Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Looking so long at these pictures of you...

I heard a story on This American Life once about a boy whose mother had been murdered and his stepmother had (with good intentions, according to the boy, although that's hard to imagine) removed all the photos and memories of his mother from the house.  None of her recipes.  No blankets she had crocheted.  None of her record albums.  And no photographs of her.  Years later her had looked at crime scene photos in an effort to make peace with her murder.  And I totally get why he did that.  Sometimes I think I want to do that.  It creeps other people out, but I totally get it.  But what makes me sad about this boy's story is that he had forgotten what his mother looked like until he saw those photos.

There ARE days when I want to understand the crime so I want to see those pictures.  But If I ever did, I would look at this before.  This is my favorite picture of Leslie.  This is the girl I will always remember.

But I don't think it's just people like me and the boy on the radio who should look.  Look at the pictures of the person you lost.  Put them on your mantle.  Carry them in your wallet.  Don't obsess over them, but don't hide them away.  Nestle them in with the other pictures of your life.  Your best friend is dead, not disappeared.

This picture was taken at my birthday party.  It was a REALLY fun party, too.  If she had lived, I would STILL look at this picture.  The only difference is that she might pin it to her bulletin board, too.  It might be on her facebook.  I would click "like".

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I know what I believe.

I do not believe that living, breathing, walking creatures are ours to kill.  That includes James Holmes.

I feel better having said that out loud.  I mean, out blog....which is the new out loud.

I still don't know how to love him.  I don't know how I would love David Logsdon if he were here to wonder about.

But I do know that I do not hate them.  And I do not that I do not believe they deserve to die as punishment for their sins.  At least not by the judgement of man.

So there you go.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sail on, silver girl

Music is weird the way it can make you actually FEEL the stuff you felt when you first heard it.  Sometimes, when I hear The Lemonheads or The Connells or Concrete Blonde, I can smell the basement of Nation Hall, the dorm I lived in freshman year.  I can feel the thin, mens' flannels we would wear over our babydoll dresses, worn and softened by the random dude who had it before he dropped it off at Name Brand Clothing thrift store.

And if I hear Ben Folds Five "Brick", I get really uncomfortable and squirmy, and I usually have to change the station on the radio because, when that song was being played a lot, I was with a guy who made me feel creepy and I was doing things that I wasn't proud of.  Now, when that song comes on, it's like I am that girl again, and I feel guilty and ashamed.

The night Leslie died, my neighbor, Amy (She comes up a lot, doesn't she? Guess that's why she's my BFF, too), asked me what songs I wanted her to download for me to listen to that evening.  I requested three songs:

Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac
All Out of Love by Air Supply
Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel

The funny things is, if you look at the lyrics, you can see all these poetic bits of goodbye and letting go, and loss in them.
"Come down and see me again..." 
"...so lost without you"
"I wish I could carry your smile in my heart"
"sail on, silver girl"

But that's not why I picked them.  I picked them because they made me, not just remember times I spent with Leslie, but FEEL the times I spent with Leslie.  

Bridge Over Troubled Water is from when we had to do this very weird thing at church about getting along.  It was weird because we all already got along.  Well, and it was also weird because the only person we didn't get along with was pretty hateful.  But anyway, Leslie and Brooke, and Dama and me....we picked this song as our song.  We were twelve, if that?  And we used to sing it.  Loudly.  Wrong.  Off key.  It was very fun.  And funny.  And sweet.  And true.   Listening to it, I was with them again.  Not just Leslie, but Brooke and Dama, too.  But not as we are now, but as we were then.  Sixth graders.  When everything was simple, but everything sucked.  

When I hear All Out of Love, I can still see the bedroom Leslie had in this little apartment she lived in with her mom just after high school.  I can see the poster she had on her bathroom door.  It was that Surrealist one with the train and the fireplace.  She had a cassette player on her dresser.  And we played that Air Supply cassette over and over.  Even then it was already cheesey and out of date, and that just made it more fun.  

Never Going Back Again was Leslie's favorite song, but she could never remember its name, so she would sort of sing the guitar part...da da da da da da da da...so I'd know what she meant.  It was always funny.  It still makes me smile.  

For a while these songs always made me feel like crying but I listened anyway.  They were scab picking songs.  Today they just take me back there.  Not to the day she died or to the tragedy, but to the table in our church youth room, to the bedroom of that odd little apartment, and to the passenger seat of her Kia singing "da da da da da da da da".  I look over, and there she is.  They make me miss her less, not more.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Be with me...then leave. Namaste.

This blog is meant to be...and I want it to be...more of a help to those of you going through this, too, than it is a story telling session for me.  The last couple of weeks, however, have been a struggle for me and I'm being a little more self indulgent in my writing.  But I guess that's a help, too, maybe.  Because there ARE triggers.  Things will happen long after you think you have it together that throw you off again.  The funny thing for me is that I really don't feel like this is "long after I got it together".  In fact, I feel like I, in some ways, just started "getting it together".  But, regardless, the shooting in Colorado threw me for a massive loop, which you know if you read the last post.

Tonight's post is different.  Today I'm focusing on a choice I'm making that may relieve me of that particular obsession.  Maybe.  I also started on a new medication that's used to treat those with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) who suffer anxiety triggers (gabapentin).  We'll see how that goes.  But mostly, I want to make these changes for myself.

When I first began seeing my counselor for anxiety and OCD, she suggested that I try yoga.  I recently quit smoking (still struggle with that but I'm doing it) and I told her that I miss the inhalation of it the most...more than the nicotine.  When I felt anxious or stressed or under a lot of self pressure, the inhaling of a cigarette made me feel better.  She thought yoga might give me that kind of breathing and also give me all the other mind and body health benefits.

I'd always kind of wanted to try yoga but I was afraid I was too fat, too inflexible, too uncoordinated, too (fill in the blank).  But I wanted to feel...normal?...better?...okay?...human?...again badly enough that I was willing to risk it. 

My first yoga class was at 24 Hour Fitness.  The teacher suggested that bathing suit season was coming up soon and said "hit it girls!" as if Jane Fonda circa 1984 was my yoga instructor.  She also played Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" during class.  If you aren't familiar with that song, it suggests that we "go down" in that blaze of glory.  Also, it was hard.  Really hard.  And no one told you what to do if it was too hard for you.  Go down in your blaze of glory, I guess?  I got very mad during class...because mad is my go-to emotion.  Mad at the teacher, mad at myself, mad at the practice of yoga for being so dumb. 

A few weeks later, when I began at my current yoga studio on a Groupon, I was dubious.  But I took my first class with my sweet teacher Susan, and I instantly felt as if my life had been changed.  I DID breathe....and I DID feel better!  I thought about my body for an hour...but not about how fat it was....or about how it should be doing something else...or it ought to be calculating bills vs. salary...or listing things to do before tomorrow.  I only thought about how to move it and use it at that very moment.  And while that may be normal for some people, I had never, EVER, thought about my body that way before.  Ever.

But there was one problem: savasana.  If you're not a yoga person (I wasn't until two months ago and I had to look up what letter that word even starts with to write it in this blog entry), savasana is the final pose of a yoga class.  It's also sometimes called corpse pose, and as that name suggests, you just lie there.  Soft music is sometimes played, sometimes not.  No one talks.  No one moves.  Most people love it.  I hate it.  I mean, I WANT to love it.  But I can't.  No matter how beautiful the yoga experience is, something always comes in.  And it's usually something that I've been working hard on not obsessing over.  It's usually something that I've even conquered obsessing about in my every day life.  It's worry.  And I feel like it's laughing at me. 

And then James Holmes took lodging in my brain.

Savasana seems to be my brain's very favorite time to worry about James Holmes.  And last week during my very favorite class, David Logsdon, Leslie's murderer, joined him there.  And I cried all through my savasana.  And then I didn't go back all week.  That makes me angry...angry at myself and both of them for taking away the thing that was making me feel so...I don't know if happy is even the word.  I don't know if I know the word.  But I know that I don't WANT to not want to go back.

So I've made a decision.  I've decided that, if they want to be there so badly, I'm inviting them.  James Holmes and David Logsdon, you are invited to my savasana.  I don't know what you want with me, but I know that yoga is the place where I am finding myself.  Maybe you are part of me, too, now.  And I just have to figure out what to do with you.  I am opening my heart to you.  I am offering you peace.  I will probably cry throughout.  Maybe I won't.  My heart needs to let you in...so I can get you out.  Because I can't give you all of my energy anymore.