I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Ring


I see it on their finger as they pass by me. It’s visible when they hold their drink. I don’t think anything of it, but I notice it. It’s obvious.
They are married and not afraid to tell the world.
I like seeing it. I would have liked to see it in the finger of the man to whom I gave a ring during our wedding vows.
Maybe it was too much to ask? Maybe it was too much to wear?
Maybe it didn’t matter.  I wore mine. I was the only one who did in that relationship.
I could have used a reason why it was never worn, a lie perhaps. I could have done without the mocking in front of friends and the outright “I don’t want to”
Funny how simple things dig so deep in our soul.
So deep one day we take our own ring off and walk away.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Show It. Don't Post It.

We had not seen each other in like forever. We both had gotten married within months of each other and since then our communication via letters had become scarce. Well, not mine. I kept writing, but in the rare occasions when I received one of hers, it was brief with the endless promise to write more later, and in every note (they were too brief to be called letters), she reminded me of how immensely happy she was with the wonderful man God had gifted her.

On our first vacation I asked my husband to go with me to visit my friend. Our trip would be short, but enough to catch up.
In spite of the limited days we had, my friend never found time for “us girls” alone. Her hand always resting on her husband’s lap, or sharing a kiss with him, sometimes passionately. In our very few moments alone, perhaps when he went to the bathroom, she reiterated her immense happiness.
I left convinced of her self-proclaimed bliss. Perhaps a little too close, perhaps a little too much PDA, but glad she had found her soul mate and her paradise as she called it. I wonder about me. I was happy, but I never talked about it. Was I not appreciating the cards I was dealt?
Her marriage ended a year later with a list of infidelities by her husband and rocky times she had never disclosed.
Mine lasted 25 years.
Show it. Don’t post it.
It’s a quote I have shared a few times when and after the unrelenting effort some friends put in social media talking about their unbelievable happiness.
Unbelievable. That’s the key word.
When a relationship forces all others in the back burner, when an email from a friend is replied with no more than two lines, when calls and messages are ignored, it’s not a perfect relationship.
You are trapped in an illusion and in the exhausting job of convincing the world of what you are not convinced.
There are no perfect mates. Happiness is made of imperfections, of trial and error moments. It’s made of enough time away to miss one another and sufficient time together to feel confident, but not suffocated.
The (im)perfect mate is an addition and enhancement to your life, not a replacement of it.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Comedy of Errors


If it wasn’t such a stressful day, I would have thought it to be very funny.
Got to Columbia Presbyterian for my test. Walked into doctor’s suite to register and get blood work. “No, you have to go to the catscan for that”
Last time I was told to come here first.
“No, that was not coordinated with us”
Go to Catscan waiting room. Drinking the barium fultate and waiting. Ten minutes before I asked “Am I going to get blood drawn before the scan as it’s always done?”
“We don’t know anything about that. We can’t see that information. Go next door to the lab”
Went to Lab: “You are not registered. Do you have the script?”
Back to catscan “I need a script”
“We don’t have that information here.  Tell them to look you up”.
Back to Lab “Look me up”
“You are not registered plus you are already drinking the barium sulfate.”
Back to scan waiting room. “Lab won’t do it”
“They’ll test you here for kidney function only before the scan”
Get to scan…no kidney function test.
Inside of tube nurse asks “do you have a skirt on?”
No, shorts.
“We can see the zipper”
“Maybe you should have told me to lower my shorts like it’s always done? You do this every day. I don’t”
Nurse gets her arms inside tube, tells me not to move while she lowers my shorts.
I would have thought taking me out to lower my shorts and redoing the images would have made more sense.

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Piece Of A Puzzle

You would think there is no interest in locating a man who walked away when I was five years old and whom I grew to fear in the next four. You would be right. He was the reason why my mother emigrated from our Country to put distance between us. To protect us.

There has been the occasional spark of curiosity, now that I live in a country of immigrants where everybody knows about their ancestors, to know where the light brown hair I inherited and the green eyes I didn’t come from. But other than that, I never made much of an effort to find my father.
What would I say to a man who didn’t make many memories with me, and some of the few I have are of a child hiding under a bed afraid of being taken away from my mother?  There were no answers he could have ever provided and I never had any questions I cared to ask.
I did make a phone call in my early 20s and located my uncle. A very pleasant man, he told me my father lived in another city and didn’t visit much. “Like a comet, we only see him every so many years” He told me there were other children he had fathered and that, as important of information, didn’t resonate with me. I hang up and never made another effort.
I grew up with a brother whom I love dearly. We played, we made memories. We are siblings of blood and upbringing.  I had no desire to find any others that were not part of my life. Like my father, what would say to a complete stranger?
Until today.
I found one of my brothers. I couldn’t be happier.
It’s like realizing I’ve been living in the corner of my existence and I’ve found pieces to the rest of the puzzle.
And I did have a lot of questions to ask this complete stranger who after a few messages felt comfortable like an old friend.
This is not about locating a man who walked away from me. It’s not about the past. It’s about the present and getting to know a person who will help me complete the puzzle.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Lunch Remark


Sitting at the Olive Garden Restaurant the person in front of me looked straight at me and said I should send my work to a real editor. “You might be told that your work sucks”.  A frequent visitor to my blog, she felt blogging didn’t make me a writer and my “followers” and visitors comments were no evidence that my writing was any good. 
The comment came unsolicited. I was not looking to publish. I didn’t consider myself a good or bad writer, I simply enjoyed writing, posted essays often and thought of myself as a writer. 
I looked at her and smiled while picking at my salad, dumbfounded, unable to find any words to say. The remark was not only unsolicited, it was shocking and demoralizing.
After a while, persuaded by the encouragement of a professional writer, I did send my work to an editor. Hesitant at first, I submitted my essays to a private company on the opposite side of the country.
The initial quote doubled when the editor learned English was my second language. Months later when the editing was completed, the bill arrived. To my astonishment it was far lower than what it had initially been quoted.  As explanation to the low bill the editor added a comment praising my work. 
The work submitted for editing turned into my first self-published book. Although I fell short on marketing, the book was met with good reviews. I was subsequently asked to collaborate on two projects led by another author and recently I was approached by a newspaper to write a weekly column. Wanting to keep some time for my own writing, I declined weekly and settled for a three-week rotation. The experience has been fulfilling.
The remark made during lunch that time could have dented my self-confidence. In fact, it did. Had it not been for the reinforcement of a writer I respected who liked my work and encouraged me to continue, I would have missed the experience of holding my own book in my hands…
It has taken a while to embrace the simple fact that I write because I can and whether a person likes it, thinks it sucks, or is indifferent doesn’t change the fact that I am a writer, and that’s all that matters.  
“I carried on and kept running, realizing just then that sometimes the toughest part about achieving something and succeeding is realizing that maybe not everyone is going to be happy for you.  But, you must remain positive and remain driven.   Leave the negative people to the cold frustration of complaint.  They inhabit a lonely world best left to themselves.” – David McGillivray Motivational Speaker.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Someone


Not a partner
Not a friend
Not a lover
Just someone
Someone I smile when I see them
A feeling
Not a lover
Someone who listens to my silence.
Not a friend
An understanding
Someone to share my moments
Not a partner
A connection
Someone who knows me with one look. Who feels with my touch
Not a partner, not a friend, not a lover.
Someone
You

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Race You Won't Forget


I must be the most disorganized person on the face of the Earth.  Around this time of year I have little notes all over my house, in my purse, my desk, my car. Most of them I’ll never find again. You’d wonder then how I manage to direct the Celebrate Life Half Marathon, one of the largest races in the Hudson Valley and one that has grown from the inaugural 225 participants in 2004 to 600 in 2011 and close to double that now at 1,150. I don’t know. I can only assume that when you are passionate about something, you make it happen.
You wonder, too, what entices runners from all over North America and even a handful from Europe and Asia to come to Rock Hill, NY, to participate in The Celebrate Life Half Marathon when there are so many other races with similar causes to choose from.  Somehow Celebrate Life has a voice of its own, and when you participate, you don’t forget it.
It’s more than a road race.  It’s a place to feel good even when not running your best time. It’s a playground to connect with others and to gain confidence if this is your first half marathon. It’s a place to feel accepted, and to honor and remember those touched by cancer. It’s an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those fighting. It’s a place to celebrate your life and the lives of others who have made it.
Through the generosity of many sponsors and individual donors, the race raises funds to help people in Sullivan and Orange Counties who are battling cancer and who, in addition to fighting for their lives, are financially strapped. With no administrative expenses and no salaries to pay, what we raise we donate.  It’s this transparency that sets us apart. 
As the Race Director I couldn’t ask for a better unpaid job. I get to be the only thing I know how to be-- myself. During the three months leading up to the race, besides race updates, I share with the participants my days of Lent without wine throughout one of the most stressful times of the year for me.  I joke about my scattered mind, I humor them about the course and that first ungodly hill. Through those emails we form a bond. They talk to me about their losses, their triumphs, and the reason they are running or walking. I get acquainted with those who, like me, share a love for Dunkin Donuts and even with those who, unlike me, would prefer pizza rather than the great Outback food of our post-race lunch. More than anything, I enjoy connecting with them in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise, and they get to work with someone who, other than being a disorganized Race Director, is like one of them.
To be the Race Director of Celebrate Life Half Marathon is a gift. And for all of us, volunteers and participants, the race is an opportunity to send a message of hope and to communicate to those still fighting that one day they, too, will Celebrate Life.