Tag Archives: fear

Most of the Talents Are Ones I Don’t Have

9 Oct

I have always wanted to play the piano. That’s not true — not always — but since being a teenager I have. I wanted to be at the bench, pounding away while singing into a microphone and making people want to dance (more Jerry Lee Lewis and less Tori Amos). Every time I hear Elton John, I see myself gingerly bringing “Honky Cat” to life. Exploiting all the jangly glory of those keys. On the softer side I hear Chopin and envision myself swaying passionately from side to side in a sweeping movement while being intertwined in the melody of “Fantasie Impromptu: Opus #66”. It’s closely related and only marginally tailed by my other dream of dancing. Without really thinking about it, my imagination’s eye starts rolling film of me — all bendy and powerful — dancing in the fashion of the 80’s “Fame” movie. It’s intense in my heart. Like the feeling you get when you start to really think about your favorite desert: it’s so good and so real you can almost taste it, but outside your power to create, or recreate.

My dancing career began and ended when I was six, though, on account of the high cost of lessons, and the work of taking me to a class (I also think my propensity for booty-shaking versus more ballet-type moves made my mother less motivated for me).

But the piano was always in the house. We always had our lovely, antique upright with a bench full of music. I spent a good deal of time playing around on it, and even had a lesson or two, but I backed slowly away. My sister was a masterful, self-trained pianist (still plays keys professionally), who could recreate Beethoven melodies on her own. In my elementary years I came under the impression that my instructor preferred teaching my sister (at this age I can’t recall if I “heard” her say that, or if I misinterpreted something else that was said), and I requested to no longer take lessons. I had such difficulty with my practice, that it seemed very plausible to me that I was equally difficult to teach. It seemed to disambiguate and simplify everyone’s life for me to definitively claim that I was not musically inclined, so I did, and so I’ve been.

It’s my nature to back away from other people’s passionate interests, or their lime-light. That’s not to say that I don’t eagerly leap into any unoccupied lime-light, but I find no pleasure in stealing another person’s thunder, as they say. I enjoy attention and recognition, but I don’t enjoy competition. The best way to avoid competition is to find my own — my very own — interests. Also, competing with my sister was paramount to competing with Beethoven himself, in my child’s mind: certain defeat.

As an adult, though, I just can’t deny that I love the piano. Maybe I’ll never get around to mastering that Chopin piece, but I believe I could learn enough to bring me satisfaction. I believe I could be good enough to sing along to. I’m not sure where to start…

With so many things I have this burning desire to “become…” but I just can’t see the first step. I’m tired of riding on the waves of life (like a flag tossed about by every wind), and only impulsively finding new adventures. I want to get There from Here, intentionally.

As for the dancing dream, I just need an empty warehouse and some awesome song blasting from the tape deck of my nearby VW.

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Freedom Isn’t Free

10 Sep

By the time the HD finally returned home from Afghanistan, I felt defeated.  I was entirely overwrought.  For two weeks his flight schedule home fluctuated and changed.  Every day we heard something different from the day before about which flight he’d be on, what day he’d return, and at what time.  At last, twenty-four hours before his expected arrival, he called me to tell me he’d checked his bags for the final, 20 hour flight.  I received the phone call on the play ground, watching my Young G play with a friend, and did not expect my husband’s words, “I got kicked off my flight.”  At first I thought I was misunderstanding some guy-lingo, but when he repeated himself, it struck me how defeated he sounded.

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sweet pea

14 Feb

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Two years ago today my husband sat across from me on our Valentine’s date and told me he would be deploying.  I was wearing my six-week old son on my chest, eating sushi.  We were stationed in Hawaii, so every date seemed like a dream, no matter what.  Even with a child, it was an idyllic place to celebrate.  Bonsai Sushi on the North Shore.  I stared off in the distance, and felt my mind leave our Family celebration as I absorbed what this meant.  Ever since my dear HD had graduated school it was beyond a doubt that he would deploy at some point.  Once he took his assignment in Hawaii, it also became certain that deployment would last one year.  No one avoids this, in his position.  Furthermore, he had no intention of trying to avoid it.  I saw it as one of his rites of passage.

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All we need are our arms and hands and lips

15 Sep

Usually when I feel this level of un-rest it’s not in expectation of anything real. I’ll get antsy to the point of paralysis, and my circulation will reduce to whatever is necessary to keep me alive. That’s what it’s like right now; my extremities are tingling, and all I want to do is eat Cheese Its and play Angry Birds. But I have a pretty extensive to-do list. Because this time — this restlessness — is not just for philosophical dilemmas. This time, it’s for a reason.

My dear HD is boarding a plane soon — a couple hours soon — or maybe a helicopter. I’m not sure how the first leg of his journey will begin. His ruck is packed and I doubt he’ll sleep at all. It’s mid-afternoon for me, but his flight takes off at midnight his time. He’ll hop from one country to another, and after about five days he’ll be with me.

I’m paralyzed with anticipation, despite how long my list is of things I want to do to prepare for him. Nothing will be enough. Everything will be wasted, too, though. Nothing is necessary. All we need are our arms and hands and lips.

My mind is dizzy. I’ve gotten quite comfortable with this single life. Not every day is hell, like it once was. Now he’ll be amongst us again. His voice in the air, his smell on my sheets, his touch on my skin. All this but for only a short time.

This really, truly is so much like being pregnant. I feel like I did when my labor was in the early stages. A rush of panic to prepare the last-minute, finishing touches, but a light-headedness that sends me reeling in circles any time I try to stand up.

I’m glad I’m not alone with just the Young G. My mother-in-law is here and was married to an officer for over 30 years (still married, no longer active duty). She knows, if anyone knows.

Paranoia

10 Sep

I like to view this year as an experiment.  I’m doing trials on separation, travel, motherhood, single-motherhood, long-distance love, living with family, packing a car, and lonesomeness.  Most of these were predictable from the first time I learned we would face this deployment (Valentine’s day, 2010).  I was even able to anticipate some of the side-effects.  For instance, I realized that I would learn to live “normally” without my husband; I would get used to him being gone, essentially.  I knew I would become homesick for my own territory.  I knew Young G would develop cognitively with an awareness that we travel often and live without Daddy.

One of the side effects of this year has begun to intrigue me, because I never expected it: paranoia. Continue reading

Livin Without You

17 Aug

I was telling a story to my hairdresser today, talking about my husband.  As the facts unfolded in the form of answers to his questions, his eyes popped with intrigue hearing the tale.  It made me think about how revealing facts linearly is so different from giving pieces of picture one at a time and letting the listener put the puzzle together.  I actually think the hairdresser might have gotten a better image of who the HD really is because of the piece-by-piece story, rather than if I had started at the beginning.

Maybe that’s why I need to do with writing.  Just give a piece at a time, and let the picture come together.  It’s very organic that way.

I never know where a post is going to go when I sit down to write.  I just begin.  The ending comes naturally.

Saturday a friend of my brother’s told me I needed to write a book.  If I had a nickel…

This year might be worth writing about.  So might last year.  Or 2002.  They all added pieces.  Sometimes I feel like the only way I could tell my story would be to write it out like Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” and give the entire background of my life, and my husband’s, for three generations so that our story made sense.  Had context.

So much is out of context.  Even context itself, though, is dependent on perspective.  None of it is objective.  I guess the story only exists the way I tell it.  The way someone else would tell it is a completely different story.

Yesterday I had a fabulous day with my boy.  Young G and I went to a park, ate at Chick-fil-A, played outside, played in the bath, and had a lot of good laughs and toddler-conversation.  All day I thought, “I should get a furnished apartment for the next six months.  Forget living with family; let’s just hunker down together.” I decided we’d go to Charleston, where the HD and I lived before the Army.  There’s a wonderful church there that I missed, and it felt good to be near it.  I actually searched Craigslist.

Then night fell, and the quiet made it hard for me to rest.  I stayed up much too late waiting for sleep to overtake me.  I got up out of bed three times.  I forgot to lock one of the doors.  My father and his wife are gone for the week for work, and will be back tomorrow, so the last two nights Young G has been dependent only on me.  Not a problem, except that I just don’t do well alone.  In grad-school I lived alone and never slept well until I could hear my neighbor start his shower every morning.  I’m scared of defending myself alone in a house overnight, and terrified with a little one.

So it remains that I shall be rambling along from house to house. Never the Queen, always the subordinate.  But at least I’m at ease when I’m at rest.

In seven months my maniacal protector will return.  I never feel more safe than when I’m with my HD, because he’s psycho.  He doesn’t just swat flies, you know, he lures them in and suffocates them.  Any intruder in our home would be tortured — psychologically — by the experience.  I love this about my husband.  If you knew his story it would make sense.

 

I Could Spit on a Stranger

15 Aug

When I’m not careful, I dream about my future.  It’s a dangerous place to live, because I work hard to stay focused on the moment.  The future is completely unknown to me, even the very-near future, so I am careful not to imagine what it could be like. But when I’m not careful, begin to fantasize.

Usually I fantasize about the HD’s visit in a few (5) weeks, but sometimes I go farther, dreaming about life after he returns for good.

Here is what I definitely do not know, right now:

#1: When he will return.  His orders say, “not to exceed 365 days”, but many units have returned a few weeks ahead of schedule; others have been given the “honor” of serving their country beyond the originally alloted time.

#2: Where we will live.  His orders will change very quickly, assigning us to a new duty-station, wherever the Army decides.

#3: When we will have another child (could we potentially conceive while he’s home for two weeks?). Continue reading