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Archive for December, 2007

But now I cannot honestly claim to be.  True, I do occasionally engage in a game or tournament (usually at the behest of my dad or husband), but I am almost always the first person out. 

This was not always the case.  I was once an excellent poker player, not even that long ago.  I won tournaments and walked away with plenty of cash in my pockets.  But something has happened.

I have apparently lost the ability to gauge my fellow poker players.  I have also lost the ability (and courage) to bluff.  And, most importantly, I lost the will to win.  I no longer find the same joy in crushing my opponent as I take every last chip off of his hands.  Instead, I win hands with a kind of ho hum attitude, and thus, I seem to be winning fewer hands. 

Why did this happen?  What happened to me?  Did I lose my competitive ability along with my direction and everything else in my breakdown?  I would never have suspected that my poker playing ability would slip away as did so many other things.  Everything else was so intangible, but this seemed like a skill.  And skills I didn’t lose. 

Oh well, at least I’m still able to say, I was once a great poker player.

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My sister has a friend who is me. I know that sounds odd, but she is. She is the younger, shorter version of me. Same goals, same dreams, same faults, same virtues, same propensity for getting our heart crushed. And I can see all the steps laid out before her. I know how she feels about the people in her life, both past and present, because I felt that once. I know mistakes she wants to make, because she can’t help but make them, just as I did. I want to help her, stop her, save her, but should I? or better yet, can I?

I was talking to her last night and my sister looked over and said, you guys are the same person. We were discussing her becoming friends with her ex-boyfriend and I scoffed at her “we’re just friends” speech she was giving me. I scoffed because, as my sister said, I knew how she was feeling, because I had felt that way. I knew what she wanted to do and what she was going to do, because I had done it.

It’s strange to find such a strong kinship with a young woman I am unrelated to, since I have two sisters. I share many things in common with my sisters, but in matters of the heart, they have always been very different from me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m the oldest, as is Kristina, and we must blaze our own trail. We have no one to shine a light on the direction we should go or the trials we’ll have to face if we chose one path or another. We also are full of the ideals of youth far beyond youth, because we are the first born and no one has taught us that these ideals cannot be. I still hold on to mine, in some ways, though not as fervently and with much greater cynicism than I once did. But these ideals still sleep in my chest, ready to awaken at any time. Kristina’s are still awake all the time and constantly moving.

Because I know her and I know me, I want to protect her from the trials ahead. I want to be the big sister to her as I was to my sisters. I want to show her the cliffs before she goes over them and just where the hidden bridges are to higher, safer places. I want to shelter her from the pain that I suffered. But if I do that I know I will be doing her a great disservice. If she is me, she’ll find a way to experience the pain one way or another, or rather the pain will find her. She has to learn on her own how to navigate the rocky edges of the world, or one day she might fall and be unprepared to climb her way back up.

I suppose in the end, I just wish her luck and pray that maybe she isn’t me after all. Maybe her path is different. And hopefully her path is better.

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I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday with friends and family, near and far. I pray that Jesus’ birth warms your hearts and fills your spirits with joy. I expect bellies to be full, heads to be swimming, and mouths to be laughing. I know this will be a great Christmas!

And if you do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you are taking advantage of all the short lines at movie theaters and Chinese food restaurants 🙂 Enjoy your day!

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As part of my new attitude towards life I’m going to make some resolutions, despite the fact that New Years is still over a week away. There’s no time like the present eh?

1. I will no longer allow my health to rule/ruin my life.

2. I will try to lighten the feeling of my blog by inserting some silliness into it (and my life).

3. I will not think so much, but just write!

So…here’s currently what I’m thinking: I love Christmas movies! I’ll happily watch them all year ’round (I know sacrilege to some of you Christmas purists). In fact, Love Actually is one of my favorite movies, period. And recently I was reading an column (or blog-I don’t remember) in which the writer included Love Actually on a list of Christmas movies that should only be watched during the Christmas season. Though I do acknowledge that it is set at Christmas time, I don’t think that is the main point of the movie. I don’t actually think that it has anything to do with the message. Christmas functions solely as a way to move the plot forward and allow characters to speak more freely, for as they said in the movie, if you can’t say it at Christmas, when can you, eh?

Therefore, I don’t believe that wonderful movies like this should be limited to viewing just during one month a year. Most Christmas movies are so full of joy and positive messages that they should be shown every month. Think if people watched It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas in the hot summer months. Maybe it would get people to stop acting so crazy! Maybe, just maybe, it would give them a little of the Christmas season perspective and bring a little warmth to their hearts. So, if there was a vote, I’d vote that no movie be limited to just once a year. I’d vote instead to watch White Christmas in July.

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Release

It’s been like breathing under water this last year. There were moments of panic, feeling the air leave my lungs and frantically looking for something to fill me with oxygen, if just for a few moments more. I would grope desperately for this or that, thinking this would be finally be the thing that saved me. At last I had found a way out of this underwater hell. I would finally be able to breath again; the panic would subside and I would find my way to the surface.

But every new idea I grasped would elate me for minutes, maybe days, before dissolving in my fingers. More ideas swirled just beyond my finger tips, glimmering in the water, offering the hope that this next one would lead the way to salvation. Yet, the glimmers proved only to reflected light without light itself; ideas that reflected my desires, without actually meeting them.

It may appear that this last desire, to return to school and become a librarian, is just one more desperate grasp in the dark. Yet that is not the case. This glimmer I reached for and found not an air bubble in my hand, but instead I found my hand bursting through the surface, reaching higher into the air. I found not a few minutes of air, but at last a release into the wide open air. Finally, I find I can breath again.

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The other day a friend asked me if I was the type of person who sets goals and starts projects, but lets them fall to the wayside, whether I was the type of person who lacked follow through. And the answer to that is a simple yes.

I am that person.

There is so much I would like to accomplish, specifically in reference to my writing, yet I cannot force myself to follow through on any novel I start or on any promise I make to myself. So it got me wondering about why that is.

Why don’t I follow through on my goals? Why can’t I push myself to abide by any plans I lay out?

And I don’t think there is a simple answer. It’s a question I’ve been dealing with in various ways for the past year. It’s the question of why I have such a hard time deciding my own fate and future. I’ve been struggling to find myself, both personally and professionally. And while I feel I discover myself a little more every day, I am still quite a long way from fully knowing the answers.

I know that this feeling of constant searching has affected my ability to follow through on plans and achieve any goals I set for myself. The quest for self discovery is so draining in and of itself that I haven’t been doing many things I enjoy. I don’t read as often, I don’t go out to movies as much as I would like, etc. I feel exhausted all the time with the combination of my mystery illness and my search for a career.

The good news is, that since writing the first part of this post, I have finally decided what I would like to do. It’s something I’ve thought about for a long time, and always kept in the back of my mind. I’ve decided to go back to school to get my Masters in Library and Information Sciences. That’s right! I’m going to be a librarian.

While this may not be the most glamorous career, I’m incredibly excited. It’s a career that I feel would fit my needs very well, both as a literary addict and as a public servant. I would get to spend my days surrounded by books and information, while helping a public to find anything they are looking for. I could help to organize reading hours for toddlers or book clubs for women or do literary outreach to senior citizens. I’ll be able to still teach, but my students will be people who are really looking for help, whether it is with literacy or information about certain topics. I haven’t felt this excited about anything like this in years, possibly since college.

So along with the end of my quest has come the feeling of relief. Now I’ll just have to follow through with my plans to return to school in the next 6 months. if it sounds like I’m slipping, remind me to follow through!

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After waiting anxiously for yesterday’s appointment with a special ObGyn my gastro doctor had recommended, I am find myself today still in a state of unknowing.  The ObGyn yesterday informed me that I have a completely unrelated medical problem that is causing the cysts, but could not be causing the pain.  So they are not going to remove the cysts, since they are doing nothing and my new illness will just continually reproduce them.  I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

It means that my ovaries are too large and that they typically form multiple cysts (polycystic) during ovulation.  It’s characterized by irregular cycles, being overweight, too much body hair, and terrible acne.  Thankfully I only have the first two and not the latter two.  As the doctor put it, I don’t have to suffer the stigma.  It is also the leading cause of infertility.

So what does this mean in terms of my current illness?  Nothing.  It means that this is not causing my pain.  It means that the doctors are still playing a guessing game as to what the correct diagnosis is.  It means I’ll be going through another series of tests and I’ll be sent to see more doctors.  The next test is another sonogram done by my ObGyn.  The next doctor will be an Infectious Disease Specialist.

As you can imagine, this is incredibly frustrating for me.  I had to call off work yesterday because I couldn’t pull myself together after the appointment.  At this point I don’t know what to do.  I seem to exist in a state of limbo.  The doctors keep finding other things wrong with me that are unrelated to my original illness, which continues and seems to be getting worse.  All in all, I am losing faith in the health system, in modern science, and in myself.  I wonder if I just shouldn’t toughen up and try to live with this pain.  Maybe it is just my lot in life.  I just don’t know any more.

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