couch with Tigerlilly at my feet and read a book. Once I became too chilled, I sat outside and continued to read on the porch. Occasional sounds broke into the silence but they were more manageable sounds. The gentle crunch of gravel beneath tire wheels and the whooshing of the wind. Peace spread throughout me. There was space in my mind for thoughts, as irregular and bizarre as they often can be. It's a strange thing to explain but it was what I needed. To heal. To pray. To think. To simply be. It's like I try to find that connection to my inner self, to my heart, to my soul but have no success until I stop trying. Until I'm floating in silence and the world spills back in. My empathy and inner peace is back in full force. And it feels good.

It's a feeling I hope I can hold onto in the upcoming week. But this time away from work is allowing me to rest: body, mind, and soul. Of course, I felt a hole form in my heart as I looked at an old picture of Rufus this morning. I saw him on Friday but tears still filled my eyes. For what reason, I don't know. Perhaps it's just as simple as...I miss him. I have a very special feeling/relationship with him...almost like he's my child. So I do miss him when I'm away from work too long. It's not the clients I need a break from, it's just people and life in general.
ga; alex.addison » swallowed by the sea

life breaks you down then builds you back up

In late July, my sister moved in with us after being away from home for years--very long story. We've always had a tenuous relationship and I had my reservations at first, but things have been getting better lately. Sometimes it's hard to open your heart to someone, especially when the past is littered with pain, but it's worth the effort. Friday, we stalked through Hobby Lobby, commenting on things as we passed and laughed a lot. We're still as different as the night is to the day, but it's nice to share little moments like that. Little, seemingly insignificant moments that mean a lot once they're over. It's hard to explain in words, so I hope writing it here helps me to at least remember it. Not the words that were spoken but the warmth it produced. I've never really felt close to her so it's kind of strange to feel closeness now that we're adults.

Today, we went to visit my grandpa at the nursing home like we do every Sunday. His alzheimer's has only grown worse over time and he makes little sense these days. I've almost become numb to it, but every once in a while, my grandpa breaks through it. Today was one of those days. It was very nice out today (there was a cold front last night so it brought the temperature down to 72 degrees), so we decided to take him for a walk outside. We ended up sitting outside for a while and he held my grandma's hand. It was very sweet to see and it reminded me of the way he once was. He seemed very pleased to see us today, he even used my name without prompting (he told me to sit beside him once we got inside). My grandparents didn't have a perfect marriage and they've argued a lot in recent years, but the love is still there. It's kind of beautiful.

It's these seemingly random things that bring my heart peace. They are the things that give me hope. That things can be better. That I can be better. Not quite there yet but at least there's forward motion.
friends; ross » freeze frame the past

(no subject)

And the lack of sound continues...but there's something different beneath it now. A gentle hum that I can't quite distinguish but it gives me peace nonetheless. It's a welcome feeling, after so many months of feeling like...someone else. Like I was wearing someone else's skin and could not quite recognize who was staring back at me every time I looked in the mirror. Or whose voice I was hearing every time something snarky would escape my lips. It's a strange feeling to describe and I still don't quite understand it. Is it normal for introverted people to feel this way? I never feel quite content in social settings--I either feel like I don't talk enough or I talk too much. Though I feel better when I sit within silence, I cannot seem to do it in some situations.

Being in the same workplace for years has opened me up socially but I almost wonder if it's a front I put on to get through lingering social awkwardness. I'm not sure which it is. Since I say things and do things I wouldn't normally do. For example, I sing and dance at work (I work with mentally disabled adults so this is acceptable behavior) and I don't feel much embarrassment in it. Maybe because I'm doing it for them and not for myself. But then, there's also this snarky side of me that slips out when I interact with co-workers. It makes me feel defensive when I have no reason to feel that way but it slips out nonetheless. And then I feel like a mean person afterwards. Or just like I'm becoming cynical in my old age. It's an uncomfortable feeling.

Anyway, I've been praying about these feelings for a long time. And this week...I feel more like myself again. I've lapsed into silences more often than I was and it makes me feel better at the end of the day. This is all very complicated to explain, especially given that I don't want to dwell on my failings. Just all part of being human, right? Then why is that still so difficult to accept after all these years?

Sigh. My brain feels strangely scattered right now even though I don't feel that way on an emotion level. Just thinking too much...but that wouldn't be the first time, would it?
stock; train » passerby

it's been a long year since we last spoke;

When does life start passing us quickly that we don't see it? It's like standing in the middle of a field, watching the blurred colors of the cars that fly down the highway. We know it's a car, but we can't quite make out the shape, just an idea of what it should be. Does it begin when our life slips through the cracks of our blogs or journals, so seamlessly that we don't know how long it's been since we took a pen to paper or fingers to keys? Or was it always that way and we didn't notice because we were busy documenting our thoughts about an event or just the event itself or even just a random thought that's there then gone, like a moth vanishing into a flame? Run-on sentences and poorly constructed grammar also loses its importance with time or...dare I say it, age.

But I digress...when did my life start running ahead without me? Every time I think about posting here, my mind or my emotions go into a state of white noise, like the static on a television. I hit the mute button but it's still there, scrambled on the screen but still a point of light. I know I'll be back to bring color back to the screen someday, but white noise will suffice for a time...or an age. For those who know me or my journal, you know that I used to live here. For a decade of my life, I was different chairs throughout the years, staring at a screen and trying to make sense of the tangle of my thoughts or just life itself. It used to be so important to me that my fingers would itch with the need to write, to express, to speak. In typing because words have always failed me in my verbal life. Then one day, it stopped. The noise in my brain stopped and I stopped knowing what to say, even here. I was a stranger to my journal, to words, two things that were the bread of my existence for so long. But the catch is, life didn't stop. It just kept leaping ahead and I was dragging my feet in the mud, trying to follow it.

So is it age that makes us stop writing these entries or is it a loss of intellect? For me, it's a combination of the two. After I graduated from college, my words kind of stopped. I work with clients I love (Rufus and Trinh in particular) and they bring a meaning to my life that wasn't there before. I've grown closer to God and I wouldn't trade that for anything. I have the love and support of my mother, a constant in my life. I share my room with a little orange cat named Tucker (have I even mentioned him before?). I am loved in ways I never thought possible and didn't really expect. But then, there's that flip-side. Everything isn't perfect or easy, but when is it? I've watched my grandpa decline mentally while my grandma has declined physically. It's a constant source of grief and I struggle with varying bouts of depression and frustration (about the whole situation and about me in my work environment--co-workers not clients). And there's life on the side, galloping ahead and it feels like all this began yesterday, not two years ago. No desire for sympathy, just expression. This is me and maybe it's the beginning of my life here again? I hope so.
film; pride & prejudice » book girl

Books of 2008-2012

I decided to keep track of the books I'm reading in 2008 with my own personal "rating". All books on this list I read in its whole. Feel free to check this list often and if you want to strike up a conversation of the books we have in common or to get further thoughts on the ones I have read, I'll be happy to discuss it. Also, if you want to know when I add a new book to the list, just tell me and I'll make sure I alert you each time one is added. :)

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stock; nature » there was snow

everything is connected

Another month has come and gone, and with it have come more changes. This time the changes have been positive, due to prayer and my constant need to be better. The things have remained the same (more or less), but the way I handle them has changed. I struggle to let things slide by instead of letting them fester inside me. Negativity only breeds misery and I don't need more of that in my life. Not to say I don't get discouraged or lost, we all do. It's a part of the human experience, but I've been trying to rise above all that. But I don't want to dwell on that, just going to give a brief update of the important things that have happened since my last post.

Thanksgiving: was amazing. Rufus came to the house and he seemed to really enjoy himself. It felt good to share my home with him and when I came back from vacation, he asked if he could come to my house again. He was very sociable with my family (in his own way) and he stuck close to me. The cats were good with him...which was something I was worried about (I assumed Tucker would hide but he actually stayed in the living room the whole day). My family was actually peaceful on Thanksgiving which was a blessing in and of itself.

The cruise: it had its high and low points. Relaxation was the key highlight of the cruise. The ship was beautiful and the shows were entertaining. One night we watched Dirty Dancing under the stars which was really cool. I got more sleep and relaxed more in that week than I have in the past six months. It did a lot of good things for my psyche. It helped me regain my focus on work and myself which is something I had lost sight of prior to this. But the downside to the cruise was my sickness. I caught a stomach virus a few days into the cruise which left me sick and weak during our time in the Virgin Islands (I only got to see St. Thomas). So I spent more time in my room than I did off ship which wasn't all bad. The Virgin Islands were more commercialized than some of the other islands I've been to. A lot more wealth than I'm used to seeing in the Caribbean. While the Virgin Islands were beautiful, I would rather go back to Honduras or Cozumel in the future (if we ever do a cruise in the Caribbean again).

Work: there has been a lot of drama but as always, the clients make up for that. The day I went back to work after the cruise, the clients were all over me. Leslie gave me a thousand hugs and pressed her nose against mine (she's a very close hugger). Trinh laughed, smiled, and leaned on my shoulder all the way from her house to the school (I walk her from home to school every morning and she usually drags me there instead of loving on me). Rufus told me he missed me at least 30 times. Walter asked me about my boat ride 100 times and gave me 10 hugs. Casey asked where I was at least 100 times. Suzanne waved and smiled at me (she doesn't say much and she rarely expresses affection for us). All of that was really nice to come back to. I felt loved and I felt missed. Another highlight was Suzanne's birthday. I bought her a shirt and put it in a gift bag before she got to the school. She kept peeking in the bag and when I told her it was hers, she took it out and laughed. It was so cute. She ended up putting the shirt on before the end of the day, but she was giddy about it all day. It was good to do something good for her. I always feel better when I'm doing something for someone else.

To continue on the work thread, I went to work on Saturday for the Christmas play the clients have been practicing for all month. They did a nativity scene and sang a few Christmas songs (Rudolph, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, and Jingle Bell Rock). I was "behind the scenes" with the clients so I didn't get to see it but I heard a few people cried. Luckily, someone filmed it so I'll be able to see it after I go back to work. Everyone was well behaved and the families that were there seemed to really enjoy it. It felt good to be a part of it and it was nice to see the clients "off the clock".

And I wonder if all of these things are connected to one another. The more I try to be positive, the more good that I've seen in my life and the lives of others. Which has also changed the way I feel when certain things happen to me (I still get upset and stressed but I've been trying not to react to it). There's been so much tragedy in the world...but I've also seen the good that's out there. In my life and the lives of others. Good can come out of tragedy and chaos. I still believe that...maybe that makes me naive but I wouldn't want it any other way.

I talk about these things to set a record for I'll be able to read this entry in the future and remember these things. So if anyone actually read it, kudos to you for sticking with it. Now I'm off here...getting ready to take Rufus to Burger King for lunch then I'm going out tonight for a Christmas Eve service at a local park. Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates. :)
scrubs; jd.elliot » if you ever need

it's a lonely world out there...but there's still hope, right?

It seems like I keep going through these dry spells here...I update then I go away for weeks, sometimes months at a time. As strange as it may seem, this journal has almost been a constant companion for me. There have been many changes through the years...some good, some bad. Glimmers of my old self and the person I still hope to become. Some days it's hard to face those things...more often than I wish for. So, hello old friend, I have missed you...even though I sometimes fear the words that hover beneath the surface of my heart. This has been my long winded way of saying that things have been rough lately. Sometimes I wake up and loneliness suffocates me. It's something I've been praying on and struggling with. I feel a little lost right now...but I still have faith that the answers to all my questions will come to me when the time is right. Even talking about this now, I still feel a little distant from it, much like I have been with this journal. It's been my way of dealing with things for a long time. The emotions are there but I don't give into them because I feel like I can't. There aren't a lot of people around me that I feel like I can truly trust right now...and the people I trust the most is dealing with their own demons and I can't burden them with mine.

But I don't want to focus on that right now, it occupies too many thoughts as it is. And despite the things I have been struggling/dealing with, there have been ripples of light that far outweigh the rest of it. So a little update about my life (the positive side): we've been in the new trailer for about six weeks now, it's been great to have a room of my own again and I have a better place to gather my thoughts now than I did before. The cats have adjusted well to the new house, especially Tucker. He's really opened up since we've moved here and he's been even more loving toward me than he was before. He sleeps beside me at night, especially now that it's getting colder. He's been a comfort to me...which is the amazing thing about animals. They can heal you without even trying.

Another thing...Friday was Leslie and Trinh's birthday (clients at work) and I bought them a new outfit for their birthday. Leslie was over the moon about it...when I gave her the gift bag she was so excited and she loudly told everyone that she got a present. I bought her a pretty black lace blouse and a long purple and black skirt. She looked beautiful in it and she grinned from ear to ear after she put it on. It felt really good to watch her, her warmth and her joy was so genuine. I was so glad the outfit fit her and that she felt as beautiful in it as I hoped she would. These guys don't get new clothes very often, many of their clothes are from second-hand stores so I try to get them new things on their birthdays when I'm able to. Trinh didn't really react to her present the same way Leslie did (she's low functioning) but she was in a good mood that day which is always a blessing with her. And today she kept holding onto both of my hands. I'm glad she knows I care even if I lose sight of that sometimes, it's good to be reminded of it.

Now a little about the upcoming holiday--I'm bringing Rufus home for Thanksgiving. His father wasn't able to take him home for the holiday so I decided to bring him home. His dad was very grateful for it and to be honest, I'm glad that I was able to bring Rufus home for the holiday (along with Trinh, he's my favorite and has been since I started working there). I know I can't make up for his family, but I hope he enjoys the holiday anyway. It'll be nice to share my holiday with him and my family...maybe it'll keep my family from arguing this year. On a random side note, this is going to be my first meatless Thanksgiving. I was still a casual meat eater last year, but my feelings about meat have changed. I'm beginning to have compassion for the animals and I can't bear the thought of eating something that used to have a heart-beat...especially after I read a blog post about a feast for the turkey, not of the turkey. I hope to attend a feast like this someday, it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. Not trying to preach at anyone, just sharing my thoughts. Anyway, I have a cruise coming up in a few days (a much needed vacation) so I might not be posting again until I get back. Hope you all have a happy and safe holiday (for those who celebrate of course).