Bridging the Gap

via Daily Prompt: Record

I had an amazing dream Saturday night. I’m writing about it in conjunction with the daily word prompt because I want to remember this, I want to record it, so I’ll have it always.

I normally remember my dreams and they are always vivid and detailed… they were nothing compared to what I experienced Saturday night.

It started with me waking up (in the dream) in my bed at my parents’ house because I was going into labor.

I ran up the stairs to Natalie’s room because she’s the loudest. I whispered her name as I shook her shoulders.

“Nat… Nat… Hey, wake up. I think I just went into labor…”

She layed there, unaffected.

Then her eyes opened wide and she flew out of bed.

“Ok, ok, don’t panic. I’ll tell mom and dad, you get to the hospital.”

Next thing I knew, I was in a bed in the hospital with a doctor who bore a striking resemblance to George Gaynes (the dad from Punky Brewster and Cmdt. Eric Lassard in the Police Academy movies).

Everything I did was wrong. I showed up to early, then I was too late. He wanted to do surgery, he wanted to send me home… I was so stressed out and overwhelmed. Luckily, Shar was there and she took me and my bed for a stroll around the hospital. I called my therapist and weighed the pros and cons of each possibility and by the time we hung up, I felt much better.

Then it was time to go back into the room. I felt sick.

By the time we got there, though, it was time for shift change! I didn’t see the same doctor. This one was much younger and looked a little like David Caruso, from CSI Miami. I don’t even watch that show so I don’t know why he’s making a cameo…

Anyway. Doctor David did an ultrasound. Because the previous doctor did not but knew enough that my baby had no heartbeat.

“Here it is, see? That pulsating color around his body, that’s his heart beating.”

I started to cry.

“Would you like a picture?” He asked

“You can do that?”

“Sure, let me show you.”

He connected a small camera wire to one of my IV’s (?) and feed it down through to my stomach.

“There he is, see?”

And I saw him. Tiny, pink and perfect.

“He just waved at you” the doctor said.

“Now, for a more serious subject. Do you want to have another C-Section or do you want to try to give birth to him naturally?”

I’m sure there are not a lot of people who sign up for going through childbirth when given the choice but I’ve always felt cheated, I guess by Tayla’s birth being an emergency C-section.

“If I can, I’d like to try to do it naturally” I said

He smiled and said he’d get a couple of nurses to help. As he turned to leave, I grabbed the sleeve of his coat. He turned around and sat down next to me.

“I just wanted to say thank you. You are the complete opposite of my previous doctor and exactly what I need right now.”

He patted my hand.

Then, I had to pee.

I hopped down and waddled off toward the bathroom. I don’t know how long I was gone but when I came back, he’d been born! Sort of.

I hopped back up onto the bed and the doctor asked if I wanted to see him.

“Yes!”

Shar gently picked him up, he was still in the amniotic fluid, the sac was still sealed and she placed him on my chest.

I could make out facial feature and then I felt something wet. The water had started to leak. It was draining so fast… I screamed for the doctor who reassured me it was ok.

“It will only break when he’s ready”

I tried to slow down my breathing and within a few moments, there he was. We were touching skin to skin. He started to wiggle and without using his arms, just arching his back, he looked up at me and smiled.

I lingered in that moment for a long time. Everyone just faded into the background until it was just the two of us. I remember thinking (in the dream) “is this Noah? If it’s not, can I still use the name Noah? Has he been reincarnated? Come back to me?”

I was pulled out of this dream state fogginess by Don asking me where the car seat was. People were coming and going and at one point I looked down into his blanket and he was gone.

I was hysterical. I looked all over for him and when I finally found him, he was in a hospital crib, where he was supposed to be.

At this point, I think I was starting to wake up because I had the thought that he was safe and where he was supposed to me and would be waiting for me.

In DBT therapy we talk about “what was the missing experience”? While my doctors weren’t quite as bad as they had been in the dream, it was so nice to get to “experience” a doctor who really cared, deeply. It was nice to have the option of delivery vs c section. It was amazing to see and feel this little baby on me, not having been taken away before I got a chance to see her. This baby was healthy. This baby was safe. This baby was… is waiting for me.

It’s Time

via Daily Prompt: Nervous

It’s time. Not to let go per se, or even move on… it’s just time to get back into what I was doing before Noah, before Natalie.

Specifically, it’s time for me to get back into comedy. I did my one stand up act at Acme in June and haven’t been anywhere since.

Prior to that, I’ve done open mic nights at Acme Comedy Club, Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy and The Joke Joint. I made it my new year’s resolution to get out at least once a month to do comedy. Nope, not yet.

I’ve been going back and forth, do I want to do this? I am even capable of doing this? It would be good to swing back to the lighter side but nothing even feels funny… So, maybe I have to act opposite my depression and get out there anyway. Do I wait until I feel better to call a friend or do I call a friend and then feel better?

Getting back into writing comedy has been in the back of my mind, not the way back but further than it should’ve been. Until yesterday. I got an email from House of Comedy at the Mall of America. They are running their “Funniest Person with a Day Job” contest.

I thought, ok, here’s that little nudge I need to get me going. I went to the website to sign up and found there is an application process! I’ve never had to do that before. Usually, I submit my name and they email me back with a date and time, that’s it.

This application wants me to describe my act, tell them what makes me different than other performers, let them know of any needs upfront… I don’t know. It just felt daunting. Surprising. I thought about it for a day and about half an hour ago, I submitted my application.

Now for the fun part: ready, get set, WAIT!

Meditation vs Rumination

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via Daily Prompt: Ruminate

Ruminate: to meditate on; ponder.

Meditate: to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.

By their very definition, these two words look interchangeable. I’m not exactly sure what the difference is, only that for me, meditation has a positive connotation vs rumination, which I associate more with being “stuck in my head” or spinning my wheels.

Meditation is something that is good for you, rumination is not. That’s how I’ve seen it. Looking up the definitions today and thinking about it a little, I wonder if the difference isn’t in the intention…

Over these last 10 months, I’ve tried to keep up on my relationship with my sister, despite the obvious barriers.

For months I would ask her to come visit me in my dreams. I’d fall asleep holding her picture or set her music on repeat so even subconsciously I’d be in a place to receive her. While I’ve had tons of signs that she’s around me, I wanted to see her face. I wanted to interact with her.

Radio silence.

Until last night.

The details are fuzzy now but I was running from someone or something in a mall. I saw an empty corner, squished myself in and slid down the walls. I buried my head in my folded arms and sobbed.

I was soon interrupted by a light tapping on my shoulder.

I looked up and I saw her.

The song “These Dreams” by Heart played overhead.

She was … Radiant. Stunning. Healthy.

Of course she was.

I scrambled to get to my feet and I lunged for her, grabbing her tight to me.

I woke up and while this past year has felt like a nightmare, I was convinced that it was over now. I grabbed for my phone, desperate to hear her voice, her reassuring laugh chiding me for overreacting.

But of course that didn’t happen. Half way to the phone, I remembered the necklace. The music shaped urn necklace. I was scared to touch it. Maybe it wasn’t there… but if it was, it meant she was really gone.

I clutched the charm in my fist as the tears continued to burn and I remembered to thank her, even as painful is it was, as it is, as it will always be… she did come visit me.

Lyrics to These Dreams:

Spare a little candle
Save some light for me
Figures up ahead
Moving in the trees
White skin in linen
Perfume on my wrist
And the full moon that hangs over
These dreams in the mist

Darkness on the edge
Shadows where I stand
I search for the time
On a watch with no hands
I want to see you clearly
Come closer than this
But all I remember
Are the dreams in the mist

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

Is it cloak ‘n’ dagger
Could it be spring or fall
I walk without a cut
Through a stained glass wall
Weaker in my eyesight
The candle in my grip
And words that have no form
Are falling from my lips

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

There’s something out there
I can’t resist
I need to hide away from the pain
There’s something out there
I can’t resist

The sweetest song is silence
That I’ve ever heard
Funny how your feet
In dreams never touch the earth
In a wood full of princes
Freedom is a kiss
But the prince hides his face
From dreams in the mist

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

Songwriters

Read more: Heart – These Dreams Lyrics | MetroLyrics

(No) Doubt… Anymore!

via Daily Prompt: Doubt

I’m trying on the power of positivity!

This morning I was notified that it is my one year anniversary of this blog! I knew it was coming up, but not this fast… I was kind of…astounded. A whole year? Granted, this year has both flown by and drug on and on and on.

I’m posting under today’s word of the day, doubt because honestly? I doubted I’d stay with it this long. I’ve started several blogs, four, I think. I never posted more than once or twice before I either deleted my account or just abandoned it all together.

When I started WerdyNerdyNDirty, I had a vision of a simple extension of my somewhat offbeat, quirky personality and life. It was a good two months. Full of drive and deadlines (I’d given myself but still…) I found that instead of dreading my blog, I was more creative, less inhibited and basically “got over” my need for every word to be perfect. I used to be so caught up, thinking it had to come out organically inspirational or funny. There wasn’t room for editing. “Go big or go home” right? Not that there is anything wrong with going home, I was just tired of it. Tired of my rigid expectations…

It was mainly thanks to my writing teacher, Roxanne Sadovsky and our Friday morning groups that helped me to get over myself. Learn it’s ok to be raw, or even just be.

I couldn’t very well call myself a writer if I wasn’t writing. And I longed to write. I missed it. I’ve had a lot of fun writing for you and I know that I’ll be able to get better, the more I do it and it’ll be fun to look back in a few years to see how I’ve developed as a writer. I’m sure there’ll be quite a difference.

I been writing for this blog for a month and a half when I lost Noah. Blogging help me through it. As painful as it was to share and process, I’m sure it was an integral part of my process. A month and a half after that, we lost my sister Natalie.

Typing that last sentence still brings the sting of the tears. It’s so fitting that she LOVED the movie Alice in Wonderland (she even got married on the date printed on the Mad Hatters hat, 10/6!) because I feel like I’ve been free falling down the rabbit hole since May 19th. Prior to her death, the most devastating loss had been my grandma on Christmas Eve, 2009. Oh my God, I didn’t think I’d ever get over that. It took me years before I stopped having that dream where she was just on vacation. It was all a mistake. She was going to be so upset when she came home to find it had been sold while she was away…

I don’t really want to compare the two losses, there’s not really even a way. I never expected to lose my sister. My little sister. The light and the joy of so many people’s lives. Even knowing she’d relapsed, being the one telling her she was going to die if she didn’t cut it out… there was no way to prepare. A lot of days, it still feels like a brand new shock. Realizing it’s coming up on a year, it feels like a brand new level of Hell. Time is passing, life is going on, for others but somehow…I’m stuck. It’s still so fresh. People tell me “it gets better”, some tell me “it never gets easier” or “you’ll find a new normal”… I sure as shit hope “this” isn’t the new normal.

At least I think people have stopped telling me, for the most part, that “she’s in any pain. She’s in a better place” etc because hopefully they realized by telling me this, it made me think “I don’t want to be in pain. I want to be in a better place. I want to join her.” And then a timely quote literally fell into my lap. I dropped my phone and when I picked it up, it said “suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just gives it to someone else”. I don’t wish this kind of pain on anyone. So I write. And I cry. And I listen to her music. I try to take one day at a time, careful not to sleep through too many in a row and miss out on all the beauty that still surrounds us.

Wow, as we say in our family “that took a turn”. Meant to write about self-doubt and creativity… I guess this all applies. It’s given me purpose and direction. I hear that it helps other people too which is just icing on the cake. I hear Cheryl Strayed talk about how her mother’s death, as horrible as it was to lose her, made her a better person. As much as I don’t want to be a better person because of Natalie’s death, it would be much worse to stay the same.

I want to be an advocate and help others, I’m not sure I can do that just yet or what it will look like when I do get involved but I’ll keep y’all in the loop, no doubt about it.

I Auditioned for Listen To Your Mother

I did it! Again…

For those who may not know, Listen To Your Mother is a yearly live production that “Gives Motherhood a Microphone”. It is made up of live readings on the good, the bad, the funny, the tragic, anything and everything that makes up motherhood. It is put on once a year, around Mother’s Day. This year is the Grand Finale, the last show.

I’ve read the previous three years and wasn’t sure I would audition this year. Not that I don’t LOVE rejection… I didn’t have anything written. I tried. So many times and ways. I’d get a paragraph or two in and scrap it.

I wasn’t happy with anything I wrote. I was talking myself out of going… What were the odds anyway? The past three years, I put so much work into my pieces. I remember that first year, sitting at my kitchen table… my tears blurring my sight and the ink. Feeling, literally like I was writing my heart out. I was so in touch with that pain that had happened a decade earlier… At that point, you could submit your story via email.

The second year, I took a different approach. A different angle. This year you had to read your piece in front of the producers of the show. I was so nervous. They were so nice though. They listened actively, were encouraging, I remember the rejection email even- they worded it in such a way that I didn’t feel bad about myself. They’d explained that each show was like a quilt, each story a patch. The stories that were not selected, it wasn’t a reflection of the writing or the quality of the substance, it just didn’t go with the rest of the blanket.

The third year, last year, they remembered me and were happy I came back. What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment.

So, it’s that time of year again. They only audition four days in various locations. At the time I was signing up (telling myself I was just holding the spot, it didn’t mean I HAD to go… but in case I came up with something brilliant…) the only meeting place was the library in North East Minneapolis. I can drive downtown but I really don’t like to! So that was one obstacle.

I waffled so long, I had to check my butt for burns!

I didn’t even really decide whether or not I was going to go until 45 minutes before I had to leave.

I decided to use a piece I wrote several years ago… I wasn’t sure it was going to be anything like what they were looking for but it was either that or skip it. I didn’t want to have that nagging “what if” regret.

So there it is. I did it. I’m done. They said they’ll notify everyone in about a week.

*Breaking News* From the Listen To Your Mother website:

“Recently we proclaimed that 2017 would serve as LTYM’s Grand Finale season, closing out 8 consecutive smash-success seasons of live LTYM shows. Today, thanks to a licensing agreement with Miracle or 2 Productions, Inc. LTYM announces a new life for our beloved show! Beginning in 2018 it will be easier than ever for theaters (professional or amateur) and organizations/groups to host their own LTYM show events!!

LTYM has partnered with Miracle or 2 Productions! What does that mean?

LTYM shows will no longer be limited to a once-per-year Mother’s Day celebration! Instead LTYM shows will be available for production all year long and for performance runs (multiple performances per theater, as opposed to only one) beginning in 2018, in cooperation with Miracle or 2 Productions, Inc.”

So, I guess if I don’t get in this year, it’s not the end of the road… awesome.

The Ride of My Life

This is a true story that I wrote a few years ago… I’m posting it now because this blog could use a little lightening up…

Some people who have read it before have said “it’s a little over the top, don’t you think?”

Of course it is! I wrote it! Have you met me??? Yes, it’s dramatic and over the top and intended to be that way… sarcasm isn’t always a bad thing…

Enough of the disclaimer.

“You. On a roller coaster. By yourself. Uh huh.” Admittedly, it was not one of my better mothering moments, but we were at THE MALL OF AMERICA and in that type of environment, my sanity is scarce. I remembered the last time we were here. The safety bar came down on my lap and cut off my circulation. A rickety ride jerked me every direction. I got nauseous. She looked up at me with hopeful eyes, steadfast in her resolve to ride. I looked at her, seeing only the end result: wasted time, screaming kids, long lines and me, having to find a way to calm her down and lead her back through the mass of humanity.

“We don’t have enough points for that ride.”

“We could buy more…”

“I don’t want to throw money away.”

“You won’t. I PROMISE.”

I’m not positive, but I think I may have huffed and stomped my feet all the way to the ticket counter, trading my her fit for my own.

We took our place in the “line ride”. It wove us around and through a damp, humid cave for a good half hour before we could see the light and the large puddles of water from the other side. It was unbearable. I had to do something to take my mind off the invisible war between too much cologne and not enough deodorant. I don’t know who was winning but everyone with a sense of smell was losing.

As we neared the front of the line and got further from the cave, I gasped for fresher air. I filled my lungs with the slightly less offensive stench of chlorine and disinfectant. I also noticed her sliding backward slowly. There were only a few people ahead of us now. There would surely be enough room for her on the next run.

The Log Chute. What kind of name is that anyway? When I hear that, the last thing I think of is fun… Riding on a hard seat, listening to the gears turn as you get higher and higher, the sensation of my own mortality presenting itself to me in a 4 foot drop and to top it off, getting drenched? Pass.

The water ride ground to a sloshing stop in front of us.

I turned around; expecting to see Tayla inching back toward the cave we’d just escaped and found she wasn’t there. Panicked, I spun around and caught sight of her standing right on top of that bright, yellow line. She looked nervous … and determined.

“Ok, you don’t have to go on the ride…” I didn’t say this out loud, I guess I was too stunned to say anything. Before my maternal instincts kicked in, a minimum wage, underage ticket taker had her in his grips! How qualified was this kid? He saw an obviously confident and eager kid, at the front of a line and just ushered her into the first available seat! Right in front of her mother! Shouldn’t he have at least inspected every seat to be sure she got the safest and the driest? Within the space of a minute, the log had emptied and refilled to capacity while I stood by, mouth agape and frozen in disbelief as my baby was basically kidnapped by a clearly power crazy ticket scanner and button pusher. She was whisked away on a certainly fatal last ride.

I don’t even think she looked back. Not a care in the word or the faintest understanding that 90 seconds from now, life would never be the same.

About the time she was almost completely out of sight, my speaking ability returned. Oh my God. Oh my God. It started out as a mutter then grew with increasing intensity. Frantically I turned to people for help. I saw a dizzying circle of people surrounding me. The offered sympathetic smiles and heads nodded in agreement. “No! Stop smiling and nodding! It’s not ok! She’s never done anything like this before in her life!” Sickening images barraged me as the tightly corralled waves smashed against the faux wooden logs of the disaster bound.

Was she scared? Of course she was, she had to be, right? Oh God. What if she is so scared, she tries to climb out? She’s a tiny girl, surely capable of slipping out of the sturdiest of restraints. She’d see how close she was to the solid, non-moving cave rock and underestimate the jump. She probably slip in a stupid puddle and get run over by the very ride she’d just gotten off… My imagination had also gone off the track as I tried to envision how I was going to explain to mall security that is wasn’t so much a missing person as missing pieces of a person. A macabre treasure hunt it would be. A swing from another ride caught my peripheral vision and I nearly gagged as I was sure I’d just seen an arm or a leg unattached fly through the air. I watched for the ride water to run red. Tunnel vision was taking over. Thousands of pins pricked my eyes, serpents swam in my stomach and air clung to my lungs.

“Mom! Mom!” I heard. Oh God, I’m already hearing her voice from the other side! It was true. While I was still facing the open tunnel through which she had disappeared, the ride had come full circle and she was behind me. Bright eyed, excited and most importantly, in one piece.

I hadn’t yet moved to the exit side of the ride and this was no time for protocol. I cut through an empty seat and grabbed my very brave girl. I cried as I held her close.

“Mom?” she asked.

“Yes” I thought. Whatever it is, yes…

“Can I go again?” She asked with a wink.

Grief & Disbelief

Here it is again. The dreaded 19th. Nine months to the day, we lost Natalie.

It’s still just as devastating and confusing today as it was then. I still replay the conversation with my brother, asking if she was dead and him whispering “yeah”. Still going over the agonizing wait in her apartment building while the Medical Examiner explained his initial findings and wondering what if I’d only called more often or been more available?

I know I’ve mentioned before the paradox of the time aspect. How it feels like it just happened and like it’s been years and I’ve hurt every second of that time…

grieving-the-loss-of-relationships-that-will-never-be-can-also-be-a-lot-like-this
What happens when you get too tired to swim?

Things are changing though. Slowly but surely. Don asked me how many weeks it’s been now and I didn’t know. I think I’ve even gotten through a Thursday or two without constantly looking at the clock and wondering what was happening this time on May 19th?

Last night I spent a couple of hours downloading mp3 files of Natalie from her “Smokin'” days to some of the last music she sang. Of course I had a breakdown but here’s what I noticed that was different: I was angry.

I mean, of course I’m angry and I’ve been angry… but my internal message changed.

It went from “Oh my God. Natalie.” to “God damn you Natalie!”

I’m not judging it, good or bad, It doesn’t really matter… it’s just an observation.

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Same with letting go. Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Who knows? It is what it is and is sucks.

I miss her. I love her. I’m happy she’s not in pain anymore. I’m angry with her and the drug companies. I want to get back to a place where I can feel motivated to change the things I can instead of feeling paralyzed by emotional pain.

grief
I feel like for all the grieving I’ve done, I should be waaaay cured.