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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Promises

I had lunch with my niece yesterday.
Well, she’s not technically my “niece” by blood, but if I could change that, I would.
She’s Susie’s daughter.
And she was my soul sister, so in my book, that counts.
Four more days marks six years since Suz passed away, and her daughter and I have had lots of time together.

Time for chatting. 
Lunches. 
Shopping. 
Prom.
Graduation. 

Time that was meant for her mother.
Time that was stolen from both of them.

When we first started sharing these moments, she spent most of her time checking her phone and answering my unending questions with single word answers. 
I didn’t take it personally, I knew what is was like to be a teenager…but not one who’d lost her mother.
That was unfamiliar territory.

But as time passed and she grew up, our conversations became more fluid and natural. 
We were able talk about most things.
We were able to talk about her mom.
We were able to laugh.
Often, I would impart my “words of wisdom” which mostly meant I threw stuff out there hoping it would stick.
She would listen graciously and giggle.
She is a wise young woman, wise beyond her years.

I have also managed to give her little trinkets from her mother’s past.
This is where my hoarding nature really paid off.
I saved almost every card and note Suz has ever written me. 
They are in a Vans shoe box she decorated our sophomore year in high school. 
(Check out the pics below)
These little gems are filled with drawings, jokes, tidbits from our life as teenagers.
I’ve given her some originals and some copies. I’ve saved a lot for myself, but I will  continue to share them with her, and one day, her son, when he’s a bit older. 
He’s too young to read about some of his mother’s shenanigans as of now.

So when we met yesterday to catch up and celebrate her birthday, she also wanted to talk about starting her own blog.
I couldn’t help but be so proud because really, her mother was a fantastic writer. Even Suz’s emails were clever and concise, yet perfectly crafted to not appear that way. I’ve saved those too, thousands of emails. 

I think my yahoo account is nearly full…but I digress.

The point is, we talked about the nature of a blog and which direction to take it. We both agreed that honesty is at the center of good writing. 

I marveled at her courage to start at such a young age and then I wished I had been able to do the same at 22.
I thought about how she would use that space.
Would she process her feelings of grief and loss?
Would she share stories of watching her mother fight cancer for five years, only to lose her?
I hope she does.
Because it’s her story to tell.

We all know how affected I’ve been, losing my best friend.
My heart aches for Susie’s kids.
They are growing up, fast.

Even yesterday, she remembered shopping with her mother, who was truly a fashionista at heart, and wished she had listened more closely.
Wished she understood what she was sharing about fashion and style.
I told her to open her heart and listen, to think of what her mother would say about a look, a pair of boots, a sweater.
And to go with it.

The thing is, it’s all in there.
She is her mother’s daughter, the impression was set.
I hate that I’m the one sharing these moments with her.
I hate that her kids have been robbed of this time.
But we must move forward, right?

We can’t wallow in our sadness. I made that promise, after all.

I did.

I promised I would do my best to be there as Auntie Darc.

I promised to share those moments, which I honestly love.

I promised to keep her memory alive.


It’s still not fair and I’m going to stomp my feet and shake my hands because, damn it, it’s not fair.

But I will keep my promises.

Because she deserves it.


And to J & J, Auntie Darc and All the Ya Ya's love you more than you'll ever know.



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Genuine Thank You

Yesterday, I talked about depression.

Today, I want to talk about gratitude.

I am feeling the most immense gratitude.

Yesterday, through this blog, I reached out. I asked for support. I shared my own vulnerability. I shared my truth.

And I was overwhelmed by the response, by the amount of people who reached out to me, to offer an ear, kind words, their own stories of grief and depression.

I felt empowered rather than alone. I felt understood.

Some people used words like brave, honest, and courageous. But I think they are just as brave.  

We live in a world where expectations are high and sometimes we just don’t meet those expectations in the ways we’d hoped.

We often hear the phrase “the struggle is real” attached to a ludicrous bit of comedy, like being the 10th person in line at Starbucks on Monday. And we laugh and think yes, indeed. The struggle is real.

But that little tidbit holds serious weight. It’s only fitting its become a pop culture cliché because society tells us we can’t be “real” with our feelings too often. We need to crack jokes, lighten things up, skim past the real issues.

Instead, on social media we post pictures of our greatest moments, our good times, our pets, our food, our trips to the gym, an occasional political diatribe (well, I do that at least)…

But let’s face it, some days are plain shitty.  Some days, we don’t want to get out of bed.

Yesterday, I wanted to be honest because I think I deserve it. I think YOU deserve it.

That word, “depression” has such a stigma attached to it. It affects so many of us in some way, be it large or small, intermittent or chronic. I just wanted all of you to know it affects me too. 

And the ways I deal with it…healthy or not. I forgot to include that writing is one of them, (the healthy ways).

Which brings me full circle to the space of gratitude.

Which is what I am feeling today.

Immense gratitude.

Thank you, everyone, for listening, caring and connecting.

I also wrote I had hope. The amount of love I felt, knowing I had touched so many of you on a deeper level, hope is alive and well inside my heart.

I am grateful for each one of you.


Until next time…

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting Raw

I am usually a happy, optimistic person.
Today, I’m getting raw.
Thank you for indulging me. 
Today, I want to talk about depression.
It comes in unpredictable waves for me.
I do a pretty good job of fooling everyone when it comes on, except those that know me the best.
Those who really know me understand I retreat into a secret space of self-loathing and disgust when my behavior doesn’t match my insides.
When I am disloyal to my innermost self, my core, the struggle begins.
It’s usually triggered by drinking too much.
This is also a struggle.
I ask myself if I am addicted to alcohol, or anything else…like food, or shopping.
Addiction. A mighty strong and scary word. 
Those happen to be the places I usually put it.
I sprinkle it out so that no single one gets all the credit.
It’s a balancing act of sorts.
*She writes with a tone of sarcasm.
And right now, I am at a crossroads.
A point where I am feeling lost and alone and panicky.
I’m struggling to find myself again.
It’s been almost six years since my dad and best friend died simultaneously.
Well, close enough with three days spread.
And every year, the pain remains in tact. The memories of their deaths, the loss I feel, the anger at not being able to share my life with them anymore.
It’s all still here, festering like a boil.
I let it out sometimes.
I do.
I go to therapy and talk about it.
I go for bike rides along the beach, or walks.
I cry.
These are the “healthy” ways I grieve.
But in silence, I punish myself.
I say I have come to terms with it. I say I am over it.
But there are most certainly times I am NOT over it.
I wonder, still, if there is something else I could have said or done.
My rational self knows there is nothing.
But the part of me who wants to save everyone, everything, doesn’t recognize that.
That part of me sneaks in and drinks wine, drinks beer, eats too much, dances on tables and sometimes gets into fights with strangers.
That person is really angry, still.
That woman has not come to terms with all of it.
Today, I am sharing this because I don’t want to feel alone.
And, I don’t want to you to feel alone.
Because, I know the truth.
We are all struggling, some of us worse than others.
Even those of us who seem to be the strongest have weak moments, hours, days.

But I still have hope.

So that’s something.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Life After Graduation, Again.


Hi there. 

It's me, Darcy. Remember? I know, it's been a LONG time. My sincerest apologies but I was so busy earning my Masters in creative writing that I had no time to be creative elsewhere. But guess what, I'm done. 

And left with a fancy degree and this:

Post Graduate School Depression.

Is this a thing?

I imagine my fellow graduates would agree it exists. I know it existed for me. 

As soon as we're handed that diploma, we're flooded with questions we might not yet have answers for. 

"What next?" and "What are your plans?" and "When are you going to finish that novel?"

Yep. 

Big questions.

I actually do have answers. But whether they're the correct answers remain to be seen.

Ah, the great unknown. Such a place of comfort. NOT.

See, it's like this. I WANT to finish my novel. Like, next week. I INTEND to get a job teaching in the fall. I PLAN on becoming a best selling author, and I plan on seeing all of my friends become best selling authors too. (I'm not selfish, c'mon.)

But reality doesn't always work that way and I'm not naive enough to think it does. I'm a realist but also an optimist so there is a huge part of me that genuinely believes all of these things will come to fruition, but it might take some time.  That being written, I recognize I need to be the one to put the proverbial ball in motion. What kind of ball is that anyway? A basketball, a golfball, a tennis ball, a bearing. Anyone know?

So, in the mean time, I decided to start this day the way I started many days in my early blogging career. I drove my kids to school and headed to my local Corner Bakery to sip coffee and write. I ate breakfast too, but that's beside the point. I do love their Farmers Scramble...but I digress.

One of the things I am known for (I think), is wearing my emotions on my sleeve. I even cried after I defended my thesis, which was odd considering I passed. My professors hadn't seen that before, but I like to keep them on their toes. And hey, I am "the girl who cries" so I didn't want to disappoint. Had to leave a solid impression, it's great for letters of recommendation.

This morning is no different than any other in the sense that I got teary eyed three minutes before I dropped my son off for his last day of 10th grade. He's just finished reading "Night" by Elie Wiesel. We started talking about it and I realized that it moves me just as much today as it did 20 years ago when I first read it.

The thing is, emotions are good. Crying is good. It softens you, it allows you to feel compassion and understanding, plus it gives you the chance to purge negativity and let light in.

In this time where the world feels so divided, where anger and intolerance flood our social media, I cry out to those who are so filled with hate and ask this BIG question of you: Why?

Have we learned nothing from our past?

Children know love, unconditionally.  They see no color, no gender, no hate. They LEARN these constructs. They are taught to think and act within the structure of their families and then, within their societies. So if society continues to dictate social structures that condone sexism, ageism, racism, bigotry, intolerance and hate, why don't we take a stand against these prejudices and speak out. Let it be known that we need change. That YOU believe in a world where peace, compassion, understanding and knowledge are the foundation from which you operate.

Instead of spreading the latest graphic MEME from any of our biased media affiliates, why not start thinking about the ways in which YOU have been affected and how you can change the world in a positive way? Why not purge the pain out and let light in?

My niece and I had a powerful conversation yesterday, and folks, she's 12. We talked about the CHOICE to be happy. We can move through this life blaming others and letting anger eat away at our hearts or we can decide not to live like that. I'm not saying it's easy. What I'm saying is that it starts with the tiniest gesture, a random act of kindness even. It's like a light switch, maybe on a dimmer. You ease it up bit by bit until the light fills the room, or in this case, your heart.

Can you imagine a world where everyone strived toward finding their inner light?

I can tell you this much, this girl is trying to push that dimmer switch all the way to the top, let all the light in and get out of this post graduate school depression! It ain't easy, but as I sit here typing away, I feel a bit more accomplished than I did yesterday, and the light is getting brighter by the minute. 

So again, to answer some of the pending questions:

Next, I'm going to go home and post this blog. Today, it's my attempt to inspire and fill someone's heart with compassion and someone's mind with new ideas.

And, It's time to update my Curriculum Vitae (which in the academic world, is a fancy word for resume). I do need to get a job, after all.

And, finally, I need to work on my novel. It's not going to finish itself, right? You can't be a best selling author without a book, dammit.

Until next time.

Remember, in the immortal words of Gandhi,

BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD